The standard of para dressage is rising every year – and with it the quality of the championship horses. Lucy Elder asks para stars what key ingredients are needed for an elite campaigner
Rare as diamonds, top para horses have a specific set of qualities that make them stand out among performance horses.
In the same way the very best showjumpers, eventers, racehorses and Valegros of the performance horse world have their own set of ingredients and magic, para horses have a recipe all of their own. But what are the essential qualities for a good para horse and how tricky are they to track down?
“Para horses are very difficult to find,” says Mette Assouline, who has been involved in matching many top dressage and para dressage combinations.
“When I started out, horses had to be a good standard but really I think that now the sport has moved away from riding loan horses to competing their own, and that has pushed up the standard of horses in para dressage.”