Para Dressage

What is Dressage?

Dressage is often considered as an excellent basis for all equestrian sports due to the levels of training and discipline involved. The sport involves the horse and rider performing a series of predetermined movements to a set test. The combination are then marked on their ability to perform each individual movement outlined in the test.

How did Para Dressage begin?

Horse riding has often been used for the rehabilitation and improvement of physical skills of people with a disability and it evolved into a sport during the 1970s. The 1984 World Games in New York marked the beginning of international dressage competitions for men and women with a disability, with the first Dressage World Championship taking place in Sweden three years later. The discipline was first included at the Paralympics in 1996 and has flourished ever since. London 2012 Paralympic Games saw Great Britain bring home fourteen medals: five individual gold, five individual silver, one bronze and team gold, making it Britain's most successful games ever! 

How is Para Dressage different?

Para dressage is conducted under the same basic rules as conventional dressage but with riders divided into different competition grades based on their functional abilities. The sport is open to athletes with visual impairment, cerebral palsy, amputation or other physical impairments. Disabilities are classified into one of the five distinct grades – Ia, Ib, II, III and IV.

Disability Sport Wales and British Dressage- Working Together

Disability Sport Wales and British Dressage Wales are working in partnership to ensure para dressage riders in the region are identified and given the best opportunities to progress through a pathway towards World Class.

British Dressage Wales acts as the facilitator for this journey and with the support of Disability Sport Wales the pathway is more accessible to para riders. BD Wales work closely with Riding for the Disabled to identify the para riders who should take the next step by becoming a British Dressage member. Para riders must then be graded to demonstrate the level of impairment. As a BD member, para riders have access to BD para and able bodied shows and reduced cost training.

We see training as being the vital part of the journey and our main objective is to provide training with a variety of trainers at many venues so that training is available to all para riders in the region. The importance of training builds confidence and encourages riders to progress. British Dressage para riders can use their training attendance and competition scores to be counted towards team selection for the Para Home International. Wales has had a tremendous record of success at this annual event.  The Para Home International is just one of many National shows to work towards. Success nationally opens the door to International shows.

How do I get involved?

There is more information on the para dressage pages of the British Dressage website:



For more information please contact:

Vanessa Archer

Regional Development Officer

British Dressage Wales


07398 763414


Tags: Performance , Commonwealth games


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