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13 Questions: Paralympian Sophie Wells, dressage

Guest Guest | 13:06 UK time, Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sophie Wells - credits to Kit Houghton

Sophie has previously won non-disabled competitions

22 year old para dressage rider Sophie Wells grew up on a farm in Lincoln. She now lives in Nottingham, where she trains with her horse Pinocchio.

Sophie was born with amniotic band syndrome, a rare condition where fibrous bands from the amniotic sack wrap around a baby's limbs while in the womb, trapping and damaging them. As a result, Sophie's feet have no movement or feeling in them, she has nerve damage in her legs and she has lost a number of fingers.

Para dressage riders are categorised one to five, or IA, IB, II, III and IV, where IA riders have the highest level of physical disability and IV riders the lowest. Sophie is classified as IV.

In 2008, Sophie became the first para dressage rider to ever win an
international non-disabled competition. She was first reserve for
ParalympicsGB for Beijing the same year, but had to pull out when her
horse got a tumour in his foot. She has been winning gold at able-bodied young riders competitions and in para dressage ever since.

Before Sophie was spirited away in to the Olympic village to prepare for London 2012, she answered our 13 questions.

My earliest memory is ...
... early in the morning at the age of two, carefully balancing and sitting on my Dads shoulders, going out to see the animals on the family farm.

The three words I'd use to describe myself are ...
Perfectionist, Determined and hopefully helpful

A little known fact about me is ...
That I Am allergic to horses! I am growing out of it but it's still a problem if the horses are moulting, when I need to groom the horse and if I come into contact with hay.

I can't resist ...

I want to ban ...
Cruelty to animals.

The thing I've done but would never do again is ...
I was first reserve for the Beijing Paralympics, so we went into 10 day quarantine with the rest of the team. But My horse went lame after the call up. To wave the rest of the team off and watch them on the TV was really hard. It made me grow up at 18 but I wouldn't want to do it again.

During my time off I ...
like to relax with my family, boyfriend and friends. Its nice to relax after a lot of travelling and training.

Before I die I want to ...
Live my life to the full and take every opportunity with both hands!

If I suddenly became able bodied I would ...
Plait the horse's mane myself; I don't have enough fingers to do it.

Someone should invent ...
A Tardis so that we could travel everywhere quickly. It would save wasting a lot of time.

My ideal dinner guest would be ...
Dawn French. She would be fun.

My first job was ...
Helping my Dad with the family farm business.

Winning a gold medal at London 2012 would be ...
Incredible and a dream come true.

After the Paralympics I will ...
Keep on riding, trying to compete at the highest level and promoting Paralympic Sport.

• Sophie rides in the individual championship on Sunday 2 September.

• Sophie Wells was speaking to Tony Garrett.


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