EQUES­TRIAN STAR MOURNS HORSE’S DEATH

EQUES­TRIAN STAR NATASHA WON 11 GOLD MEDALS WITH JP

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by ALEXAN­DER BALLINGER alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @amb­hack

UXBRIDGE’S famed Par­a­lympic eques­trian su­per­star Natasha Baker is mourn­ing the death of her beloved gold medal-win­ning horse.

Ms Baker has re­vealed that JP, the horse that helped her achieve 11 gold medals, Par­a­lympic records and in­ter­na­tional ti­tles, was put down over the week­end af­ter fall­ing ill from an in­fec­tion.

JP and Ms Baker most re­cently won three gold medals to­gether in the 2016 Rio Par­a­lympics in Septem­ber and she said she will trea­sure the mem­o­ries she shared with him.

In a touch­ing state­ment posted on her web­site, Ms Baker said: “This week­end I sud­denly lost my soul mate, my best friend and my danc­ing part­ner.

“JP was a horse like no other, a true leg­end. He was dis­cov­ered by fluke and I in­stantly knew he was ‘the one’.

“He made my dreams come true over and over again. We’ve had the best jour­ney to­gether and he has given me mem­o­ries I will trea­sure for­ever. “I can­not thank him enough.” Ms Baker suf­fers from trans­verse myeli­tis, which has left her with per­ma­nent nerve dam­age and sever weak­ness in her legs.

She con­tracted a virus when she was just 14-months-old and is un­able to use her legs while rid­ing.

JP con­tracted clostridia bac­te­ria from a small wound.

The bac­te­ria is com­mon in horses and foals and can cause sud­den death.

Ms Baker, 27, said: “JP gave me his heart and we took on the world.

“We de­fied the odds and he gave me ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing he had.

“He had the kind­est soul and his heart was made of gold.”

Natasha Baker and JP cel­e­brate on their way to win­ning gold in the dres­sage in­di­vid­ual freestyle test

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