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Equine Canada to Administrate the National Para-Equestrian Athlete Classification Program | Print |
November 1, 2010 — Para-Equestrian Canada is pleased to announce that the national Para-Equestrian athlete classification program will now be serviced through the Equine Canada office.  The program, which was formerly administrated by the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) in Guelph, ON, provides a mechanism to assign riders to a “Grade” based on their functional abilities so they may compete against other athletes with a similar level of impairment.

There are five grades of competitions in Para-Equestrian sport, with Grade 1A representing the more impaired riders, and Grade 4 representing the least impaired riders. Many Para-Equestrian athletes also compete alongside able-bodied competitors in Equine Canada competitions.

“We believe that the competitive sport system has reached a stage in its evolution where it is desirable for the classification program to be integrated with and administered under the same structure as the competition accreditation program,” said Amie O’Shaughnessy, manager of Para-Equestrian at Equine Canada.

“We are very grateful to CanTRA for the role it has played over the years in guiding and governing the classification program and making it a success for Canadian Para-Equestrian athletes and the Canadian sport system,” said Akaash Maharaj, chief executive officer of Equine Canada. “We will ensure that we steward the program in a manner that is consistent with the traditions CanTRA has set, and we look forward to the continued working relationship between our two organizations.”

The classification system that was used by CanTRA was developed by Dr. Christine Meaden of the United Kingdom, and is used worldwide for classifying riders in the Para system. The Canadian classifiers, who are doctors and physiotherapists, will move to work with Para-Equestrian Canada thus maintaining the recognised International Classification System within Canada.

Equine Canada’s Canadian Para-Equestrian Committee is in the process of creating a Classification Committee, which will be accountable for the integration of all aspects of the Meaden classification system within Canada, such as educating, evaluating and accrediting new classifiers; classifying riders at the national level and arranging for up-grading to International level; developing refresher courses for Canadian classifiers; acting as a technical resource group; maintaining secure files; and issuing classification cards.

Athletes who currently hold a national classification will not need to be re-classified as a result of the programming changes. Para-Equestrian Canada will be distributing the new national classification cards to all current athletes in the upcoming months. Internationally classified riders are not affected.

For more information about the classification program, please visit the Para-Equestrian Canada website at www.equinecanada.ca/para-equestrian or contact us via e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or telephone at: (613) 287-1515 ext. 143.

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About Para-Equestrian Canada

Para-Equestrian Canada is the Equine Canada committee responsible for developing programs for athletes with a physical disability, and implementing the Para-Dressage high performance program. Para-Equestrian is one of Canada’s most successful international disciplines, achieving an individual gold medal and an individual silver medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games, as well as two individual bronze medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games.

About Para-Equestrian Sport

Para-Equestrian sport provides riders with a physical disability the opportunity to compete against other riders with similar abilities. Riders are given a “Grade” based on their functional ability, and are judged on their riding skill against other athletes of the same Grade.  There are five grades of competitions in dressage, with Grade IA representing the more severely impaired riders, and Grade IV representing the least severely impaired riders. Many Para-Equestrian athletes also compete alongside able-bodied competitors in Equine Canada competitions. At the grass roots level, Para-Equestrian encompasses a number of different disciplines, while the international stream focuses only on Para-Dressage.  For more information, please visit www.equinecanada.ca/para-equestrian.

About Equine Canada

Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism.  A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry.  Equine Canada is recognized by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organization representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit www.equinecanada.ca.