What is Para-Equestrian?

Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only Equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since 1996. With the idea of creating opportunities for all people with disabilities to compete and achieve their goals in equestrian sport, athletes are classified according to the level of their disability/impairment so as to provide for meaningful competition. 



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Noella Angel

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The competitor’s mobility, strength and coordination are assessed in order to establish their Classification Profile. People with similar functional ability Profiles are grouped into competition Grades. The Grades range from Grade Ia for the most severely impaired, to Grade IV for the least impaired. The competition within each Grade can therefore be judged on the skill of the individual competitor on their horse, regardless of the competitor’s disability.

Five grades of competition are offered.  Each grade reflects the rider’s physical ability:

Grade Ia - Walk only tests, and in Freestyle Tests may show lateral work.

Grade Ib - Walk and trot tests, and in Freestyle Tests may show lateral work.

Grade II - Walk and trot tests, and in Freestyle Tests may show canter and lateral work in walk and trot.

Grade III - Walk, trot and canter tests and in Freestyle Tests may show lateral work and single flying changes.

Grade IV - Walk, trot, canter and lateral work, and in Freestyle Tests may show canter half-pirourettes and 3 and 4 time flying changes.

Major events involve a Team test, Championship Test and Freestyle for all grades, these are scheduled over 3 days. There is now one Novice test for each grade that could be used in smaller competitions.

Once classified, riders are given a functional profile number and a Grade. When necessary riders can use compensating aids approved by FEI PE , such as a special saddle, adapted reins, elastic bands, two whips etc.

All Para-Equestrian riders are encouraged to ride in EA Dressage Competitions. Riders will carry an EA Para-Equestrian ID card, if they need specialist equipment that does not comply with EA Rules. They are required to submit a copy with entries to Organising Committees, and carry the PE Card during competition. Riders will mention to Judges that their PE Card will list any compensating aids allowed. All Para-Equestrian Riders in EA competitions are judged in exactly the same way as all other dressage competitors.

Exemption Cards

Dressage riders who require exemptions for modified equipment, or exemptions from dressage rules (such as not being able to sit trot, or requiring a caller/commander) can apply for an EA Exemption Card, which does not require a Para Equestrian Classification to be undertaken.

Para-Equestrian Rules & Tests