New horizons for riders with an Intellectual Disability
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In an exciting partnership, British Dressage (BD) and Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) are delighted to announce the inaugural RDA Intellectual Disability Dressage Championships in association with BD.
Set to take place at Solihull Riding Club in the West Midlands on Saturday 1 September, the Championships are an important milestone as they mark the first time riders with an Intellectual Disability (ID) have competed with the National Governing Body for dressage in the UK, and possibly the first time for any equine sport under the auspices of the International Equestrian Federation.
“This is a huge step forward for riders with an intellectual disability, who have until now had precious few competitive opportunities,” says RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher. “In launching these Championships, BD is not only helping to drive change within equestrian but also within the broader spectrum of disability sport, where opportunities for ID athletes are still limited. We are delighted to have been able to build on our strong partnership with BD to support this initiative, and wish all participating riders the very best of luck.”
Currently, Para Dressage within BD covers only riders with a physical disability and this new invitational championship will be the first time ID riders have been welcomed to affiliated dressage.
Over 60 statemented riders have been invited by BD and the RDA to take part on 1 September after excelling at the RDA regional qualifiers. Three levels of test will be on offer and the riders will be judged by experienced RDA judges.
Interim Para Director for British Dressage Julie Frizzell commented; “This is huge news for dressage and further widens the horizons the joy of horses, riding and competing reaches. Full credit must go to the team at the RDA for helping us bring the Championship to fruition as we couldn’t have done it alone. We share the same values of inclusion and diversity through sport and were determined to provide ID riders with a new aim and pathway to compete. Para dressage continues to go from strength to strength and I hope ID dressage will now find a place in our community so riders can achieve their competition aims and fulfil dreams.”
Rider Matt Dalley (pictured) welcomed the annoucement; "“That’s fantastic news. Brilliant that RDA and BD are working together to create more opportunities for ID riders. I’m really excited to see RDA ID riders taking part in this Championship at Solihull alongside all the other Para Dressage Riders. Come on ID riders – lets show everyone that its what we can do that counts!”