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Orford motivated by glory of the Games
ERIN Orford has vowed to use Natasha Baker’s glitzy, three-month long lap of honour as motivation to be even better this year.
Baker won two golds at the Paralympics last summer and since then has been on a glamourous merry-go-round of functions and famous faces.
She has been to a reception at Buckingham Palace, dinner at Windsor Castle, the Pride of Britain and Sports Personality of the Year events.
She has met Olly Murs and appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s cooking show and, to cap it all, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
And all that could have been Orford’s.
The Wycombe para-dressage star beat Baker just before the Games and won the national title just after it.
But she missed out on London because of a perceived lack of international experience and has had to watch from the shadows while her friend and rival grasped the opportunity with both hands.
Orford said: “She has earned the right to do all that.
“But seeing what she has done has pushed me on, it’s a little bit of extra motivation. Hopefully it will be next time.”
Orford returns to action this weekend at the winter championship qualifiers at Berkshire College, and is pencilled in for an international in France in March.
She will have to go some to match last year though, which culminated in the president of the British Horse Society Martin Clunes presenting her with BHS Exceptional Achievement Award, for triumph against the odds showing determination, courage and sportsmanship.
She said: “It was a complete honour and the perfect end to a great year Last season we had our best season ever and we just need to do the same again, but a little bit better.
“I’ve missed out previously because of inconsistency so I’ve got to work on that and narrow the margins.”
Despite the bad weather, Orford and her nine-year-old mouint Morocco will return to competition well primed.
She said: “We’ve managed to keep going. Where we train we’ve got indoor arenas, which has been crucial, so he’s come back strong.
“It feels like he’s come on a lot since last year. Now we’ve just got to go out and prove it in the arena.”