Intellectually disabled riders welcomed to affiliated dressage champs

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A new dressage competition for horse riders with intellectual disabilities is to be held under the auspices of British Dressage and the FEI in September.

The inaugural RDA Intellectual Disability Dressage Championship event is a partnership between British Dressage and the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA). It will be the first time riders with an Intellectual Disability (ID) have competed with the national governing body for dressage in Britain, and is thought to also be a first for equine sports with the FEI.

“This is a huge step forward for riders with an intellectual disability, who have until now had precious few competitive opportunities,” says RDA Chief Executive Ed Bracher.

“In launching these championships, BD is not only helping to drive change within equestrian but also within the broader spectrum of disability sport, where opportunities for ID athletes are still limited. We are delighted to have been able to build on our strong partnership with BD to support this initiative, and wish all participating riders the very best of luck.”

The championships will take place at Solihull Riding Club in the West Midlands on Saturday, September 1.

Currently, Para Dressage within BD covers only riders with a physical disability. This new invitational championship will be the first time ID riders have been welcomed to affiliated dressage.

More than 60 riders have been invited by BD and the RDA to take part on September 1 after excelling at the RDA regional qualifiers. Three levels of test will be on offer and the riders will be judged by experienced RDA judges.

British Dressage interim para director Julie Frizzell said the championship was huge news for dressage, and “further widened the horizons the joy of horses, riding and competing reaches”.

“Full credit must go to the team at the RDA for helping us bring the Championship to fruition as we couldn’t have done it alone. We share the same values of inclusion and diversity through sport and were determined to provide ID riders with a new aim and pathway to compete.

“Para dressage continues to go from strength to strength and I hope ID dressage will now find a place in our community so riders can achieve their competition aims and fulfil dreams,” Frizzell said.

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