Collier 7th As Puch Takes Gold

Pepo Puch
Credit : FEI

Thursday 15 September - 09h46 | FEI/Lulu Kyriacou

Collier 7th As Puch Takes Gold

There were emotional scenes at Deodora as Pepo Puch, the former event rider horribly injured in a cross country fall and who has fought his way back to riding albeit in a different discipline, yesterday won Olympic Gold at the Paralympic Games in Rio. Sydney Collier was seventh riding Western Rose in this section.

In a week which has seen winners sometimes decided by fractions of a point, Puch’s one-point win over Great Britain’s Lee Pearson seems even more impressive. Riding Fontainenoir, Puch scored 75.103% to Pearson’s 74.103%. Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup took the bronze.
 
"Amazing, amazing, amazing,” said Puch. “The horse was really good, but with the wind and some babies crying, the horse was looking outside, but I could catch him. I had him on my side.
 
"He was really good and I was so happy. With the positive feeling comes the emotion and with the emotion it's not easy to handle the movement in my body. He was helping me. We were working four years for this day. The first day of London was the first day of training for Rio."
 
Fontainenoir is known at Puch’s home as Fondy Blondy. “He's the blackest blond horse ever,” said Puch. “His ex-owner says he's in the wrong body. He wants to be a dog and wants to be with you all the time."
 
Pearson was also happy with his silver, his 13th Paralympic medal in a career that started back in Sydney 2000. "I think the best man won on the day,” he said.
 
"The standard is tough. It has been up to London and since then. My aim was to go home with a medal so I’m over the moon."
 
There was a dramatic moment half way through the grade Ib competition when Canada’s Ashley Gowanlock fell from her horse after it bolted as they were leaving the arena. Gowanlock was assessed by the Rio 2016 medical staff and found to have no serious injuries before being transported to hospital for further testing as a precaution.

Wells lifts Grade IV title

Wells lifts Grade IV title - Collier 7th As Puch Takes Gold

Grade 4 Podium

Wells, riding Valerius, scored 74.857% to finish just ahead of Belgium’s London 2012 winner Michèle George, with The Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar taking the bronze. The win comes after Wells has lost out to George at both the London 2012 Games and the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2014.
 
"I'm crying a lot,” she said after collecting her medal. “It was pretty good. We couldn't have given any more. I'm just so proud of him. We've worked really hard to get there.
 
"There are no words that can describe how I'm feeling right now. Definitely a sense of pride (in) my horse, my support team, and that we actually went and did it in the arena when it mattered. I can't believe it. It brings back a little bit of what we didn't get on Pinocchio in London and this is for him as well."
 
George was clearly pleased with her silver but admitted to thinking she had won. "I'm not disappointed,” she said, “but I really don't understand that I am second. I really had a great feeling. When I finished the test I felt, 'yes, this was it.'
 
"Unfortunately, the five judges weren't thinking the same as me. I'm really happy and I will be back next time, I can assure you."

Today Rebecca Hart rides in the Grade II class for the USA while Margaret Macintosh and Roxanne Trunnell will be the American representatives in the 1b competition. Today's rounds will conclude and decide the team competition.

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