What is Para-Equestrian Sport?

Para refers to parallel to able-bodied sports, designed for the independent rider/driver with permanent, physical, and visual disabilities seeking a competitive track. Athletes may pursue a national or international sport classification which allows them to compete at recognized national and international horse shows in Para-Equestrian dressage or Para-Equestrian driving.

Both sports are governed by USEF (national) and FEI (International) and are conducted in a similar fashion to their conventional counterpart (dressage and combined driving), but with riders divided into different competition sport classes/grades based on their functional abilities. Para-Equestrian dressage is the only equestrian discipline recognized at the Paralympics.

The Paralympic Equestrian Sport Initiative for Veterans is a national initiative designed to support the growth and participation of eligible veterans with disabilities in Para-Equestrian sports (specifically Para-Dressage and Para-Driving). This initiative is coordinated by Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, and is funded by a Federal Adaptive Sports Grant under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation and PATH Int’l,  the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.

Healing Strides of VA is a participating USEF/USPEA International Para-Dressage Centers of Excellence (COE) and is an approved center offering clinics, outreach, and ongoing education to emerging athletes and coaches to develop the sport pipeline.

We do not offer driving at this time.

Pipeline Development Goals Include:

  • Utilizing gold-medal coaching experts to provide Para-Dressage and Para-Driving clinics and symposia at COEs and other select national locations as training, sport classification, and awareness-building opportunities.
  • Providing a National Para-Equestrian Coach Development Program to enhance coaching support of eligible veterans.
  • Creating a strong foundation of Para-Equestrian education through online workshops/webinars.
  • Encouraging Para-Eligible veterans to participate with the VA’s Monthly Assistance Allowance Program to fund training and competition.
  • Coordinating with veteran-oriented competitions and games to promote inclusion of Para-Equestrian sports.

For more information please call 540.334.5825

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