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Para Equestrian Dressage

Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only equestrian discipline that is included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been a regular fixture since 1996.   With the idea of creating opportunities for all people with disabilities to compete and achieve their goals in equestrian sport, athletes are classified according to the level of their disability/impairment so as to provide for meaningful competition.  

There are four grades of classification, from Grade 1(a) being the most severely impaired to Grade 4 riders who very closely approximate able-bodied competitors. Each grade rides a test at their own level. Grade 1(a) walks their test pattern while the Grade 4 competition includes walking, trotting, cantering and more advanced lateral movements.   

In 2006, the Para-Equestrian sport joined the ranks of the other 7 disciplines regulated by the FEI, with national and international competitions for Dressage and Driving for individuals with a disability.   At the London 2012 Paralympics, the United States Para-equestrian team had its best results in history, finishing just behind the medal winners in each classification.

Gigi and Rio Rio have been building upon their success in Europe in the spring of 2014 and capturing the National Reserve Champion Title at the WEG Selection Trials held in Gladstone 2014.   Although unable to represent our country at the WEG (due to a classification discrepency), Gigi continues to pursue her dream of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.