Equestrian Sport for People with Disabilities

Equestrian sports are possible for many disabled individuals and all it takes is drive, time and practice. 

When a person is disabled they face a unique set of challenges that can be difficult for most of us to face, yet they make allowances for the challenges and power through, achieving heights many of have only dreamed of reaching. From business to leisure activities they are unstoppable including the demands of Equestrian sports.

While there are many sports that are out of the question, depending on the disability many equestrian sports are still available to the disabled who are drawn to the power and majesty of horses. Equestrian sport accommodates many different kinds of disabilities, including individuals who have mobility or balance challenges; even those without sight can take part in equestrian sports. There are many competitions now open to the disabled and they are split into ranks, making it possible for individuals of varying skill levels to have a chance to win; some of these competitions are represented in the Paralympic and special Olympic games.

There are many uplifting and heroic true stories of disabled individuals that have far exceeded the norm and done the seemingly impossible, beating the odds.

One of these iconic figures is Verity Smith from the UK who is one of the most talented horsewomen in the world, and is also blind. She has won many dressage events and has been selected to compete in the 2012 Paralympic games! She is also renowned for her work as an author, and as a talented musician. She is a true inspiration for her talent with both horses and just about anything else she tackles in life.

Another iconic and motivating figure is Bettina Eistel who has faced her own challenges. She also lacks the mobility that most of us are gifted with as she is armless. Many people thought that it would be almost impossible for her to compete in equestrian sports but it is her passion, and she has become an accomplished equestrian who has won two silver medals and one bronze at the Vice-Europe games in Portugal, and three silver medals at the competition in Belgium. She has gone on to win medals at other championships as well and is well regarded among all riders, even with her so called disability. Recently in 2008, she won both a bronze and silver medal at the Paralympics and continues to boost her status as an equestrian competitor.

There are many classes and within the competitive scene amongst disabled people and affiliates so it is fairly easy to find classes or tutors that will teach individuals how to handle horses and eventually master them. Everything from the fundamentals to the professional level of riding can be learned with time and effort which has been proven time and time again. Today's disabled in equestrian sports are taking on everything from para-jumping, to Dressage, to World Championship Carriage driving and more, enjoying everything from the competition and the thrill of the win to simply the recreational and therapeutic benefits of horseback riding.

Time and time again disabled individuals have proven that nothing is out of their reach and that competitive sports are just as thrilling and fun for them as any other league. Many disabled people have been giving those who aren’t disabled a run for their money at equestrian sports and anyone with the drive and the will can do it too.

Showjumping video

Benefits of Equestrian Sport

Equestrian sport offers both health and fitness to whoever is participating in equestrianism. The advantages of equestrianism help both physically and mentally. Equestrianism is a great workout for the body as it helps with the cardiovascular system and it helps relieve stress.

A psychological benefit of equestrianism is developing a relationship with your horse which is highly rewarding. It also builds up the trust between you and your horse. Caring for your horse also helps with building confidence, and it is also a great feeling to look after something.</b>

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