What is Para-Equestrian?

Para-Equestrian is Equestrian Sport for people with a classifiable physical or visual impairment to compete in accordance to their level of disability/impairment, so as to provide a fair and even playing field of competition. 

The word 'Para' stands for Parallel, meaning alongside Open Sport. 

Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only Equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since 1996. 

Para-Dressage and Para-Driving are recognised sports by the FEI. Para-Jumping and Para-Reining are gaining momentum in Europe, the USA and UK. Information about Para-Reining in Australia is available on




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 I (1) for the most severely impaired, to Grade V (5) 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 I - Walk only tests, and in Freestyle Tests may show lateral work.

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

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

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

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

Para-Dressage Tests

Major events involve a Grand Prix A, Grand Prix B and Freestyle for all grades, these are scheduled over 3 days.

Entry level FEI tests – Novice and Intermediate tests with their relevant freestyles. Found here -

Para also has Grassroot tests – EA Level 1 to Level 4 Tests. Found here

Once classified, riders are given a functional profile number and a Grade. When necessary, riders can use compensating aids approved by EA/FEI PE, such as salute with head only (SWHO), special saddle, adapted reins, elastic bands, two whips etc.

All Para-Equestrian riders are encouraged to ride in EA Dressage Competitions. Riders may ask EA office for an EA Para-Equestrian ID card, if they need specialist equipment that does not comply with EA Rules. Or riders/organisers may find relevant information on the current EA Master list -

All Para-Equestrian Riders in EA competitions are judged in exactly the same way as all other dressage competitors.

Exemption Cards

Dressage riders who are non-classifiable but 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-Dressage Links

Events Calendar

2024 Calendar



Para-Dressage now have their own rules, seperate to Dessage Rules!

Effective 1 July 2023


EA National Para-Dressage Information

 Including Tests, Classifications & Exemptions


Para Rider Profiles

Get to know some of our SA Para Equestrian Riders

Noella Angel

Jessie Smith

Equine Pathways Australia

Get started in Para Equestrian