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Para Equestrian events

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There are two events in Para-equestrian and both are governed by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). The events are para-equestrian driving and para-equestrian dressage, and they follow the same basic rules as combined driving and conventional dressage.

Athletes for the para-equestrian events are classified in various groups based on their level of disability.

Grade 1a

  • Athletes in wheelchairs with impairment of their limbs but are able to walk with an unsteady gait.
  • Athletes with severely impaired trunk and balance.

Grade 1b

  • Athletes in wheelchairs with moderate to severe impairment of their limbs.
  • Athletes with severe impairment, having no function in one to all of their limbs.
  • Athletes with moderate trunk balance but with severe impairment of all 4 limbs.

Grade 2

  • Athletes with good to mild limb function.
  • Athletes with severe impairment present in the trunk, severe arm impairment, slight leg impairment or severe unilateral impairment
  • Wheelchair users.

Grade 3

  • Athletes who are able to walk without support for short periods of time.
  • Athletes with severe arm impairments or moderate impairment with two limbs.
  • Athletes with total visual impairment.
  • Athletes who are intellectually impaired, with an IQ not over 70.
  • Athletes who use the wheelchair for moving over long distances due to the lack of stamina.

Grade 4

  • Athletes with impairment in one or two limbs, or mild visual impairment.

In para-equestrian dressage, athletes are scored based on their skill on the horse against other athletes in the same classification regardless of their disability.
Riders in the para-equestrian dressage discipline can compete in three categories - Individual, Team and Freestyle events. In the team event, groups of three riders will compete with each other. Tests will vary according to the athletes' para-equestrian (PE) grade.

Once athletes are divided into classifications, they are given a grade depending on the level of which they can compete and a profile number that indicates the nature of their disability. Para-equestrians will need to carry a PE ID card, and any specialist equipment that they may need will be listed on their PE card. All Para-equestrian dressage riders are judged in the same way as able-bodied dressage athletes. Riders can apply for an Exemption card if they require exemptions for modified equipment.

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