Hartpury Festival of Dressage
CDI3*, CPDI3* and Premier League
July 3rd - 7th 2013
Tel 01452 702355 or 01452 702125
History of Para Dressage Sport
Riders with disabilities have been competing at International level since the 1970s, with inaugural events taking place in Scandinavia and Great Britain. The first World Championship was held in Sweden in 1987 however it was not until 1996 in Atlanta that Dressage became a Paralympic Sport. At this time there were only sixteen competing nations. It was vital that a minimum of twenty-four teams participated at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 to enable it to continue as a Paralympic discipline. In total seventy-two competitors from thirty-four nations competed in Sydney which further increased to thirty-eight nations at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The FEI World Para Dressage Championships in 2007 were held at Hartpury College. The Championships were a qualifier for the Beijing Paralympics in 2008. And the rest is history Great Britain boasts medals from Sydney and Beijing, our Para athletes have become household names alongside their able bodied counterparts.
The British Para-equestrian dressage team are regarded as the best in the world having won team gold at every Paralympics, World and European Championship since the sport began, as well as racking up impressive individual medal tallies. GB continues to go from strength to strength and dominated at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, bringing home ten medals: four individual gold, five individual silver and team gold, making it Britain's most successful games ever. In 2009, they once again displayed their prowess when they brought home another 9 medals including another team gold at the European Championships in Kristiansand, Norway
Para Dressage Riders
All riders are graded according to their physical impairment to provide meaningful competition. The athlete’s impairment is classified, allowing riders with similar levels of impairment to be grouped into Grades in which they compete together. The level of complexity of the tests varies according to the grade the rider competes at. There are five grades, with Grade I being for the more severely impaired riders and Grade IV being for the least impaired.
The riders in Grades I and II are usually wheelchair users. Grade III and IV riders have impairment of eyesight or impairment of one or two limbs.
For the team competiton, a nation must include at least one rider from Grade Ia, Ib or II. Of the four riders who make up a team, no more than three can be from the same grade.
Hartpury College has traditionally run a very successful annual Festival of Dressage Competition. This combines an International able-bodied dressage with a gala evening on Saturday, to include a Grand Prix Freestyle. The weeks competition will culminate with the FEI CDI Grand Prix Special on the Sunday.
In previous years entries to the CDI3* have included some of the top international riders and 2012 saw Olympians Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester taking part as their final competition before London 2012.
Charlotte's performance at the 2012 Gala Evening will be remembered by many as she performed her freestyle test for the first time, setting a new British record in the process.
Let's hope 2013 brings us more stunning and memorable performances.
A Guide to basic Dressage
Some people are intimidated by dressage, perceiving it as difficult, but it is simply about the correct training of horses. Any horse, from New Forest to Thoroughbred, can do well and this basic training is of benefit whether you want to hack or event.
The cavalry originally developed dressage, which is a French term meaning training, to have the edge in combat. In the 17th and 18th centuries, dressage was the fashionable thing to do and nobility used to put on displays like those still seen at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
In the 20th century, dressage became the competitive sport it is today. The first organisation to run the discipline in Britain was founded in 1961 as part of the British Horse Society (BHS). The BHS Dressage Group had 123 members and held eight competitions in its first year.
British Dressage Ltd was set up in January 1998 to take over as the governing body of the sport. British Dressage now has more than 14,000 members, 10,000 registered horses and run 2,000 days of competition per year, which makes dressage the fastest growing Olympic equestrian discipline.
Many volunteers help to run the competition days, scorers, stewards, runners (who collect test sheets from the judges and take them to the secretary’s office), writers (who write down the judge’s comments) and show secretaries. Smooth running of competitions would not be possible without these volunteers who do it for the love of the sport, if you wish to become involved, please contact the Events Office.