The first major international dressage competition for riders with physical disabilities came in 1984 at the World Games in New York. Equestrian made its debut appearance at the Paralympic Games in 1996 in Atlanta. Riders from 16 countries participated in the 1996 Games and by 2004 that number had nearly doubled (29).
Dressage was the only equestrian discipline included in the competition schedule of the 2004 Paralympic Games. Riders compete in two dressage events; a championship test of set movements and a freestyle test to music. There is also a team test for three or four riders. Competitors are judged on their display of horsemanship skills demonstrated through their use of commands for walk, trot and canter.
Paralympic equestrian competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation/limb loss, blindness/visual impairment, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke.
E-mail your questions about equestrian. Find a local program in your community - visit the Paralympic Resource Network.