What does the Paralympics stand for?
The Paralympics are Olympic style games for people with impairments. In the word Paralympics, para stands for parallel, meaning equal to, not paraplegic as thought by many people. Since 1988 they have taken place during the same year and in the same venue as the Olympics.
What is the difference between the Paralympics and the Special Olympics?
The difference between the two is subtle, but crucial nonetheless. Indeed, the Special Olympics is for individuals with intellectual disabilities, whereas the Paralympics is generally for athletes with any disability, including physical, and only at an elite level.
Why are the Paralympics important?
The Paralympic Games showcases athletes at the pinnacle of sport, yet is it a reminder that sport at the highest level should be accessible to all people.
Para Dressage is dressage for riders with an eligible permanent physical impairment (a deficiency in or loss of body function or structure) as defined by the FEI Para Equestrian Dressage Classification Manual.
In Para Dressage the athlete’s mobility, strength and coordination are assessed in order to establish their Classification Profile. Athletes with similar functional ability Profiles are grouped into competition Grades. The Grades range from Grade Ia for the most severely impaired, to Grade V for the least impaired. The competition within each Grade is then judged on the skill of the individual competitor on their horse, without regard to the competitor’s impairment.
Para Dressage is parallel to Dressage using the same basics in training, gaits, movements and figures but unlike dressage athletes compete according to their Classification Grade. Parallel to Dressage riders not beginning at the High Performance (HP) Grand Prix level, Para Dressage riders also have to train and build their riding skill level & knowledge before reaching the High Performance level of their Grade.
See the United States Para-Equestrian Association website for more information.