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Champions and medallists celebrates

EXCITING, emotional, inspiring: just three words used to sum up the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse.

Among those who watched Frankel sign off his unbeaten career with his 14th and final win were Britain's London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic medallists, eventers Tina Cook, Nicola Wilson and Zara Phillips, showjumpers Peter Charles and Nick Skelton, dressage riders Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, and Para-dressage riders Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen, Deb Criddle and Sophie Wells. The riders, who paraded in front of the crowds before the racing started, were given a tremendous reception.

There is no doubt that Britain is inspired. The Old Paddock Lawn drew big crowds who came to see a mini-replica of Greenwich Park, with a special display of the hallowed fences used during the showjumping and cross-country competitions. Hundreds of race-goers visited the Old Paddock Lawn to discover more about The British Equestrian Federation's (BEF's) Olympic legacy initiative, Hoof.

Demonstrations from Olympic eventing team silver medallist Tina Cook and international dressage rider Daniel Watson provided entertainment and an interesting insight into equine sport and how to get involved, while the mechanical horse simulators provided by the BEF and the British Racing School proved extremely popular as people queued up to take their turn to ride a racing finish.

'Take Back the Reins', an initiative which provides tailor made coaching for riders returning to the saddle or looking to take up the sport for the first time also created much interest. The public was also given the chance to find out more about the important work being done by Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and learn about the less well-known equestrian disciplines such as reining.

BEF Chief Executive Andrew Finding commented: "The level of interest was very pleasing and it is fantastic to see so many people inspired by London 2012 to get involved in equine sport. It is the BEF's aim to create a lasting Legacy and this means making our sport more accessible to more people. Events such as this are a great way to promote everything that equestrianism has to offer."

For more information on Hoof and Take Back the Reins visit: www.hoofride.co.uk.