Vision Championships Bring Challenging Dressage Competition
to United States
NYJune 3, 2002Top equestrians from 10 countries will
arrive in New York this summer for an international dressage championship
that will feature riders with physical disabilities competing
on borrowed horses after mere hours of training together.
Inner Vision Championships for Riders with a Disability will include
an unprecedented international competition for blind or visually
impaired riders. Challenging enough, these gifted riders will
have only three days to train with horses assigned to them by
a "draw" on July 9. Training sessions for the competitors
will be held July 9-11, followed by a warm-up competition on July
12 and Championship Finals on July 13.
are thrilled that we are able to host this caliber of international
competition for riders with physical disabilities," said
Denise I. Avolio, chairman of the organizing committee. "Without
doubt, we will be impressed with the level of riding by these
gifted equestrians. I expect we will also be in awe and inspired
by their abilities."
Inner Vision Championships, approved and recognized by the International
Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC), will bring together riders
from Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Israel,
Japan, Portugal, Russia and the United States to compete in team
and individual events. A highlight will be the compulsory freestyle
competition featuring individual tests designed by each rider
and set to music, much like freestyle figure-skating competitions.
championship competition will begin at 8:00 a.m., Saturday, July
13, followed by musical freestyle competition at 1:00 p.m. The
five-day event takes place at Willow Tree Farm at Caumsett State
Historic Park in Huntington, NY. The public is invited and admission
the tests they ride are written specifically for riders with disabilities,
the blind or visually impaired riders will maneuver their mounts
through dressage tests that include movements equal to USA Equestrian
fourth level tests for sighted riders.
only concession to the riders visual disabilities is the
use of "living letters," trained volunteers who call
out their assigned letter so that the riders are able to visualize
where they are in the dressage arena. However, unlike sighted
riders who train for years on familiar horses, these visually
impaired competitors will ride horses borrowed from local or regional
horse owners and allocated through a draw.
if theyre not challenged enough by their vision problems,
these riders have less than a week to practice and become familiar
with their horses," Avolio said. "Borrowed horses are
often used because the sport is still young, and riders dont
yet have the financial support needed to bring their own horses
to international competitions. It would be prohibitively expensive
for countries to send teams if they had to ship horses abroad
the Inner Vision Championships, nations were invited to enter
a maximum of four riders. Consistent with IPEC rules, competitive
levels range from novice to Grade IV. Medals will be awarded following
the warm-up, individual championship, freestyle to music and team
competition within each grade. A High Score Award will be given
to the equestrian from any grade who scores the highest percentage
score on his or her individual championship test.
following tests and competitions are offered:
Grade I Warm-Up - Test 8
Individual Championship Test 9
Freestyle to Music
· Grade II Warm-Up - Test 25
Individual Championship Test 26
Freestyle to Music
· Grade III Warm-Up - Test 35
Individual Championship Test 36
Freestyle to Music
· Grade IV Warm-Up Test 51
Individual Championship Test 53
Freestyle to Music
championships will be awarded in each division by calculating
the combined percentage scores of the Individual Championship
and Freestyle to Music tests. A High Score Award will be given
to the blind or visually impaired equestrian from any grade who
scores the highest percentage score on his or her individual championship
test. Awards presentation will follow the competition.
Inner Vision Championships are a sign of the increasing popularity
of competitions for riders with a disability. More horse
sport organizations are initiating competitions for riders with
disabilities, Avolio said.
first-of-its-kind competition, the Inner Vision Championships
is co-hosted by the National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA)
and Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc. Both are 501(c)3 not-for-profit
is recognized as the national governing body for equestrian sport
for riders with disabilities. NDSA is responsible for the development
and selection of riders for national championship and international
competitions, including the Paralympic Games, and provides training,
competition and advocacy for riders with physical disabilities.
Equestrian Inc. is a therapeutic riding program located in Huntington,
NY, that provides therapeutic, recreational and competitive horseback
riding opportunities for people with physical, emotional and cognitive
more information on the Championships, contact Denise Avolio at
(914) 949-8166 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Lisa A. Gatti, competition manager, at (631) 427-6105 or email@example.com.
website address for the Inner Vision Championships is www.pal-o-mine.org.
Island Expressway Exit 49 North, or Northern State Parkway Exit
40 North, to Route 110.
Proceed on Route 110 North, through the town of Huntington to
Northern Blvd. (Route 25A).
Make a left turn onto Route 25A.
At the third traffic light make a right turn on to West Neck Road.
Follow for approximately 5 miles, over causeway. (Note: speed
limit is enforced very strictly in this area!)
Turn left at entrance to Caumsett State Park.
Proceed to Security Booth and follow signs to stables