A new classification policy for para equestrian dressage has been launched by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and British Dressage (BD).

The policy is designed “to give clearer guidance and offer a more structured system, in line with that used by the FEI”.

The change has been introduced to meet the growing demand for classifications and “to ensure a more comprehensive process for assessing riders whose disability might be more complex or progressive”.

Initial applications will be reviewed by a national classification panel, which was created on 1 January.

Classification will be offered in regional days, where assessments will be carried out by two classifiers.

The two classifier system brings the UK in line with horse sport’s governing body, the FEI, which has always required more than one classifier for its assessments.

Other aspects of the classification remain the same, with no changes being made to the profile or grading of riders.

David Hamer, British Dressage para director said: “The popularity of Paralympic sport post-London 2012 has been a great boost, and it is essential that those coming into the sport have a system that can support the growth in demand for classification.”

“The National Policy gives more clarity and guidance to what was already a very comprehensive process.”

The RDA’s 500 volunteer groups throughout the UK give 28,000 adults and children the opportunity to enjoy riding or carriage driving.

Every year over 19,000 volunteers give a total of 3.5m hours of their time to help.

The RDA provides opportunities for therapy and achievement, improves health, wellbeing and self-confidence and benefits mobility and coordination.

For more information visit www.rda.org.uk

  • Claire Sexton

    A greater degree of consistency is long overdue – RDA classification is, for most people the first step, but there has always been the worry (for a lot of people the reality) that FEI classification would not result in the same end grade. mine was exactly the same profile (and so grade) but when competing, there can the possibility that different criteria have been applied.