Equestrian first featured at the Paralympics during Atlanta in 1996. However, the first-ever international dressage competitions for athletes with impairments began in the 1984 New York World Games. The first world championships followed up three years later in Sweden, 1987. Athletes of any physical or visual impairments can compete, and there are both men’s and women’s events. All of the events are mixed, with each athlete grouped according to their ability. Athletes with visual impairments can utilise ‘callers’ to aid them around the arena.
The events in the Paralympic program include three different dressage tests. A team test, an individual championship test and a freestyle test.
Athletes are judged and scored on their horsemanship skills, as well as their ability to use devices like dressage crops, connecting rein bands, rubber bands and other devices.
The scores of the individual and team tests are combined to arrive at an overall team score. Each team may have four riders, however only the three best scores will count. Individual medals are awarded according to the individual championship and freestyle results. In the freestyle test, athletes can choose a song and their preferred routine.
Ever since equestrian was first introduced to the Paralympic program in 1996, Great Britain have won the team event every time. Which is an incredible record.
- List of sports at the Paralympics
- More about the sport of Equestrian and a summary about equestrian sports
- Equestrian at the Olympic Games
- List of Sports for Athletes with Disabilities
- Complete list of sports
- main Paralympics page