sport

A strong field of PL medallists in Para-dressage

Para-dressage is a dressage sport for athletes with a disability. Performed under the same basic rules known from the sport of dressage. Athletes are divided into gradesaccording to the level of their disability. Like dressage, the para-riders’ championship includes a mandatory program, team competition, and freestyle. Para-dressage is the only equestrian discipline included in the Paralympic Games, where it has been on the program since 1996.

Medalceremony Longines FEI Para Dressage European Championship Freestyle. Tobias Thorning Jørgensen Grad III. Foto: FEI / Liz Gregg

Para-dressage has become increasingly popular in recent years with new nations competing at the top level. The sport is experiencing an influx of riders at all levels. In addition to being a competition sport part of the program at the World Championships in Herning, riding is used for treatment purposes, such asphysiotherapy and compensatory riding.

Classification

To participate in Para-dressage competitions, the rider’s ability is classified. The competitor’s mobility, strength and coordination are assessed in order to establish their Classification Profile. The classification is performed by a physiotherapist specially trained for the task. To be classified, the rider provides a medical diagnostic form, and the classification itself determines which of the 5 grades I-V the rider competes in, as well as which aids the rider may use.

Grade I is for the most physically challenged and Grade V is for the least physically challenged. The classification takes place in the same way throughout the world, to ensure the fairest possible competition, and to enable international competition. After the classification, the tested rider receives an electronic test card, which must be enclosed when registering for the event.

How the World Championships are conducted

The first competition at the FEI World Championships in Herning is the battle for the individual medals in the mandatory program. This will take place on Wednesday the 10th and Thursday the 11th of August for Grade II, IV, V, and Grade I, III. This competition counts as the first qualification for Sunday’s freestyle.

The team competition takes place on Friday and Saturday, where the riders in Grade II, IV, and V ride on Friday, while the Grade I and III riders perform the programs forthe championship on Saturday.

The participating nations form teams of three or four riders, where at least one rider competes in the Grade I, II, or III. Not more than two riders in the same Grade can be in a team. The top-three results in a team make the overall team result. This competition is the second qualification for the final event which is the freestyle.

The eight best riders in each Grade from both competitions, mandatory and team program, qualify for the freestyle.

Paralympic teams in Paris decided in Herning

The home nation Denmark was on fourth place at the Paralympics in Tokyo 2021, beaten by a small margin. This season, they won the team competition at the international competition in Kronenberg and hence is a good bid for a team medal on home soil. Great Britain took gold in Tokyo ahead of the Netherlands and the USA. All three nations are still in a strong position in Herning. In addition to World Championship medals, the qualification for the Paralympics in Paris is up for grabs. The 6 best nations in Herning will qualify for the Paralympics in Paris 2024. France asthe host nation is already rewarded a spot for their team.

Watch out for these true champs

We will be able to see a very strong field in all Grades in Herning because all medallists except one from Paralympics in Tokyo have been nominated for participation in the World Championships.

In Grade I, it’s worth keeping an eye on America’s Rocanne Trunnell, a double gold medallist in Tokyo. In Grade II, the two experienced and successful riders Lee Pearson (GBR) and Pepo Puch (AUT) are always a pleasure to follow, the two became gold and silver medallists in Tokyo. They are challenged by among others Katrine Kristensen (DEN) who is deemed to be a strong contester with Gørklintgård’s Quaton.

In Grade III, the interest naturally gathers around Tobias Thorning Jørgensen (DEN). On his horse Jolene Hill, they won two gold medals at the Paralympics in Tokyo. Another strong contester for the title is Natasha Baker (GBR). Sanne Voets(NED) is extremely successful in her grade IV and she will meet fierce competition from Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) and Manon Claeys (BEL).

In Grade V, interest gathers around Sophie Wells (GBR) as she has numerous achievements on her record. In Tokyo, she was beaten by Michéle George (BEL), and she will without a doubt go for gold at the FEI World Championships in Herning.

/Herning 2022

Remember that you can watch all CSI and CDI classes from Herning 2022 on Zibrasport Equest. Same goes for some sideevents, shownight and interviews.
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