Dodd is one of our big Paralympic hopes

EXPECTATION is riding high on the shoulders of Paralympics debutant Hannah Dodd.

The 20-year-old equestrian star breezed through grade IV qualifying as Australia's top female rider and is considered to be a big medal chance in the women's dressage competition in London.

Dodd left her Arcadia home last week for a pre-departure national training camp to be held in Melbourne.

She plans to use the camp to fine-tune her routine with national team coaches before flying out for London this week.

Dodd revealed to the News "the nerves were starting to set in" as time ticks down towards the Paralympics.

"I've been preparing for this for a long time," she said.

"It's all starting to feel real now that I'm leaving home and going to the training camp.

"It will be my first time competing on the world stage and I've only seen YouTube videos of the other leading competitors."

Dodd may be feeling some pre-Paralympics jitters at home but she's not showing it in the arena after winning the Prix St George category at last month's NSW Young Riders Dressage Championships.

In her final tournament before the Games Dodd rode her way to a new personal best score of 66.28 per cent.

"I think I'm peaking at the right time," she said.

"Obviously, the Paralympics will be a much bigger step up in competition but everything is going well with my trot work at the moment."

To win gold Dodd will have to overcome the reigning world champion, Sophie Wells, and the 2008 Olympics gold medallist Phillipa Johnson as well as Norway's Anne Cathrin Lubbe.

Hannah Dodd will be in action at Paralympics on August 31 in the equestrian dressage mixed-team test IV event.

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