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NDSA to Host a Clinic on the I.P.E.C. Classification Process for Riders and Drivers With Physical Disabilities

Kingston, RI—February 27, 2003—The National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA) will host a clinic to train physical therapists and physicians to classify riders and drivers with physical disabilities for competition according to the I.P.E.C. standard.

The clinic, to be held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, CA, May 30 – June 1, 2003, is designed to teach physical therapists and physicians what the I.P.E.C. system for classifying athletes is and how to use it effectively. It will include instruction in the process of classification, and also cover the rules of I.P.E.C. competition and hands-on workshops overseen by internationally-recognized classifiers.

In order to ensure fair competition among riders and drivers with disabilities, the I.P.E.C. categorizes these athletes into Grades I-IV according to their abilities, not their riding or driving skill. Grade I consists of athletes with the most severe disabilities, while Grade IV is for those with the least.

To determine in which of the four Grades an equestrian with a disability should compete, the I.P.E.C. system uses manual muscle tests, range of motion, and/or coordination testing. Riders and drivers with visual or cognitive disabilities are also classified, but the classification is done by select group of professionals specially trained and better able to evaluate those types of impairments.

Through clinics such as the one planned for May, the NDSA hopes to develop a network of qualified professionals who can classify equestrian athletes with disabilities in order to meet the national demand of riders and drivers.

The clinic is open to any physical therapist or physician who wishes to attend and will be moderated by I.P.E.C. international classifiers Jim Little, PT, and Joann Benjamin, PT, HPCS. There will be a cost of $75 per person and the deadline for registration is May 15, 2003.

There are two more such clinics being planned for this year, one in the summer and another in the fall. The dates and locations of those clinics are not yet determined, but will be based on demand and location of interested participants.

The I.P.E.C. is the international governing body for equestrian sports for equestrian athletes with disabilities. It is responsible for international rules, sanctioning of international competitions, and for Paralympic Games and World Championships. For more information about the I.P.E.C., please visit their website at or contact Jonquil Solt by email at

The National Disability Sports Alliance is the national governing body for equestrian sport for equestrian athletes with disabilities. The non-profit organization is responsible for the development and selection of riders for national championships and international competitions, including World Championships and the Paralympic Games, and provides training, competition and advocacy for riders of all levels with physical disabilities. For more information about NDSA and opportunities to support the programs, please visit our website at or contact Denise Avolio at (914) 949-8166 or

To register for the classification clinic, please contact Nora Grassmyer at (530) 295-0997 or All other inquiries regarding the course should be directed to Joann Benjamin at (818) 907-0971 or



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