Paralympic ace Phillippa is up and riding again | SASCOC - SASCOC

Paralympic ace Phillippa is up and riding again

London Paralympian Philippa Johnson is back in the saddle and took part in her first competition of the year at the weekend, writes Mark Etheridge.

The competition was held in Massenhoven, Belgium, the country where our two-time Beijing gold medallist finds herself based for much of the year.

“I competed with Verdi at the CDN Massenhoven in the Int 1 division. The last couple of weeks we have had really bad weather and we don’t have an indoor so our preparation was a little lacking but instructions from Chris [Haazen, instructor] was to ride it the best we could,” she told Road to Rio 2016.

“I was very pleased with Verdi, we had a couple of expensive mistakes but also some very good parts. Next time better!

“We finished 11th out of a class of 15 horses with 63.42%’.

Verdi didn’t go to the London Paralympics, with Johnson opting to take the younger Lord Louis instead but they failed to make the podium on this occasion.

“Louis goes on competition this weekend so we’ll hear all about him then.” The biggest news in Johnson’s life is that she herself has got hitched, becoming engaged to fellow equestrian expert James Dwyer in December.

“James is the Grade IV rider on the Irish team and he’s just moved to Belgium and we’re hoping to start our own place her, looking to help out young riders from both SA and Ireland, kind of a home away from home.”