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Getting Classified

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  • Getting Classified

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone could give me some more information on being classified as a Para-Equestrian.

    Three years ago I broke my back resulting in permanent spinal cord damage that left me with no feeling/muscle control in my left leg from mid-calf down and decreased feeling and muscle control in my right leg. I have finally got back into recognized showing in Dressage and for the first time, I have had judges comment on my "overactive" lower legs (one judge said I kicked excessively ). I had never had a judge comment one way or the other at the few schooling shows I had attended.

    I doesn't bother me overmuch, I know why my legs are overactive, but I hate to lose points on rider position or have a judge think I am kicking my poor horse excessively. He, by the by is so wonderful, he does tolerate my excessive leg movement and usually ignores most of it

    So I called at the beginning of week to the number provided by the USDF on their FAQ about para equestrian page to find out about being classified. Someone is supposed to email me a list of classifiers, but I haven't heard anything yet.

    Just curious as to what the process is since the website is rather vague and I haven't heard back from the "mysterious" email person :lol yet

    Also, how long to dispensation certificates take to get once you start the process? Because my horse does ignore my leg quite a bit I am somewhat reliant on my whip to enforce my leg cues and you are not permitted to carry one at the Regional Championships, this is the first year I will be attending Regionals and I would hate to get down there and totally blow my test because he didn't recognize my canter cue as different from my normal leg movement. (And yes, I am doing a lot of work with my seat, but both of us are a work in progess, its taken us 3 years to get to this point )

    Thanks for your help and consideration

  • #2
    Hi, you should also be able to get a list of Classifiers from the USEF, on the para-equestrian page. Once you get a list hopefully there is one in the area you live in and you make an appointment with them and then they evaluate your ability. The classifiers are physical therepasists. Then they send the information in and a comittee reviews it and it goes from there, shouldn't take more then a month or 2 from the time of classification to get your certificate.

    So if you don't hear soon call the USEF.

    Diane Kastama


    • #3
      Most of the para athletes that I know compete against able bodied riders on an equal basis for everything except the qualifiers for the para olympics and such.

      I trained a horse for a person with one hand for the para's and all my horses are trained to go off a whip instead of a leg due to similar weakness I have to yours, also result of #spine and nerve damage. But I do not show anymore and am not a qualified para-rider.

      Good luck with getting your status and congrats on getting back in the saddle so well!
      "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


      • #4
        To clarify, are you trying to get classified before this year's championships, so you can compete there with a whip? I'm not positive, but I've gotten the impression that the process takes a bit of time ...
        When you call back, let them know the timeframe you are trying to work within and hopefully they'll expedite the process (or at least get off their duffs and send you the appropriate e-mail) or they'll let you know that it won't happen in time for this year so you can start planning for next.
        Good luck!
        I evented just for the Halibut.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for all the info everyone!

          I would just like to get classified as quickly as possible. If it happens before we show up at regionals, awesome, if not, thats okay too.

          The way I understood the rules, I don't need to be classified in order to get a dispensation certificate that would allow me to carry a whip in championship classes (although I may be wrong!). So I see it as two different processes, one to get a dispensation certificate and one to get classified.

          I am competing in regular dressage classes against "able-bodied" riders. I was just hoping that being classified would be a way of informing the judge that my legs aren't really just bouncing excessively because I can't ride :lol

          There is also this from the USDF FAQ page: "if you do not need a dispensation aide, to include a copy of a doctor’s letter stating your permanent disability and that you do not need a dispensation."

          Which I am also pursuing because for a regular horse show this is really all I need, since I don't have any special equipment/aides. But that process is taking a while too -I have a letter sent to the Dr. that saw me in the hospital/did my surgeries and am waiting to hear back.

          So anyways, thanks for the info and I am going to try and pursue it a bit more aggressively, I have until November before Regionals and I probably won't have anything for my show next weekend or for my show in September, but either way it should still be fun!