Equestrianism: Jackson leads British gold rush: World Dressage Championships for Disabled Riders

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FIVE British riders conquered their own personal Everests here on Saturday when they won gold medals in the World Dressage Championships for Disabled Riders. Jo Jackson, who uses a hook in place of the right hand that was missing at birth, started this day of achievement by winning the Grade IV section for riders on borrowed horses. Jackson is an accomplished horsewoman (her grade is for those who are least disabled) and she has had ample opportunity for riding while studying for a degree in equine studies at Warwickshire College. 'I rode every time I felt hungry, that way I lost weight as well,' she said with a grin.

The other four British winners had abandoned their wheelchairs to ride their tests. Allison Hasley (Grade I, own horse) rode a smooth and fluent test to win on Monty. Anne Dunham and Dianne Tubbs, who have multiple sclerosis, won their sections - as did Elizabeth Stone, who was born with spina bifida.

Marcelle Hagger had been devastated when reclassified to Grade V before the championships began, which made her ineligible. She should have been part of the team of four British riders on borrowed horses, whose best three scores were to count. Her team-mates (Jackson, Stone and Tubbs) won their sections, so the team triumphed despite being reduced to three riders.

British riders and their trainers, Pat Manning and Clive Milkins, have worked exceptionally hard since failing to gain any medals at the last championships, which were held in Denmark in 1991.

They have also built up a marvellous team spirit through monthly training weekends; their joy at each other's victories was one of the many happy features of these friendly and emotional championships.

Celebrations were curtailed on Saturday night; the riders still had yesterday's Freestyle Dressage to Music to contest. No medals were awarded for the freestyle, but it was nevertheless another source of great satisfaction for four Britons - Jackson, Hasley, Dunham and Tubbs - who won again.

The competitors are now thinking ahead to 1996, the year of the Paralympics in Atlanta, where riding will be included for the first time.

WORLD DRESSAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR DISABLED RIDERS (Hartpury College, Gloucs): Individual gold medallists, own horse, Grade I: Monty (A Hasley, GB). Grade II: RDA Oberon (A Dunham, GB). Grade III: Alouette (B Seifried, Ger). Grade IV: Titon (I De Groot, Neth). Gold medallists, borrowed horse, Grade I: Louis (D Tubbs, GB). Grade II: Wellington Ebenezer (D Rice, Can). Grade III (joint winners): Otter (E Stone, GB) and Dexter (S Townsend, US). Grade IV: Fosseway Farmer (J Jackson, GB). Teams (own horses): 1 Sweden; 2 Great Britain; 3 Germany. Teams (borrowed horses): 1 Great Britain; 2 Canada; 3 Denmark. Freestyle to Music winners, own horse, Grade I: A Hasley (GB). Grade II: A Dunham (GB). Grade III: Filur (H Nielsen, Den). Grade IV: I De Groot (Neth). Freestyle winners, borrowed horse, Grade I: D Tubbs (GB). Grade II: G Hoff (US). Grade III: A Trabert (Ger). Grade IV: J Jackson (GB).