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National Disability Sports Alliance to Host Forum on Judging Dressage Riders With Physical Disabilities

Kingston, RI—January 22, 2003—The National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA), in association with USA Equestrian (USAE), will host a forum on judging dressage riders with physical disabilities at Quiet Oaks Farm in Winter Garden, FL, March 17-19, 2003.

The forum is designed to provide judges with an in-depth review of judging dressage for riders with disabilities. It will include lecture, discussion, and demonstration, as well as practical judging of riders with disabilities.

Open to all USAE judges, the forum will allow for a maximum of 30 participants accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Judges with a dressage “R” rating or above will be given priority and may attend the course free of charge. There is a fee of $50.00 per person for judges at the lower levels and for observers.

Qualified judges who show competency during the practical segment of the forum will be eligible to become International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC) international candidate, provisional, or national level judges.

IPEC Chairwoman Jonquil Solt and IPEC Master Judge Alison Mastin will lead the forum, and all tests will be performed in accordance with IPEC guidelines.

In IPEC classes, riders with disabilities are judged with able-bodied rules, but allowances are given for compensating aids. For example, in an IPEC class, special reins that can be held in one hand would not be penalized.

The NDSA hosted a similar judges’ forum in November 2002 at the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, NJ. Close to 30 judges participated. The forum was a tremendous success, leading to the call for more forums such as the one now planned for March.

The IPEC is the international governing body for equestrian sports for riders with disabilities. It is responsible for international rules, sanctioning of international competitions, and for Paralympic Games and World Championships. For more information about the IPEC, please visit their website at or contact Jonquil Solt by email at

The National Disability Sports Alliance is the national governing body for equestrian sport for riders with disabilities. The non-profit organization is responsible for the development and selection of riders for national championships and international competitions, including World Championships and the Paralympic Games, and provides training, competition and advocacy for riders of all levels with physical disabilities. For more information about NDSA and opportunities to support the programs, please visit our website at or contact Denise Avolio at (914) 949-8166 or

To register for the judging forum, please contact Andrea Ice at USA Equestrian at (859) 225-6977. All other inquiries regarding the course should be directed to Denise Avolio.


National Disability Sports Alliance – Equestrian ~ Fact Sheet ~

WHAT: NDSA Equestrian provides national and international competition opportunities and training for riders with physical disabilities who wish to be competitive, regardless of their functional level or physical disability. Riders are classified by an international system that evaluates functional ability of the rider and allows them to be competitive against those with similar disabilities. There are four classes or “grades” of riders, ranging from those with disabilities that allow them to compete at the walk only, to those who ride tests similar to USA Equestrian's third or fourth level tests.

The primary goal of NDSA Equestrian is to ensure the competitive success of riders with disabilities on a national and international level by providing training, competition and advocacy. Riders of all levels participate in NDSA sponsored training clinics and symposiums, and are provided with competitive opportunities both in this country and abroad. Training and certification is provided for coaches, judges and other officials. NDSA also works closely with USA Equestrian, the United States Equestrian Team and the United States Dressage Federation to provide opportunities for riders with disabilities within the “able-bodied” community.

NDSA: The National Disability Sports Alliance is the national governing body for equestrian sport for riders with disabilities. In this role, NDSA is responsible for the selection, training and administration of teams for World Championships and Paralympic Games.

The National Disability Sports Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that offers sports and education to athletes with physical disabilities in a variety of sports. A dedicated group of volunteers donate their time and expertise at every level from the Board of Directors to the local programming.

NDSA is a community based organization member of the United States Olympic Committee.

Dressage is a rapidly growing national and international sport for riders with disabilities. Many positive steps are happening, including a cooperative agreement between International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (the international governing body of equestrian sport for riders with disabilities) and International Equestrian Federation., and development of a Dispensation Certificate program within USA Equestrian that allows riders with disabilities to compete against their able-bodied peers on a level playing field.

CONTACT: Denise Avolio, NDSA Equestrian Sports Manager, (914) 949-8166 or via email at or

More information, as well as the current calendar of events and latest news, may be found on the NDSA Equestrian website at


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