Para equestrian became a part of the Paralympic Games for the first time in 1996 in Atlanta, and is open to athletes with a physical or visual impairment. Events are mixed and grouped according to Para athletes’ functional profiles, with riders competing in a range of sport classes known as grades.
Para equestrian includes two disciplines – dressage and driving however, dressage is the only discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games.
There are two types of single rider events in Para equestrian: A championships event, where the rider and horse are tested on set movements, and a freestyle event, where riders and horses are able to choose the movement and music. There is also a team event that involves three to four performers per team.
Riders are judged on their display of horsemanship skills and are permitted to use devices such as dressage crops, connecting rein bars, rubber bands and other aids.
At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, 76 Para athletes from 29 countries competed in 11 different medal events.
For more information on Para equestrian visit the International Equestrian Federation.
In New Zealand, Para equestrian is currently delivered widely at the community level. Register your interest now!