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Progress for para-equestrian showjumping

May 15, 2009

The British Para Show Jumping Association has made another step towards recognition of the sport and inclusion in the Paralympic Games.

The BPSJA has now become a part of the British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) and the British Equine Federation (BEF) - a move necessary for it to be recognised as a Paralympic sport.

Currently, dressage is the only equestrian sport performed at Paralympic events.

The British Para Show Jumping Association was formed in 2007 by a handful of dedicated disabled riders to organise shows and demonstrations and to promote the skill and unison of horse and rider, with the ultimate aim of becoming a Paralympic discipline.

To this end a committee has been formed, including chairman Michael Mac, Jonquil Solt OBE, Jane Goldsmith, Chris Meaden, Jacky Wood, Doug Smith of the RDA, Tony Bott, Karen Bostok and Andy Lawes, Chairman of the BPSJA.

The Para Equestrian Jumping committee has formulated and agreed new rules in Britain, which have been passed to the FEI for consultation with other nations. "Once this is complete it will give a uniform platform for all nations to work with, and enable European championships to take place, ready for inclusion in the Paralympics," said BPSJA chairman Andy Lawes. "Our hope is that Para Equestrian Jumping could be included in 2016 Paralympic games."

The history of the sport goes back more than 10 years, with the French holding a dozen or so events every year, culminating in a championships event. Riders have all forms of disabilities from being Hemiplegic, arms or legs missing, to being completely blind.

"Here in the UK we have been involved in Para Show Jumping for over five years. Most of the Para Jumpers are dedicated amateurs with a desire to compete and win," Lawes said.

"Notably, English riders do very well and usually come back with ribbons and trophies. Our team is strong and is all self funded at the moment. The last six visits to France has produced an English winner on each occasion."

The BPSJA is organising two affiliated shows in Britain this year; the first is a Para Equestrian Show at Pachesham on June 14, in association with British Para Dressage. The second show is on August 9 at Arena UK. Next year, the BSJA is to hold a Para Show Jumping Championship with the final at the BSJA Scope (Championship) Festival. Initially, for 2009 there will be a Points Championship only where riders can gain points at any affiliated show, or the two Para Equestrian shows planned for this summer.

 

 

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