Recently I have been asked the question 'How do you get into Para Dressage' so I have decided to write a basic guide based on my own experiences to help others who wish to join the Para world.
I found it a big step to go from RDA to Para, firstly you need your own horse or have use of one that you can compete on, if getting your own, can you look after it, do have facilities to ride in all weathers and do you have transport to get to shows? If you think you can do all this then the rest is quite simple, the following link has the details of Para classes that are held through out the country; http://www.britishdressage.co.uk/para_equestrian/national_competitions. To compete in the novice silver classes you only need a rda disability classification this can be done via your local rda centre. If you wish to step up to the Gold Open test you will need to be FEI classified which can only be carried out at a CPEDI competition i.e Deuville in April or Hartpury and Bishop Burton in July. You also need to register yourself and your horse with BD this costs around £130. Also take note that the competition centres are not responsible for providing a mounting block so you need to be able to get on by yourself or with help from friends, I started off with a double scissor lift table which we stored in the other side of the trailer. When we moved to a horsebox this became a rather back breaking process so now thanks to Dolphin Mobility we now have a hoist attached to the horsebox, it can also became a free standing unit for use at home. If you wish to progress in the world of Para Dressage there are two championships to aim for; the Winter Championships held at Vale View in March and the Summer Championships one for gold riders and one for bronze and silver. To qualify you need 10 points for silver and 12 points for the gold sections. Points are awarded on your percentages at the qualifying competitions which are listed using the above BD link, the points are the same as able bodied BD dressage points. For the bronze Intro championships you only need at least two scores of 66% or over in the qualifiers. If you require any further information please don't hesitate to contact me.