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Paralympic Games

The major championships in equestrian sport run in a four-year cycle. 

Year 1: European Championships
Year 2: World Championships
Year 3: European Championships
Year 4: Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Paralympic Games is overseen by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), with British athletes competing for the British Paralympic Association under the banner of ParalympicsGB. Para dressage, or para equestrian as it is known at the Games, is run with input from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport.

The Paralympics Games will be held in the Tokyo in the summer of 2021, following a 12-month postponement as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In para dressage, there has team and individual medals up for grabs, with gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to the combinations that make it onto the podium. 

Vet inspections are carried out before the start of competition and again towards the end of competition to ensure that all horses are fit to compete. 

Competition structure

Para dressage, known at the Paralympic Games as para equestrian, sees athletes classified into five grades (1–5) depending on their levels of mobility, strength and coordination. Grade 1 tests are ridden in walk, grade 2 and 3 include walk and trot, and grade 4 and 5 are comprised of walk, trot, canter and lateral work. A set of medals is awarded for each grade in the individual and freestyle tests, and there is a set of medals for the team competition.

To assist them during their tests, riders may use additional aids such as looped reins or callers, and nations can enlist 'friend' horses to stand just outside the arena to help the competing horse stay relaxed. In para dressage there are five judges marking each test, spread at different points around a 40m x 20m arena.

Nations put forward a team of three riders from across the grades – teams can't contain more than two riders in any one grade. 

INDIVIDUAL

All four riders compete against others in their grade in a set test. The test is marked in the same way as in dressage, and the combination with the highest percentage wins the individual medal for that grade. In the event of a tie, the combination with the higher set of collective marks will receive the higher placing.

TEAM

All four riders ride a set test for their grade. The three highest scores are combined to produce an overall score, and the nation with the highest score wins. Riders can choose their own background music to be played during the test, but this won't be judged. 

In the event of an equal placing, the winning team is the one whose lowest ranked team member has the best result in the team test.

FREESTYLE

In each grade, the top-eight combinations in the Individual test go forward to the Freestyle on the final day. Each combination rides their own floorplan set to music of their choice, based on a list of required movements, with additional marks given for artistic merit and degree of difficulty. No marks are carried forward from the Individual test, and the combination with the highest percentage wins. In the event of an equal placing, the artistic marks will be used as the tie-breaker.