Natasha's
New Direction

12 April 2019

British Paralympic legend Natasha Baker is forging a successful career away from top-level sport...

Great Britain’s Natasha Baker is one of the most recognisable Para Dressage stars in the world.

 

A five-time Paralympic gold medal winner - two at London 2012 and three at Rio 2016) - and multi European and world championships medallist, Baker is also carving a role for herself outside of the arena, as a Dressage commentator on FEI TV.

 

Here we find out more about Natasha’s media career and life away from elite equestrian sport…

"I’m so lucky
to find another
job doing
something I love"

Natasha’s FEI TV work started at the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017.

She didn’t compete in that competition coming, as it did, so soon after her Rio triumph and the death of her beloved medal winning partner Cabral, known as JP.

 

Instead though she was asked to accompany FEI TV’s Rupert Bell and commentate on the competition instead.

 

“I loved doing that,” she says. “It was a totally different experience to competing, when you’re so wrapped up in your own and your team’s performance.

“Taking time to watch other riders who I have got to know well over the years was a real pleasure. And I love to talk as well so it was a win, win!”

 

Following her success on screen at that competition, FEI TV producer Mike Critchley asked her if she would like to commentate on the FEI’s Dressage World Cup series too.

 

“I got the call to go to the competition in Stuttgart in 2018 and I loved it. I’m passionate about dressage so every competition is like a little mini break,” she says. “I’m so lucky to find another job doing something I love.”

 

Baker works as part of a team of FEI TV commentators that also includes John Kyle, Spencer Sturmey and Phil Ghazala.

 

“They are all so experienced in their work and their sport,” Baker adds, “so it’s great that I get to tap into their knowledge and expertise too.

 

“And I also watch the competitions back as well, because that helps me be better each time around.”

 

The biggest media gig of Baker’s career so far though came at the annual FEI Awards gala held in Bahrain in December, which she co-hosted with Juan Matute Guimon.

“I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” she laughs. “I travelled out there a couple of days ahead of the awards and worked with colleagues form the FEI to write the script, and then we rehearsed a few times too. I wanted specially to make sure I got people’s names right.

 

“Once I started though it was all fine and I loved every minute of it. Even in all my years of competition I’ve never had such a high as I had after that. I was awake until 5am running on adrenaline.”

 

She even confesses to a ‘diva moment’ in the run up to that show.

 

“I had one dress lined up but when I went to the hire shop to collect it they had another, more beautiful one, in the window, so I took that instead,” she recalls.

 

“It was quite long though and I’m only five feet one, so I emailed my colleagues who were already in Bahrain to see if the hotel had a seamstress who could alter it.

“Luckily, they did and within 24 hours of arriving, I had my gorgeous new dress.”

 

Away from that work Baker is now heads down in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

 

There’s still time for her other passion though, skiing, and this year has already seen her sit ski independently for the first time. “normally I have an instructor with me,” she says, “but this year I had some lessons with Disability Snow Sports UK and could go it alone.

 

She says: “I don’t think I’m ready for Team GB as a skier just yet though, but who knows!”

 

Watch this video as we go behind the scenes with Natasha in the build up to last year's awards... 

Natasha seems to be a whizz at whatever she tries her hand at!

Subscribe to FEI TV to catch Natasha in action on commentary at all the biggest equestrian events...

 

Words by Rob Howell

Images by Liz Gregg / Lloyd Bell Productions

+

Manage your cookies