By David Gold

Sophie Christiansen_04-09-12September 4 - Sophie Christiansen became the first British athlete to win three gold medals at this summer's Paralympics as she claimed the freestyle dressage grade 1a test title at Greenwich Park, as the host nation delivered a record-breaking performance.

Christiansen's (pictured top and below) gold, allied to silver medals for Sophie Wells and Deborah Criddle, meant Britain have won 11 equestrian medals, beating the record of 10 they set in Beijing four years' ago.

Britain has also won a medal in every single event so far in the equestrian.

Having already won the individual championship test grade 1a on Sunday (September 2), Christiansen scored 84.75 per cent to win her third gold after Britain claimed the team title at the weekend.

Fittingly, the 24-year-old, riding Janeiro6, performed a routine including musical extracts from Land of Hope and Glory, the chimes of Big Ben and a Shakespeare quotation from Richard II.

The cerebral palsy athlete won a bronze medal in Beijing, and is a reigning world and European champion.

"I was always going to enjoy that," said Christiansen, who also has both a Master's degree in mathematics and an MBE for services to disabled sport.

"I actually played it a bit safe to keep him relaxed and keep the rhythm and it paid off with such a high score."

Sophie Christiansen_04-09-121
Silver went to Ireland's Helen Kearney and bronze to Laurentia Tan of Singapore.

Aside from the hosts, Germany and Belgium were the big winners today.

Belgian Michele George (pictured below) scored 82.1 per cent on Rainman in the Grade IV freestyle class.

"I am lost for words," said George afterwards.

"To achieve this in a country like [Great Britain] with such a strong tradition, I really felt the pressure.

"I really enjoyed it but it was hard to keep him calm.

"It was really important to me.

"[It is] an achievement coming here to this venue – I just can't find the right words to tell you how important it is."

Michele George_04-09-12
The silver was won by 22-year-old Wells, who curiously has an allergy to horses, and bronze went to Dutchman Frank Hosmar in a repeat of the result from the individual championship on Sunday (September 2).

Wells' three medals from these Games are all the more remarkable not just for her horse allergy, but that she suffers from amniotic band syndrome, which affects the joints and caused her to lose her fingers and the feeling in her feet.

In 2008 Wells became the first Para-equestrian dressage rider to win an able-bodied competition at the Hickstead Under-21 International.

Hannelore Brenner of Germany won her second gold of the Games in the Grade III individual freestyle, dominating on Women of the World to score 81.7 per cent.

The 46-year-old finished ahead of Britain's Criddle and Denmark's Annika Dalskov, meaning that again this was a repeat of the result in the individual championship on Sunday.

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