By Nick Butler

Joann Formosa was one of 35 Paralympians recognised in Australia Day honours ©Getty ImagesFebruary 1 - London 2012 dressage gold medal winner Joanne Formosa admitted she was "in shock" after being one of 35 Paralympians recognised during last week's Australia Day celebrations.

The 52-year-old won the Grade 1b event at London 2012 to shock Great Britain's home favourite Lee Pearson and become Australia first Paralympic equestrian champion for 12 years.

For this she was awarded an order of the merit of Australia for services to sport.

Among those also awarded was the eight time London 2012 gold medal winning swimmer Jacqueline Freney and scud sailor Liesl Tesch, as well as members of the nation's victorious wheelchair rugby team.

Eight time London 2012 swimming champion Jacqueline Freney was also recognised on the honours list ©AFP/Getty ImagesEight time London 2012 swimming champion Jacqueline Freney was also recognised on the honours list ©AFP/Getty Images

Since winning her first title Formosa, like Freney, has enjoyed huge recognition and was last year internationally recognised by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) when she received the "Against All Odds" award - presented to a person who has pursued equestrian ambitions in the face of adversity.

But Formosa, who has spinal cord and nerve damage and can only walk with the aid of crutches, was surprised by the latest addition to her lengthy list of awards.

She claimed her reaction to receiving the letter was to think: "what's this from the Government - what have I done wrong?"

"I opened the letter to find a gold embossed piece of paper telling me I was receiving an OAM and I couldn't believe it," she added.

"I got a bit teary, it was a great shock.

"My life since London has been a whirlwind but it's been such a great journey."

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