Dressage Ireland

Para Equestrian

Para Equestrian

FEI Paraequestrian Dressage

There are three main organisations dealing with disabled (actually all are very able!) riders:

  • Riding for the Disabled (RDA) is dedicated to improving lives of people with disability, through providing opportunity for riding and/or carriage driving. They can be contacted on 0845–658–1082.
  • Special Olympics Ireland whose mission is to provide year round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disability.
  • Para Equestrian Dressage (FEI PE) is one of eight horse sports recognised and overseen by the FEI. The others are show jumping, eventing, reining, vaulting, dressage, driving and endurance.

All Para Equestrian riders have some disability. It can be from birth, through an accident or through illness. All Para Equestrian riders are 'classified' into one of five grades. These are: Grade Ia, Ib, II, III, IV. Grade Ia riders are the most disabled, whilst Grade IV riders are the least disabled.

To be classified means that the rider is assessed by a specially trained physiotherapist according to a very strict set of criteria.
After classification the rider will compete against other riders from the same grade.

Para riders begin their competition career nationally riding either at RDA or Dressage Ireland shows. They will ride RDA, DI or FEI PE tests.

  • FEI Grade Ia tests are in walk.
  • FEI Grade Ib tests are mainly in walk with short pieces of trot.
  • FEI Grade II tests are in walk and trot.
  • FEI Grade III tests use walk, trot and canter.
  • FEI Grade IV tests use all three paces and lateral work.

Once accomplished they can be selected to ride internationally for Ireland right up to Paralympic level.

International FEI competitions run over three to six days. Three tests are ridden by each rider. On day one they ride the Team Test in their grade, on day two the Individual Championship Test, and on day three the Freestyle to Music test.

Competitions also have the option to use the FEI Novice dressage test for each grade.

The new 2013 FEI Para Equestrian Dressage tests can be downloaded from FEI for general use.

— Info supplied by A Mastin Moore

It is easy to know the Grade of the riders by the test they ride. Test 31 starts with a 3 and is therefore a Grade III test. Tests numbered below 10 are Grade Ia, whilst tests numbered from 10-19 would be Grade Ib. Tests numbered in the 40s are Grade IV in a 20x40 arena. Tests numbered in the 50s are Grade IV in a 20x60 arena.
Though the majority of riders will remain in one Grade throughout their lives, those with a degenerative disorder may start as an able bodied rider before being classified into Grade IV. They may then need re classifying as their illness worsens.

Riders are judged purely on their ability to ride and produce pure dressage. Most Paralympic riders compete with able bodied riders within their own countries with great success. Sympathy marks are not used by the judges.

The standard of riding internationally is incredibly high, with medallists fighting it out at the top. Percentages as high as 84% were achieved at the Athens Paralympic Games in 2004.

Some countries have started Para Jumping. Ireland is one of them (for more information contact Heather at 086–228–3943). It is a growing sport, but not yet an FEI sport.

News Archive

All Para Equestrian Related Items in News Archive

13.05.2014 - Ladino XV representing Dressage Ireland at Punchestown 2014

08.10.2013 - Annual Judge’s Gala 30 September 2013

13.09.2013 - Tong Takes The Title

03.05.2013 - HSI Equestrian Showcase Parade at Punchestown on Tuesday 23rd April

19.12.2012 - FEI launches global safety helmet campaign

18.04.2011 - Irish Para riders boost Olympic bid with French success

01.09.2009 - New Public Relations Officer for Dressage Ireland

24.08.2009 - Para Equestrian Dressage – Congratulations to the Irish team!

17.07.2009 - Hartpury CPEDI3*, 15 to 17 July 2009

03.07.2009 - Marlton Under 25s Championship, 3, 4 and 5 July 2009

19.05.2009 - Savage Victory at British Paraequestrian Spring Championships

18.05.2009 - Para Equestrian Dressage - Three Wins For Dwyer In USA

21.04.2009 - Para Equestrian Dressage - Bernie, Wheelock in Top Ten at Moorsele CPEDI3* Moorsele Belgium 17–19 April 2009

15.03.2009 - Clonshire EC, Adare, Co. Limerick, Sunday 15th March 2009 - Regional Winter Finals

20.01.2009 - South Munster Dressage Awards Night

11.12.2008 - FEI Dressage Task Force

22.09.2008 - Irish Para Riders Success at BD Nationals

12.09.2008 - Irish Riders Abroad - Paralympics 2008

10.09.2008 - Hong Kong 10th September

09.09.2008 - Hong Kong 9th September

08.09.2008 - Hong Kong 8th September

07.09.2008 - Hong Kong 7th September

06.09.2008 - Hong Kong 6th September

05.09.2008 - Paralympics - Byrne Second in Hong Kong Warm-up

05.09.2008 - Hong Kong Paralympic News

26.07.2008 - Show Report and Results - Boswell Equestrian 26 July

17.07.2008 - Hartpury Festival of Dressage CPEDI*** 16 to 20 July

21.04.2008 - Irish riders at CPEDI 3* International Para Equestrian Dressage, Belgium

29.02.2008 - Para Riders Success in England

13.01.2008 - North Munster Dressage Show Sunday 13th January 2008, Ennis Showgrounds, Ennis, Co. Clare

11.03.2007 - Leinster Dressage Winter League update