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The first equestrian competitions were held in England and Scandinavian countries in the 1970s. The sport only made its debut in the Paralympic Games in New York and Stoke Mandeville in 1984. However, as a result of not being very popular, the sport was left out of the official programme until the 1996 Games in Atlanta.  

The sport has been practiced in Brazil since 2002. The country’s first spot to take place at an edition of the Paralympics was secured by Marcos Fernandes Alves, known as Joca.  He actually won two bronze medals in Beijing 2008.

Today, Paralympic equestrian is practiced in around 40 countries and encompasses several types of disabilities. Dressage is in fact, the only equestrian event held at the Games. Men and women compete side by side and medals are also awarded to the horses. There are individual and team events.


Class I
Wheelchair users with little or no upper body balance, or with four disabled limbs

Class II
Wheelchair users or athletes with severe disability involving the trunk or unilateral impairment

Class III
Athletes able to walk without support, with moderate unilateral impairment; athletes with total visual impairment in both eyes

Class IV
Athletes with disability in one or more limbs or some degree of visual impairment


Accessibility on the track

In order to offer athletes more safety, in Paralympic equestrian events, the track needs to be adapted in relation to the conventional version of the sport. For example, the sand is compacted to making moving around easier. In addition, sound signals are also used to guide visually impaired athletes. There are also access ramps at the venue to aid physically disabled athletes.

See also

Brazilian Equestrian Federation (CBH)

International Equestrian Federation (FEI)