Guide to Para-Equestrian Driving

Para-equestrian driving (competition abbreviation CPEAI) athletes compete in one of two grades – either grade I or grade II, with grade II athletes having greater functional ability than grade I. For grade I athletes, additional assistance is allowed during the phases including additional grooms and able-bodied whips.

Para-equestrian driving sees the same phases competed as with their able-bodied counterparts with dressage, cones and combined marathon phases all contested during a one, two or three day competition. On the international circuit, para-drivers compete at FEI World Para-Driving Championships for Singles; three athletes with a maximum of one horse per athlete compete - each team must include at least one athlete from grade I.

Driven dressage is marked on the regularity of paces, ease of movement and correctness of bending of the horse on the move as well as style and accuracy, within a 100 x 40m arena.

The marathon tests the fitness and stamina of the horses and the skill and judgement required to handle the horses through a challenging course with a number of obstacles; for para-driving a three-section or two-section marathon course may be used. Penalties are incurred for, amongst other things, an error on course, dismounting, damage to the carriage or a deviation from the course.

The cones phase sees an arena of 70 x 120m test the combinations; cones with a weighted ball on top are positioned to mark the course, if a cone is knocked the combination incurs penalties. Speed and cone width are adjusted depending on the level of competition. In the cones section, the time allowed is calculated as a speed of 230m/min for both horses and ponies – with a drive-off seeing a speed of 240m/min used.

More information about para-equestrian driving can be located on the FEI website