Para-Equestrian at the London 2012 Paralympic Games
At the Paralympic Games, athletes compete in three Dressage tests: a Team Test (with three to four riders per team), an Individual Championship Test, and a Freestyle Test, for which athletes choose their own movements and music. Through the tests, horse and rider must be in harmony, and the overall picture must be of lightness and rhythm.
The results of the Team and Individual Championship Tests are then added together to make the Team score, with the best three scores of a team of four counting. Individual medals are also awarded on the merit of both the Individual Championship Test and the Freestyle Test. All riders, whether competing in a team or not, may ride in the Team Test.
The athletes are classified across five grades to minimise the impact each impairment has on the outcome of competition.
Grade Ia is for athletes whose impairment has the greatest impact on their ability to ride, through to Grade IV for athletes whose impairment has the least impact on their ability to ride.
These grades ensure that the tests can be judged on the skill of the rider, regardless of their disability. Riders may use permitted assistive devices such as dressage crops, connecting rein bars and the like; visually impaired riders are permitted to use ‘callers’ to help them navigate around the arena.
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