|Rebecca Hart, shown here at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with Norteassa, will be defending her national title at this week’s para-dressage championships. Photo: Kitson Jazynka|
Last year, para-equestrian dressage found a place in the spotlight when it was
featured for the first time as part of the FEI World Equestrian Games. Para-equestrian
riders are again featured in a high-profile event with the Para-Equestrian Dressage
National Championships being held in conjunction with the 2011 New England Dressage
Association Fall Festival of Dressage and USDF Region 8 Championships.
continue through Sunday, September 18.
Para-Equestrian competition is open to riders with physical disabilities. Riders
compete in five different grades—Ia through IV—based on the degree of their
disability. Grade 1a tests are walk only while competitors in Grade IV are permitted
to use elements up to Prix St. George level in their freestyles.
Last year’s national championship was a qualifying event for the WEG. Many of the
U.S. team members from the 2010 WEG will be competing this weekend, including veteran
competitor Rebecca Hart, who earned a championship with Karzan and reserve champion
with Norteassa at the 2010 national championships.
Although not an official qualifying event, the FEI-level competition is an
important preparation for horses and riders aiming to qualify for the 2012 Paralympics