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Getting started

For further information on competing, or to request a free booklet to help get you started, contact Natasha tel: 02477 087803

To start competing in BD Para Competetions, you will first need to be classified by a specialist physiotherapist, to decide which class you can compete in. There are five grades, from Grade I, the most impaired, to Grade V, the least impaired – this means you can compete on equal terms against other disabled riders, or you can take part in able-bodied classes if you choose. Contact Felicity Towers at the British Equestrian Federation for more information about classification on 02476 698871 or
send her an email


To view the Para-Equestrian National Classification Policy, click here



For BD able-bodied competetions, Para-equestrian riders are to seek dispesation from the BD Para Officer (Natasha Pearce) if they wish to use compensating aids. The riders current BEF/FEI classification cards must be submitted, together with a medical record when applying for dispensation. A copy of the BD formal dispensatioon letter must be sent with the entry to the competetion organiser. It is the riders responsibility to ensure it is passed to the judge on the day. A copy of the dispensation is to be carried by the rider in case of any query. Any rider not currently classified should contact the BD Para Officer (Natasha Pearce)


Para-equestrian dressage training is increasingly being organised alongside mainstream regional training, and usually costs £5-20 per session. To find out what is available in your area, speak to the Regional Development Officer (RDO) or para representative in your area.


To compete in a British Dressage Para Competetion, you and your horse would need to be a minimum of a Club Member (£45 for the year) to get started and competeting in the Bronze Rider group tests. If a rider then wishes to attend a para championship and or move up to the Silver/Gold Rider Group tests, horse and rider have to be full members of British Dressage.


Para-equestrian dressage tests (for the silver and Gold Rider Groups) can be downloaded for free from the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) website. The new 2013 Tests will be used from 1st April 2013 in all competitions. All Intro (for the bronze Rider Groups) Tests 3,10,21,31 & 41 can be downloaded from the Para National Competitions page

Para Coaches Pathway

We now have in place a Para Coaches Pathway that produces a list of BD recognised Para Trainers. For further details about the Pathway please contact Natasha  to view the Para Coaches Pathway click here.

Para Judge Pathway

If you are a list 3 judge or above you can now become a para judge by following the Para Judge PathwayAs our para community continues to grow, we really do need more para judges to support this growth, and following this pathway could not be simpler. 

Podium Potential Pathway

The Podium Potential Pathway is supported by both UK Sport and Sport England and has been brought into the performance pathway. The programme looks to identify, support and develop athletes who demonstrate the potential to progress to Podium Potential in the future, by providing education to develop the foundation skills required for future performance.

The two year programme provides selected riders with the opportunity to have access to top equestrian specialists including: international coaches, human sport science and medicine practitioners (physiotherapists and psychologists) and equine sport science and medicine practitioners (farriers, saddlers, vets and equine physiotherapists) via a series of squad training sessions.

For those athletes within Podium Potential Pathway who achieve the top level performance standard, may be eligible for an Athlete Performance Award from UK Sport, which would give them access to the wider programme support available (as received through Podium Potential squads).

Please note, this programme was previously referred to as the Excel Talent Programme.

For Further information on this pathway please contact Georgie Wheeler at the BEF.

BEF Para Equestrian Entry Programme

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), British Dressage (BD) and British Equestrian Federation (BEF) are together, bringing Regional Para Dressage training to your local RDA centre!

This new training initiative supported by funding from Sport England will offer up to 2 training days a year in five England regions and will be taken by top International coaches. The aim of this initiative is to encourage young riders to make the next steps towards competing in British Dressage (BD) Para Equestrian competitions and entry onto the talent pathway. This programme will assist these riders to move onto the more advanced talent pathway schemes leading to the BEF Excel Talent programme. These regional training sessions will take place in R.D.A centres listed below that are able to host the training days and will offer an opportunity for riders from their own group and local groups to ride on these training days

You can find out more here

Intro Para-Equestrian Competitions

This competition series has been introduce to help riders to ‘bridge the gap’ between competing at Riding for the Disabled dressage competitions and affiliated British Dressage competitions. The aim is to break down some of the perceived barriers that stop riders starting in what is now one of the best competition pathways in the World. The first steps are often the most difficult ones to take and the initiative will help riders to take those steps in to the British Dressage competition structure.


Riders do not have to be members of British Dressage to compete at these shows, but are encouraged to become British Dressage Associate members, which is free to join, as this means any results and scores achieved at these competitions will be listed on the British Dressage database.


See the regional webpages for

more information