Equestrian Canada (EC) would like to provide the equestrian community and competitors in all disciplines with updates regarding compensating aids at EC sanctioned competitions.

Ongoing Commitment to Expand Equestrian Para Sport Framework

EC is firmly committed to supporting the growth and development of sport for persons with impairments. The organization continues to develop the para sports currently within the FEI system (para-dressage and para-driving), but also the principles of accommodation and support for participation in all disciplines in a safe and fair manner.

Each of the EC disciplines have started discussion with regards to inclusion and accessibility in equestrian sport for individuals with an impairment, and continue to work with para sport and equestrian governing bodies and stakeholders to review current rules for accommodations/use of compensating aids in non-para disciplines. Currently, the FEI and EC have an aligned system for the inclusion of athletes who meet the minimal disability requirements under the classification system for para-dressage and para-driving. Both disciplines have defined criteria as laid out by the FEI and the International Paralympic Committee’s Code of Classification.

Currently, Classification is available within the disciplines of para-dressage and driving, and Dispensation Certificates are available for dressage and para-dressage. EC is working to determine how accommodations for sport can be made in the current competition system for all disciplines. This work has been tasked to the discipline committees to develop.

“Equestrian sport has a long history of providing opportunities for athletes, both rider and horse, that allow for fair and safe participation,” said EC High Performance Director & FEI Relationships, James Hood. “The disciplines have continued to develop and advance rules, competition formats, and equipment that increase the safety of all participants and all levels of competition. Whether that be the new break-away cups, or the additions of helmets and safety vests to help decrease serious injuries.”

Hood continued, “There are really two different discussions occurring for EC. The first is the development of para-dressage and para-driving, which have established sport classification systems recognized by the FEI and the International Paralympic Committee, and the more complex area of accommodation for participants with impairments and adaptations in disciplines that are not part of the Paralympic movement or defined para sport system. These disciplines require looking at what fits within the rules and regulations, and what supporting aids could be used without shifting the balance of fair competition or increasing safety risks.”

Competitors with questions or feedback regarding compensating aids at EC sanctioned competitions are encouraged to contact:

James Hood
EC High Performance Director & FEI Relationships
[email protected]
T: 1-866-282-8395 x 151
C: 613-795-6407

Update: Para-Dressage Dispensation Certificate

For those currently competing or planning to compete in the disciplines of dressage or para-dressage with compensating aids, please note that the Para-Dressage Dispensation Certificate has replaced the Para-Dressage Medical Form for 2020.

The Certificate allows competitors with a physical impairment to compete at EC Bronze Dressage competitions with the use of compensating (adaptive) aids.* The athlete’s name, approved compensating aids and expiration date are included on the Certificate.

*Exception: Athletes with hearing loss may use the EC Para-Dressage Dispensation Certificate at EC Dressage Bronze, Silver and Gold competitions.

It is the responsibility of the athlete to request, in writing, a new or renewed Certificate. Please note that renewal requests should be submitted prior to the expiry of the athlete’s current Certificate.

For more information regarding para-dressage compensating aids and classification, please contact:

Jamie-Ann Goodfellow
EC Coordinator, Para-Dressage
[email protected]
1-866-282-8395 x 146