Showjumper Ben Maher hopes medals lead to equestrian boost

Great Britain capture their first Olympic showjumping gold medal in 60 years

Essex showjumper Ben Maher hopes the success of Britain's team at London 2012 will give a major boost to equestrianism in the country.

Showjumping, eventing and dressage produced three gold, one silver and one bronze medals for Team GB.

"It's sad we don't get to keep the arena in Greenwich, it has to be returned to the park," said Maher.

"But hopefully a lot of children and adults can maybe aspire to what we've achieved and get involved."

Maher told BBC Essex: "You don't necessarily have to have your own horses, you don't even have to ride, you can do it at any level - you can work with the horses, you can work on them, there's a number of different ways to get involved.

Maher was a member of the quartet that won Britain's first team jumping gold for 60 years after a jump-off against the Netherlands.

He said the decision to stage the equestrian events in Greenwich Park, which some had questioned, had proved to be the right one with 22,000-strong crowds in the stands every day.

"We were in an amazing setting with very high set-back stands and people all rooting for their own country, it was completely different feeling from any other horse show.

"An Olympic Games brings out the best in people and without those crowds we wouldn't have been able to manage the performances that we all did," he added.

"Without the backing of the public, and all the people around willing us to do well, we wouldn't have managed to quite get what we got.

"I think the dressage [team] were expected to do very well, as were the eventers, but the show jumping, the pressure was on.

"We were quietly confident but you've still got to execute it when you got there."

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