Paralympic Equestrian

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Paralympic Equestrian
Paralympic Equestrian

© London 2012

One of London's oldest parks welcomes the Paralympic equestrian programme with 11 medal events based around two Dressage tests, which include a Championship set-movement test and a Freestyle test where athletes choose their own movements and music.

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What is Paralympic Equestrian?


Para-Equestrian Dressage has grown in popularity all round the world since being developed in the early 70s, with more than 40 countries now competing on a regular basis. There are 11 medal events based around two Dressage tests, which include a Championship set-movement test and a Freestyle test where athletes choose their own movements and music. As well as individual competitions, there is a Team event for three to four athletes per team. There is a classification system which splits athletes across five grades according to their disabilities; the complexity of the movements that each rider performs with their horses is determined by their grade.


Who won Paralympic Equestrian gold in Beijing in 2008?


70 athletes took part in the Beijing Paralympics. Great Britain topped the leader board scooping 5 golds and 5 silvers. Germany came in a close second taking home 6 medals. Norway, Canada and Denmark also all had successful runs.


Do ParalympicsGB have a chance of winning any Equestrian medals?


Great Britain is a leading figure in the Equestrian Paralympic field, bringing home the team title each Games since the introduction of equestrian events to the Paralympics in Sydney 12 years ago. At the last Games in Beijing, the GB team won an impressive 10 medals. Lee Pearson, riding his horse Gentleman for a second successive Games, will be hoping to add to his already impressive collection - he has won nine golds in three Paralympic appearances winning triple equestrian gold at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Games. The pressure is on for the five-strong equestrian team which is made up of newcomers Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells who join experienced Paralympians Pearson, Sophie Christiansen, who won the team and individual gold medals in Beijing, and Athens double gold medallist Deborah Criddle. Together they have been set a testing target of a minimum of seven medals from ten individual events. Their biggest threat could come from the German team, who are ranked second. Denmark have also been making marked improvements in recent years.


Where will the Paralympic Equestrian competitions take place?


One of London's oldest Royal Parks, Greenwich Park will stage the Paralympic equestrian events. The World Heritage site dates back to 1433 and is situated on the River Thames. A temporary arena was built on the 183 acre grounds and includes a purpose-made platform held above the ground with the strength of more than 2,000 pillars. Nearby Greenwich is the famous O2 Arena (or 'North Greenwich Arena' as it was named for Olympic purposes), which now offers visitors the fascinating experience of being able to walk across the top of the uniquely-designed structure - Up At The O2 promises to be an exhilarating experience but one that will offer superb views of the capital. And right next to that is the brand new Emirates Air Line cable car, carrying passengers across the Thames from the Greenwich Peninsula to Royal Victoria Docks. For hotels nearby Greenwich Park, try the hotel deals service. Also, take a look at our superb map of the London Paralympics.


When is the Paralympic Equestrian?


The Equestrian programme takes place from Thursday 30th August until Tuesday 4th September, with medal events on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. See our Paralympics Day-by-Day Guide for the full schedule of events.


How do I get to Paralympic Equestrian at Greenwich Park?


Greenwich, Blackheath and Maze Hill are all good stations to head for and are all within only between 10 and 20 minutes walk. Alternatively, you can have a go on the new Emirates Air Line, just up the road in North Greenwich.


How do I get tickets to the Paralympic Equestrian?


Tickets can be purchased from More than 2.1 million of the 2.5 million available tickets have already been sold - organisers are claiming this could be the first Paralympics to sell out in the 52 year history of the Games. Twitter users could start following @2012TicketAlert, an unofficial feed set up during the Olympics which runs a check on the official site every three minutes and tweets every time a ticket becomes available.


What are the disability divisions for Paralympic Equestrian sports?


All disability groups can take part in Equestrian sports, visually impaired riders are allowed to use a ‘caller’ who will help them navigate the arena.  The athletes are grouped according to their functional ability. There are four grades: Grade 1 is for seriously disabled riders with spinal injuries and cerebral palsy. Grade 2 features competitors with reasonable balance, possibly amputees. Grade 3 includes visually impaired athletes and riders with good leg movement, balance and coordination. Grade 4 is for athletes who are impaired (visually or leg/arm function) but are able to walk independently.


When did Equestrian sports appear in the Paralympics?


Equestrian events first arrived on the Paralympic programme in 1984 at the New York Games. They have been a permanent fixture at the Games since Atlanta in 1996.





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