Probably one of the more established disability sports on offer, para dressage is the only equestrian discipline contested at the Paralympic Games. In 2010 it was featured in the World Equestrian Games format for the first time, and the discipline now runs in a four-year cycle of championships with European Championships in the years between the World Championships and the Paralympic Games. Great Britain’s para dressage team is unbeaten at every Paralympic Games since the sport began.
Para dressage offers competitive dressage opportunities for riders with disabilities. Riders are classified within five disability grades to ensure riders are competing as fairly as possible against others of a similar disability. The grades range from Grade 1 for the most impaired riders through to Grade V for the least impaired riders. The Para-Equestrian page has more details on rider classification.
If you have a disability and want to try para dressage, the place to start is with the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) at one of their 500+ groups within the UK. There are also over 50 riding centres with Accessibility Mark accreditation. Each accredited centre will have been through training with experienced RDA coaches to ensure they're suitable and meet the high standards required by the RDA. Once centres have gained the Accessibility Mark status, they're offered continuous support from the RDA to ensure they provide an experience that aims to be hugely beneficial for all levels of riders. You can find your local RDA group or Accessibility Mark centre by going to the Find a Riding Centre tool.
Riders can also move on from the RDA to compete in British Dressage para dressage competitions and training opportunities. Para riders are also eligable to compete in some British Dressage able-bodied competitions, too.
There are numerous ways to get involved with para-equestrian dressage. Have a look at what's on offer at your local RDA centre or take a look at how to get started on the British Dressage website.