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Dressage at Devon to Host First-Ever NDSA IPEC Grade IV Invitational Championship

Kingston, RI — April 4, 2003 — Dressage at Devon will host the first-ever National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA) IPEC Grade IV Championship for riders with physical disabilities, September 23-28, 2003 in Devon, PA.

The NDSA Championship will consist of two classes. The first is the Individual Competition in which riders will perform a standard Grade IV dressage test, while the second is a Musical Freestyle competition. Overall placings in the NDSA Championship will be based on riders’ combined scores in both the Individual Competition and the Freestyle.

The International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC) categorizes riders with disabilities into Grades I-IV according to their disabilities. Grade I consists of riders with the most severe disabilities, while Grade IV is for those with the least. The Individual Competition test for Grade IV is similar to the USA Equestrian Level 4 test for able-bodied equestrians.

Grade IV riders have impairment in one or two limbs or have some visual impairment. Grade IV tests require lateral work and include work at the walk, trot, and canter. Compulsory movements include medium and collected trot, medium and free walk, 10-meter circles at the trot and canter, shoulder-in, half-pass at the trot, simple changes of rein, half-pirouettes at the walk, and rein back. Freestyles ridden at the Grade IV level may comprise more difficult movements such as lateral work at the canter and three-time sequence changes.

“We’re so excited about the Grade IV Championship at Dressage at Devon,” said NDSA Equestrian Sports Manager Denise Avolio, “and we are certainly indebted to Devon for giving us this fantastic opportunity.”

According to Dressage at Devon Co-Chair Jim Hall, adding the NDSA Championship to the show was a natural. "Dressage at Devon benefits Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Inc., which is one of the oldest and largest programs in this country using horses to help people with disabilities. The NDSA Championship is a perfect fit for our show."

The NDSA IPEC Grade IV Championship to be held at Dressage at Devon is one of several events put on by NDSA for riders with physical disabilities. Each June, the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, presented by State Line Tack, hosts an NDSA Championship for riders in all of the IPEC Grades. The Mills Team Challenge, held each August as part of the North American Young Riders’ Championships, presented by State Line Tack, is a competition in which riders with disabilities compete together with able-bodied young riders in a special team competition. Additionally, the NDSA supports many clinics at various locations throughout the year, including forums on judging dressage riders with physical disabilities.

NDSA is also responsible for fielding this country’s teams for recognized international events for riders with disabilities including the World Championships, which will be held in Moorseles, Belgium, September 2-7, 2003, and the Paralympic Games, which will be held in Athens, Greece in August 2004 just after the Olympic Games.

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




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