Anthea Dixon is New Zealand’s first-ever para-dressage rider at WEG.
Since the London Paralympics, she has been commuting between New Zealand and Germany to train with Hayley Beresford, practice and compete on her Aussie-owned horse.
Dixon is hugely excited.
“It is a relief to be finally named,” she says. “Since London it has been a big commitment to get to WEG, but it is the opportunity of a lifetime to have a chance to do so with such a classy horse and professional trainer.”
Dixon says without the support of her husband Aaron, her family, and employer CourierPost, she would not be able to do it.
“I am just thrilled for Bella and Hayley. Just to make the team makes it all worth while, but then there has been the enormous improvement in my riding and understanding since London.”
Dixon, a paraplegic after a horse accident in 2006, has won numerous national awards for her para dressage, and has previously also competed in Australia for New Zealand.
She expects her main competition in France will come from the British, German and Dutch riders . . . but she has high expectations for herself too. Dixon and Don have been competing against most she will face at WEG, and she says they have been not too far off the mark.
“We have been tapping them on the shoulder,” she says. “It is a big step up, but it is possible. Don is definitely more than capable of it, but everything has to go right on the day.”
A personal best score at WEG would see her in the top five.
“That would be awesome . . . but higher than that would be even better!”
Horse: Doncartier (owned by Bella Robson) – an 18-year-old chestnut gelding (by Donnerhall, out of Highlight).