In order to be Classified, riders must be medically diagnosed as having a permanent impairment that can be measured objectively by a Physiotherapist or Medical Doctor trained in the Classification System. This Classification System is designed to enable disabled riders to compete on equal terms against each other. To start competing in British Dressage Para-Equestrian competitions, you will need to be Classified (see overview below) to determine which grade you can compete in. There are Five Grades; from 1a, the most impaired; to IV, the least impaired.
The Classification System can only test physical conditions and the assessment takes place off the horse and in a clinical setting. The Classifier will ask the rider to perform various tests which relate to co-ordination, muscle testing and joint range. The rider is given a chance to practice the movements several times and then for testing asked to repeat the movements several times slowly and then as quickly as they are able. The Classifier will then input on the profile form a mark for each test performed and from the tests conducted a Profile number and Grade can be achieved.
Overview of the Classification Procedure:
This flow chart should be read in conjunction with the National Classification Policy
All classification forms need to be completed and returned to Sarah Hadley at the RDA National Office. Documentation is then sent to the National Classification Panel (NCP) who advises if your medical condition means you are eligible for Classification. A list of eligible medical conditions can be found in the FEI Classification Manual (4th Edition 2015) and applicants should refer to this before submitting an application. If the documentation is not complete or the required medical evidence is not supplied, the NCP will not be able to assess your application.
If the NCP agree your medical condition means you are eligible for Classification, you will either be given the contact details of a Classifier in your area to arrange an appointment which is convenient for you both or if you are required to be assessed by two Classifiers you will be invited to attend a Regional Classification Day.
Once you have been assessed by the Classifier/s the paperwork is sent directly back to RDA who will write to you to confirm your Profile and Grade.
If your Profile puts you within one of the five eligible Grades you are now able to compete at RDA/ British Dressage Para-Equestrian competitions.