Disability Sports Alliance Conducts Successful Forum on Judging Dressage
Riders With Physical Disabilities
RINovember 13, 2002The United States Equestrian Team
(USET) Olympic Training Center in Gladstone played host to a forum
on judging Dressage riders with physical disabilities, November
1-3. The forum was conducted by the National Disability Sports Alliance
(NDSA) in association with USA Equestrian (USAE).
forum was designed to promote a better awareness of the International
Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC) dressage tests and classes
through education. It was open to all USAE judges on the roster.
Judges with an r or above participated free of charge,
while there was a nominal fee for judges at the lower levels. Close
to 30 judges participated making the forum a tremendous success.
moderator of the forum was Inger Bryant of England, a member of
the IPEC Committee and an international judge. Bryant is deeply
involved with the disabled rider program in England and feels the
United States needs a boost in promoting the sport.
are over 25,000 riders with disabilities competing in England compared
to only 70 active participants in the US, said Bryant The
judges who were at the forum are already good able-bodied judges,
they only need to know the differences to make themselves able to
judge IPEC classes.
IPEC classes, the 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.
read the scores aloud as the riders negotiated a test, and then
reviewed the test afterwards. Other times the judges scored the
riders on their own and then discussed the test.
coming here they really didnt know what to expect, said
Bryant. After each ride wed discuss the movements and
marks and give the judges a foundation so that they can then become
able to do it on their own.
Avolio, Equestrian Sports Manager for NDSA, felt the forum was the
type of program that is integral to the future of the sport.
forum was helpful on so many levels, said Avolio. The
judges here not only learned more about the sport, but also got
to see how good the riders are. They can now spread the word to
show managers across the country and encourage them to hold more
of our classes during their shows for able-bodies riders.
judges were not the only ones to reap rewards. The ten advanced
level riders that were invited to participate in the forum benefited
not only from being exposed to the judges, but also from a special
training session earlier in the week with Jerry Schwartz and Missy
Ransehousen, the trainers of NDSA national and international teams.
Chris Lipe, 18, of Atlanta, GA was one of the riders who participated
in the clinic. Lipe was the Individual Gold Medalist at the 2001
North American Young Riders Championships Mills Team Challenge
where riders with disabilities competed. He was happy to take part
in the clinic, but found it a little overwhelming.
was a little intimidating to have 40 judges pick you apart, but
it was an awesome learning experience, said Lipe. Im
very grateful that they took the time to come. It shows they care
and want to work with us.
of the top judges in the country who were present included Jessica
Ransehousen, USET Vice President of Dressage, who felt the forum
was a most worthwhile endeavor.
really feel the movement needs some support, said Ransehousen.
In order to make riding as good as possible, you need good
judges. The better the judges, the stronger the pressure will be
on riders to excel.
other purpose of the forum was to encourage horse show managers
to include a division for riders with disabilities in their events.
In the past, managers were reluctant to hold IPEC classes because
of their unfamiliarity with them and their possible impact on their
competitions. For that reason, Klaus Fraessdorf, manager of several
Dressage shows in Florida, felt it was important for him to attend
my own benefit, the education I am getting here as manager, judge
and TD helps me to learn what to look for and compare the standards,
said Fraessdorf. The riders need to learn to ride correctly
so as not to receive sympathy points and they need to be judged
fairly and not receive handouts. This forum will help me want to
push for IPEC classes in our shows now.
NDSA 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 the Paralympic Games,
and provides training, competition and advocacy for riders of all
levels with physical disabilities. For more information about the
NDSA and opportunities to support the programs, please contact Denise
Avolio at (914) 949-8166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.