Ready for some equestrian inspiration?
During the 2014 World Equestrian Games, keep an eye out for the Para-Dressage competition. You’ll see horse-and-rider teams competing at the highest level of international dressage, just like in the standard dressage competition. But you’ll also see riders who are overcoming physical difficulties and impairments that might keep many people off any horse, let alone ride down the center line in Normandy during the most prestigious equestrian competition in the world.
Competitions in para-dressage began in Great Britain in the 1970s, as a response to the growing population of riders who found they were becoming accomplished equestrians through therapeutic riding. By 2006, the sport had grown to the point where para-dressage was added to the FEI roster of disciplines, joining dressage, show-jumping, eventing, reining, driving (and para driving), endurance, and vaulting. Para-dressage became part of the World Equestrian Games in 2010. That year, Great Britain would bring home the team gold and British rider Lee Pearson snagged the individual gold as well.
Just like standard Dressage, para-dressage includes Freestyle and standard riding tests, and is judged in the same manner. The FEI para-dressage tests encompass multiple levels, including a walk-only level which involves ten-meter circles, free and medium walk, and changes of rein. The highest level, Grade IV, includes advanced movements such as the half-pass and pirouette. A physiotherapist or physician classifies what level of competition each para-dressage rider rides at — this helps match skill and a rider’s physical abilities evenly.
Para-dressage returns for its second round in the World Equestrian Games on August 25th, when the 2014 competition opens with the first team, championship, and musical freestyle tests will be ridden. The United States fields a team of five horse-and-rider teams: Sydney Collier and Willi Wesley, a Warmblood gelding; Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani, a Danish Warmblood mare; Angela Peavy and Ozzy Cooper, a Trakehner gelding; Susan Treabess and Kamiakin, a PRE stallion; and Roxanne Trunelle and Nice Touch, a Dutch Warmblood mare.
You can read more about the United States team and the United States Para-Equestrian Association at their website: www.USPEA.org.
For the competition schedule and more information on WEG and the Para-dressage competition, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/the-disciplines/8/para-dressage
Para-dressage tests can be found at the FEI website: http://www.fei.org/fei/your-role/organisers/p-e-dressage/tests