Natasha Baker MBE
|Born||30 December 1989|
Baker was born on 30 December 1989 in Hammersmith, London, England. At the age of 14 months she contracted transverse myelitis, an inflammation in her spine that affected her nerve endings. She was left with weakness and no feeling in her legs.
Natasha Baker began riding horses as physiotherapists said it would help to strengthen her muscles. She started riding competitively at the age of nine at her local Riding for the Disabled Association in Buckinghamshire. Whilst watching the 2000 Summer Paralympics, at the age of ten, she decided she wanted to compete in the Paralympics. As she lacks strength in her legs she trains her horses to respond to her voice and to movements she can make in the saddle. She competes in the grade III Paralympic classification.
In 2011, she made her first appearance at a senior championships, competing at the European Championships held in Moorsele, Belgium, where she won gold medals in both the individual and freestyle grade II events.
She was selected as part of the dressage squad for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics held in London, United Kingdom. In the individual championship test grade II event Baker, riding Cabral, an 11-year-old gelding, scored 76.857% to set a new Paralympic record for the grade II classification and win the gold medal ahead of German defending champion Britta Napel who won silver with a score of 76.000%. She won her second gold medal of the Games in the individual freestyle test grade II. She set a new Paralympic record of 82.800% as she beat second placed Napel by over 5%.
- "Natasha Baker". British Paralympic Association. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Bhatia, Shekhar; Alexander, Harriet; Ensor, Josie; Malnick, Edward (1 September 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Dressage dream realised for Natasha Baker". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "Natasha Baker Para-Equestrian Dressage". Team GBR. Archived from the original on 2 February 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Topping, Alexandra (3 September 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Natasha Baker wins stunning second dressage gold". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Armytage, Marcus (1 September 2012). "Paralympics 2012: GB's Natasha Baker fends off strong competition to narrowly win Grade II dressage gold". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Armytage, Marcus (3 September 2012). "Natasha Baker wins second Paralympic dressage gold medal with record score on Cabral". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Hudson, Elizabeth (3 September 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Natasha Baker wins second equestrian gold". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 24.
- "2013 New Year's Honours" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2012.