Equestrian is a multi disability sport, open to athletes with a physical disability or visual impairment.
Competitors are judged on their display of horsemanship skills as they ride their horse using a series of commands for walk, trot and canter.
Equestrian can be divided into therapy and sport, namely New Zealand Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and Para Equestrian.
New Zealand Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)
RDA is a registered charity and there are 54 groups affiliated with them spread across the country. Their focus is to reach more riders and make a positive difference using goal based activities that help increase the confidence, strength and ability of people with disabilities.
In 2009 Para Equestrian became the fifth discipline of Equestrian Sports New Zealand. Para Equestrian provides riders with the opportunity to train and compete in Para Dressage or Dressage on equal terms. Riders are classified into grades, based on impairment, and competition is against riders of a similar grade or against non-disabled riders in dressage competitions.
Riders need to be classified according to their functional ability, then from this compensating aids can be authorised. These may include use of voice, rein adaptions, saddle adaptions etc.
For more details please see the NZ Equestrian website for the beginners guide to Para Equestrian.