Understanding the Paralympic dressage format

  • Britain’s paras aim to extend their unbeaten team record in London — the biggest Paralympic Games to date. Find out how the competition will be run.

  • Para dressage riders are classified into different grades, under FEI rules, depending on the severity of their disability and how this affects their ability to ride.
  • There are five grades: Ia, Ib, II, III and IV. Grade Ia athletes are those classified the most severely disabled and grade IV the least.
  • All competitors ride the team test relevant to their grade. They will then ride the individual test and the results of this and the team test combined decide the team medals. It is the best three scores across the grades that count for the team result, whether the nations have three or four team members.
  • Riders in each grade also earn individual medals on the merit of the individual test. They then ride their freestyle test, for which they start on a clean sheet and contest another set of individual medals in each grade.
  • Whips, spurs and connecting reins are allowed, along with other devices that assist them depending on their disability. Visually impaired riders are allowed callers to help them navigate the arena.

    To read the full Olympic preview, including team analysis and rider profiles, see the current issue of H&H (23 August 2012)

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