Equestrian

Equestrian

images of Equestrian

Paralympic Sports

Equestrian

Paralympic Equestrian events display trust built through training and a unique blend of athletic prowess and elegance.

Overview

Athletes with a disability have long taken part in Equestrian activities, originally as a means of rehabilitation and recreation. Para-Equestrian Dressage developed in the 1970s, with the first events held in Great Britain and Scandinavia. The multi-disability sport has since spread around the world.

Equestrian first appeared on the Paralympic programme at the 1984 Games held in Stoke Mandeville and New York, and have featured at every Games since Atlanta 1996. Male and female riders with any type of physical or vision impairment compete together in Dressage events.

Dressage is the epitome of beauty and style. The programme comprises an individual event; a team event involving three members, set to music; and a freestyle event in which riders with the top scores from individual events can choose their own routine and set it to their own choice of music.

Riders are awarded points by a panel of five judges for accuracy of gait and how well the rider and horse work as one.

International Federation: Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)(Open in a new window)

Event Programme

Championship Test

  • Individual – Grade I (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade II (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade III (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade IV (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade V (Mixed)
  • Team – Open (Mixed)

Freestyle Test

  • Individual – Grade I (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade II (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade III (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade IV (Mixed)
  • Individual – Grade V (Mixed)

ESSENCE OF THE SPORT

Accurate movement and artistic finesse

Equestrian players

Competitors are divided into five grades according to their functional ability. They also have a disability profile number, which determines which assistive devices they can use. The grading system was simplified in 2017 from four grades and five categories to five grades, and this new system with be used for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Athletes in grades I to III compete in a 20m x 40m arena and athletes in grades IV and V in a 20m x 60m arena. Riders are judged on their accuracy of movement and artistic finesse as they move around a course in the arena set out using markers. The level of skill required of each grade differs, with grade I competing at the walk, grade II competing at the walk and trot, and so on. Placings are determined by adding the total points from each of the judges and obtaining a percentage.

Athletes with visual impairment are placed in grades IV and V and may have up to 13 assistants to call out the location of markers. Those with memory impairment, such as higher cerebral dysfunction, may have one commander who stands in a fixed place outside the arena and reads each movement.

Some athletes use special assistive devices such as a soft handhold attached to the front of the saddle if they can't grip the reins. Others may hold the reins in their mouth or with their toes. Athletes with lower body paralysis may carry up to two whips to control their mount.

Dressage is about the strong relationship a rider has with their horse. With the balance, position and movement of both horse and rider under constant scrutiny, the winning athlete and horse must work in perfect harmony.

OUTLOOK FOR THE TOKYO 2020 GAMES

Medal-winning performances of grace and control

Equestrian players

Athletes and their horses qualify for the Games through results in international events. Since Rio 2016, qualification criteria have changed from being only for riders; they now include both riders and horses.

Countries with a heritage in Olympic Equestrian tend to be strong in the Paralympic equivalent. Great Britain has produced a remarkable 31 gold medallists in individual and team events, while the United States, Germany, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands have many leading contenders. Japan has yet to win a medal in Paralympic Equestrian.

Lee Pearson (Great Britain) is among the sport's greatest athletes with 14 Paralympic medals to his name, 11 of them gold. His career started with three golds at Sydney 2000, a further three at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, then a team gold, individual silver and bronze at London 2012. He also won silver and gold at Rio 2016.

Pearson's great rival has been Austrian equestrian Pepo Puch. The former three day-eventer competed in that sport at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, before suffering a freak riding accident in 2008. As part of his recovery, Puch rode again, using his considerable horsemanship to become a double Paralympic gold medallist.

TRIVIA

Question

An accessory not permitted in Olympic Equestrian is allowed to be used in Paralympic Equestrian. What is it?

Answer

A:A whip.
In Olympic Equestrian, the reins and legs are primarily used to give instructions to the horse. In Paralympic Equestrian, this may not be possible for some athletes who can use up to two whips with a maximum length of 120 centimetres.

As of 1 Dec. 2018

Competition Venues

  • Equestrian Park

Olympic Sports

Paralympic Sports