Para-equestrian dressage competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is under way, concluding this Sunday, October 10, with the final day of individual freestyle tests.
As you may know, this is the first time in history that para-equestrian sport has been included at an equestrian world championships. In the past, para-equestrians -- skilled horsemen and -women who have varying degrees of physical disability -- have had separate championships, including the Paralympic Games, which are the "para parallel" to the Olympic Games and take place immediately after the Olympics conclude, in the same venue(s).
It is exciting to see the full range of world-class equestrians in one place. I feel confident saying that, just as the para-equestrian dressage riders at the WEG can watch and learn from the able-bodied riders, the able-bodied competitors can learn a thing or two from the para riders, who have ridden to a high level even while dealing with all manner of disabilities. I watched some para-equestrians schooling while I was at the WEG, and more than one had horses going enviably. Let's just say I'd be happy to get a horse as nicely collected and through as some of the ones I saw cruising around at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The US WEG para-equestrians did their pre-WEG training at Kentucky Equine Research in Lexington. KER prepared a lovely video on our athletes, who speak eloquently about their histories, their horses, and their goals. My colleagues at KER kindly gave me permission to share the video here. Watch and enjoy!