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United States Riders With Disabilities to Compete at 2003 I.P.E.C. Dressage World Championships

Kingston, RI—May 12, 2003—The United States will send a team to compete in the fifth International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (I.P.E.C.) Dressage World Championships, September 2-7, 2003 in Moorseles, Belgium.

More than 125 riders with a disability from 35 countries are expected to compete at the four-day Championships. Participants will compete in Individual Championship tests and Musical Freestyles as well as a Team test. Competitions will be open to riders at all four recognized Grades of physical disability.

For the first time in the history of the I.P.E.C., riders will be competing on “own horses,” those that are leased or borrowed by the teams and individuals competing. There will not be a draw for horses to be provided by the competition, as was previously done at the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games and all past World Championships. This change will dramatically increase the level and quality of international competition for riders with disabilities.

“The World Championships are the major focus of 2003 for our country’s riders with physical disabilities,” said Denise Avolio, Equestrian Program Manager for the National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA), the organization that coordinates activities for riders with physical disabilities. “Recent years have seen increased participation and increased programs for our riders and we are indebted to all who support our efforts with financial contributions. Without the support of these generous individuals, our riders would not be able to take advantage of many opportunities.”

In addition to the prestige of winning at such a high-level competition, top-finishing teams and individuals will earn places for their country’s athletes to participate in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

The National Disability Sports Alliance is the national governing body for equestrian sport for equestrian athletes 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




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