The Carriage Driving Sports Group for drivers with disabilities is a registered charity (Charity Number : 1143265) and promotes the health of disabled people through the provision of training and driving opportunities in sports driving.
With the idea of creating opportunities for all people with disabilities to compete and achieve their goals in equestrian sport, athletes are classified according to the level of their disability/impairment so as to provide for meaningful competition. The competitor’s mobility, strength and coordination are assessed in order to establish their Classification Profile. People with similar functional ability Profiles are grouped into competition Grades. The competition within each Grade can therefore be judged on the skill of the individual competitor on their horse, regardless of the competitor’s disability.
23 March 2017
NEW FEI CLASSIFICATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR PARA EQUESTRIANS
Dear National Federations, We would like to remind you the following principle in term of Classification:
1. New Athletes requiring FEI Classification for the first time - must apply through their NF to the FEI by completing the FEI Classification Request Form
The Classification request must be made by the Athlete’s NF and include:
Any additional medical documentation that demonstrates the athlete’s impairment should be included. All documentation provided must be in English and forms must be signed by all concern parties.
The Classification request must be received by the FEI at least six (6) weeks before the next international competition where the athlete intends to compete.
The Organising Committee for the international competition where the athlete will be evaluated will charge a non-refundable fee of 40 EUR or equivalent at the time of entry.
2. Athletes who are FEI Classified and listed on the FEI Classification Master List with a status of Review (R)
If a fixed review date is listed on the Master List, Athletes should be reviewed at a competition as close as practicable to the date listed.
If no fixed review date the athlete should be Reviewed at the next opportunity
In both of the above, the NF should ensure the Organiser of the competition is aware the Athlete needs Review. The Chief Classifier for the competition will schedule a time for the Athlete to be Reviewed.
The Athlete and the NF do not need to contact the FEI or submit any documentation prior to the Review. In some instances and only if required, the Chief Classifier may request further medical documentation from the Athlete to assist in allocating a Grade after the Review.
3. Athletes listed on the FEI Classification Master List with a status of Confirmed or Review with a fixed review date requesting a Review because their impairment and activity limitations are no longer consistent with their current Grade must apply through their NF to the FEI by completing a Medical Review Request form.
A medical review request is to be submitted if:
An athlete’s relevant impairment or activity limitation has become less severe, either through medical intervention or other means. Examples of such interventions include, but are not limited to Botox injections to reduce hypertonia or to increase the active range of movement, tendon releases, joint fixations to assist posture/stability, or corrective eye surgery; or if
An athlete’s impairment is progressive and has deteriorated to an extent that the athlete most likely does not fit his/ her current Grade (sport class) anymore.
Making a Medical Review Request
The medical review request must be made by the Athlete’s NF and include:
The ‘two classifier’ system again brings the UK in line with the FEI, which has always required more than one classifier for its assessments. The policy gives a more constructed process although many aspects of the classification remain the same, with no changes being made to the profile or grading of riders. David Hamer, British Dressage Para Director, said: “The popularity of Paralympic sport post London 2012 has been a great boost and it is essential that those coming into the sport have a system that can support the growth in demand for classification. The National Policy gives more clarity and guidance to what was already a very comprehensive process.”
FEI Para-equestrian Competition
Who can request FEI Classification?
A National Federation can lodge a request for an athlete with impairment to undergo a Classification Evaluation for the purpose of the competing in FEI Para Equestrian competition.
All Athletes with a disability who intend to be classified must produce a Certificate of Diagnosis stating their full medical diagnosis. Each Athlete must have an Eligible Impairment that leads to permanent and verifiable activity limitation which can be measured objectively.
Those Athletes with a minimal Impairment must meet the Para-Equestrian Minimal Impairment Criteria in order to compete in Para-Equestrian Events. Eligible impairments include:
Hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis; impaired passive range of movement; impaired muscle power; limb deficiency; leg length difference; short stature, vision impairment.
What is a Profile ?
A profile identifies all areas of the body that do not function normally when assessed by the Classifier. It is this which then indicates what Grade a driver would be classed as, and also, what Compensation Aids a driver would be entitled to make use of.
What is a Grading ?
Para drivers compete as a Grade 1 or a Grade 2.
Grade 1 in general encompasses more severe disability which may have challenges with speech, upper and lower body movement. For example, a driver who has suffered a stroke and has significant mobility challenges to one arm and leg would be likely to be a Grade 1 driver. A driver who is completely paralysed and has no movement in the lower body would also be likely to be a Grade 1 driver.
Grade 2 in general encompasses less severe disability, for instance a driver who has mobility impairment but who can brace themselves through one leg. So, for example, a driver who has one below-knee lower limb amputated may be a Grade 2 driver.
Questions on all other Classification matters should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
If I want to compete at Club level do I need to get classified ?
No. However, you will need to check that any club is comfortable with any special considerations you wish them to make. This is for you to discuss with each club on an ad hoc basis.
Note that if you do have a National Classification and Compensation Aids Certificate, it may well be much easier for a club to understand how they go about judging you within a mainstream class.
If I want to compete in mainstream National competition do I need to obtain an FEI Classification Card ?
No, you only need an FEI Classification Card if you wish to compete in an International competition.
Competing at FEI Para Equestrian Driving World Championships
Drivers at FEI Para Equestrian Driving World Championships are divided into two classes depending on their degree of disability; each team has to include one member who is a grade 1. Drivers are profiled according to the limbs that work and are used whilst driving. Thus depending on their profile they are graded 1 or 2 – Grade1 being the more severe disabilities. For all matters relating to IPEC CARDS please contact Lyn Lawford: email@example.com.
Competing as a Para competitor in mainstream competition
Para competitors have been competing in mainstream competition for many years. Para drivers often have significant mobility challenges which can compromise their ability to compete on an even playing field and in some instances this can compromise the driver’s feeling of safety and security in the box seat and can put additional responsibility on their team members, particularly the backstepper.
Many nations around the world, including Britain, Germany, Holland and USA, welcome para drivers into mainstream competition and accept the use of agreed compensation aids, just as is the case in mainstream dressage at regional, national and international level.
Para drivers are required to undertake an assessment with a registered national or international Classifier. The Classifier will give them a “profile” which then indicates their Grading according to their level of disability across all areas of the body.
Para drivers are categorised into one of two Grades: Grade 1 (which is the grade attributed to drivers with severe mobility challenges to upper and/or lower body) or Grade 2 (which is attributed to drivers with less severe mobility challenges, generally to the lower limb(s)).
The “Profile” will identify what Compensation Aids a driver is entitled to use and these are laid out by the FEI.
What are Compensation Aids ?
These are a list of approved aids which are attached to the Profile. Certain Compensation Aids are only assigned to certain Profiles – not all para drivers are automatically entitled to use all Compensation Aids.
The Compensation Aids are aids which have been considered and approved in conjunction with the Head International Classifier, the FEI Working Party for Para Drivers and then accepted as approved by FEI Council or by the National body governing your sport.
What is the difference between a National grading and an International grading ?
If you hold a National grading (a National Classification and Compensation Aids Certificate), you will have been graded by one national classifier who has awarded you a profile. If you hold an International grading (FEI Classification card), you will have been graded by one international classifier (probably before the international competition that you are hoping to compete at) and you will be graded again at the International competition by the International Classifier who is in attendance at the event. You will then receive your FEI card following that. In order to obtain the card, you must be registered with the FEI as a driver.