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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, 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.

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.

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.


Initially you may not need to become a member of British Dressage to compete, for example, if you enter restricted classes you can do so as a non-member with a class ticket. However if you wish to start climbing the ranks you will need to join as a member.

Para-equestrian dressage tests 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. Tests 3,10,21,31 & 41 can be downloaded from the Para National Competitions page.

For details of local Para Judge training please contact your local RDO or Para Rep.

BEF Talent Excel Programme

The Excel Talent Programme aims to produce a pool of up and coming talented young riders across the England Regions who are not currently on the BEF's World Class Programme.

Now in its third year, the Programme has been developed to extend the rider talent pathway below the UK Sport funded World Class Programme, to identify and nurture pool of up and coming riders who have the potential to go on and win medals in the future. It provides support to selected riders from the three Olympic and one Paralympic equestrian disciplines (dressage, eventing, showjumping and para-equestrian dressage).

Since its launch in 2011, the Excel Talent Programme has supported 48 riders, with 6 riders progressing to the World Class Development Programme during the 2012 intake. You can find more out about the programme here.

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.