Para-Equestrian Dressage

Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only Equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since 1996 (Atlanta). More recently, since Lexington in 2010, it has been included in the World Equestrian Games.

With the idea of creating opportunities for all people with physical disabilities/impairment (locomotive, sensory, cerebral) to compete and achieve their goals in equestrian sport, athletes are classified according to the level of their impairment so as to provide for meaningful competition. 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.

3 “factors” are assessed during the rider’s classification :

- mobility ;                                                 
- strength  ;                                      
- coordination.

Once their Classification Profile completed, people with similar functional ability Profiles are grouped into competition Grades. The Grades range from Grade I for the most severely impaired, to Grade V for the least impaired.

Grade I

Mainly wheelchair users with Impairment of all 4 limbs, may be able to walk with an unsteady gait, however trunk and balance are severely impaired.

In Grade I Tests, athletes compete at walk.


Mainly wheelchair users with poor trunk balance and or Impairment of function in all four limbs, or no trunk balance and good upper limb function, or moderate trunk balance with severe Impairment of all 4 limbs.

n Grade II Tests, athletes compete at walk and trot.

Grade III

- Severe locomotors impairment involving the trunk ;
- Severe arm impairment and slight leg impairment ;
- Severe unilateral impairment.

Athletes compete at walk and trot. Athletes are allowed to canter in the Freestyle.

Grade IV

- Moderate unilateral impairment ;
- Moderate impairment in four limbs ;
- Severe arm impairment ;
- Total loss of sight in both eyes.

Athletes compete at walk, trot, with lateral work, and canter.

Grade V

- Impairment in one or two limbs ;
- Some visual impairment.

Athletes compete at walk, trot and canter with lateral work.