Endurance GB is launching a new scheme that it hopes will encourage disabled riders to compete in the discipline.
The Para Equestrian Endurance initiative, which was set-up in association with Riding for the Disabled, will see rides introducing para classes and awards for achievement. Emma Miller, chairman of Endurance GB's international committee, says that it will also ensure events are more disabled-friendly.
“The rides will be held in exactly the same way as regular rides, although companion riders will be allowed and organisers will consider the requirements of para riders when arranging facilities and access at rides”, she said.
The enterprise will officially launch at Puddingstone ride in Suffolk on 23 September where there will be an invitation class for Para riders from other disciplines. “We are hoping that some of our para Olympic riders will take part in the event,” said Emma.
In addition, free entry is being offered to para riders wishing to take part in the 10, 20 or 40 mile classes. Accompanying riders, if required, can enter for half the normal price.
Disabled riders are also being offered the opportunity to ride at New Forest Rufus on 14 October. However, riders with a disability don’t need to wait for these events to take part, as a number of para riders already compete successfully alongside able-bodied competitors.
British team member Christine Yeoman has multiple sclerosis, while Tracy Thompson, who has competed in endurance for 20 years, returned to the saddle following an accident which left her paralysed from the waist down.
“Endurance is a sport in which you can take part on a horse of any shape or size, which means that disabled riders can compete on the most suitable horse for them,” said Tracy. “The Para Endurance initiative is a wonderful idea and I hope that many more disabled riders will be encouraged to enjoy the challenge of this unique sport.”
To take part in New Forest Rufus or Puddingstone, or for more information, you can email Emma Miller.