It’s easy to come up with excuses for not riding. Maybe the weather’s not quite right. Perhaps I’m not feeling up to snuff today. Then I look at something like this Para Equestrian Dressage video, and I gain a renewed inspiration. Seeing riders overcoming real-life challenges pretty much blows away my own meager excuses.
What is Para Equestrian Dressage?
Para-Equestrian Dressage is similar to standard dressage, although it is designed for individuals with various physical or visual impairments. FEI rules apply to competitions, although certain accommodations may be made for participants, based on their levels of impairment. Riders may use one hand, if needed. Some have held the reins in their teeth. Rubber bands, connecting rein bars, and other assistive riding devices are permitted.
Participants are classified in various grades for competitions, in which they perform pre-established and musical freestyle patterns (much like standard dressage).
Para-Equestrian Dressage is the only equestrian discipline in the International Paralympic Games, as it has been for two decades. Paralympics does not refer to paralysis, per se. The name comes from the fact that these events occur alongside, or parallel to, the general Olympic Games. The same principle holds for Para Equestrian Dressage.
Take a look at this YouTube video, published today by Deloitte US, presenting sponsor of both the US Para-Equestrian Dressage Team and the US Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. The team is training now for the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
I think I will saddle up tomorrow, kick MS to the curb, and ride that horse again. We’re not aiming for any big-deal competition, but we’re ready to play anyway. Can I get an Amen?
Video screenshot – fair use