SPO_230927 NATALIE LANKESTER-1695825780668
Natalie Lankester, riding Cash DXB, going through her routine in the individual dressage championship in the Asian Games on Wednesday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE’s top-ranking rider Natalie Lankester, riding Cash DXB, qualified for the final round of the Asian Games individual dressage championship on Wednesday.

Lankester finished the FEI Intermediate I test with a score of 64.882 per cent to be among the final 15 who made it to the Thursday’s final round at the dressage arena. The leading UAE rider will ride a complex floor plan choreographed to her chosen music against the best Asian riders to in the final, a freestyle event where Lankester will again partner the 16-year-old KWPN gelding by Hexagon’s Rubiquil.

Incredible experience

“It’s been an incredible experience so far and I’m proud and eternally grateful to have the opportunity to represent my country. It is for the first time I am competing a championship of such magnitude, hence I couldn’t have asked for more from Cash. He felt with me the whole time and even though we can still improve on many small points, it was a great test. I’m excited for tomorrow’s Freestyle and will give it my all,” told Lankester, who also scored a personal best of 67.059 per cent on Cash DXB in the Prix St-Georges.

The UAE dressage team, who have only been competing together for the first time this year, has already seen multiple podium places on the European circuit over the summer, with riders Lankester and Mohamed Jassim Al Serkal taking first place in the CDIAm in Crozet and the CDIAm in Deauville respectively.

Dressage continues to grow

UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation was established under the guidance of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in accordance with the Ministerial Resolution No. 61 (1992). The federation supervises and regulates all equestrian activities throughout the country with the aim of building a broad base for sport and preparing future generations.

Dressage continues to grow in the UAE, with the total number of registered riders increasing by 120 per cent over the past year, with over 20 per cent of those Emirati riders.

Golden moment

The sustained support from Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-President and Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Court, Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, along with the continued efforts of the UAE Equestrian Federation to further develop the sport, allows dressage to grow across the Emirates and attract new riders.

The UAE has been making its mark over the years with the team securing the endurance gold in 2006, along with individual gold and bronze in the same year, as well as individual bronze in show jumping. Four years later, the UAE’s show jumping team secured two silver medals, both team and individual.