for Three: Competing in Dressage Championships Brings Added
NYJune 13, 2002Its an offer thats hard
to refuse: compete in two classes in the upcoming schooling show
and the third class is free! Then you read the fine print. The
third classfor freeis a challenge for sighted riders
to perform the same dressage test as blind visually impaired and
physically disabled riders who are participating in the first-of-its
competition will be held July 9-13 at Willow Tree Farm at Caumsett
State Historic Park in Huntington, NY.
have accepted The Able Challenge, that we are offering"
says Denise Avolio, chairman of the organizing committee for the
Inner Vision Championships for Riders with a Disability. "Riders
dont have to be blindfolded or impaired in any way. They
just have to ride the test, but few accept the challenge."
Avolio is determined to change misconceptions: physically challenged
people are able and capable. "There is a misconception that
people with disabilities aren't as capable. The Able Challenge
is a fun attempt to bring awareness to the challenges and determination
of people with physical disabilities."
Able Challenge" will be held during an open schooling show
as part of the Inner Vision Championships (IVC), the first international
dressage competition for riders who are blind or visually impaired.
Thirty-plus top equestrians from 10 countries will arrive in New
York for a championship dressage competition that will bring together
horses and riders when they compete on borrowed horses after just
three days of training together!
The Inner Vision Championships, approved and recognized by the
International Paralympic Equestrian Committee, will bring together
riders from Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Israel,
Japan, Portugal, Russia and the United States to compete in team
and individual tests, which include , Freestyle to Music tests
to USA Equestrian fourth level for sighted riders, the tests are
written specifically for riders with disabilities, and the musical
freestyles are compulsory. The only concession for blind and visually
impaired riders is the use of "living letters," trained
volunteers who call out their assigned letter so that the riders
are able to visualize where they are in the arena.
unlike sighted riders who train for years on familiar horses,
these visually impaired competitors will ride horses borrowed
from local or regional horse owners and allocated through a draw.
Riders will have assigned training times July 9-11 to prepare
for a warm-up competition on July 12.
championship competition will begin at 8:00 a.m., Saturday, July
13; musical freestyle competition will follow at 1:00 p.m. The
five-day event takes place at Willow Tree Farm at Caumsett State
Historic Park in Huntington, NY. Admission is free and the public
In addition to the 24 international competitors, Avolio says between
six and eight US riders will compete in their own National Division.
And there is also a special division for novice riders who are
blind or visually impaired.
are thrilled to have such a positive response to the championships.
Weve seen increased numbers of events and organizations
initiating opportunities for riders with disabilities," Avolio
said, speculating that an event of this magnitude may be hosted
every two years. "But we don't claim title to the IVC. Itd
be wonderful if other countries step up to host this international
event for riders who are blind and visually impaired."
During this summers competition, those non-disabled equestrians
who accept "The Able Challenge" will gain a greater
understanding and appreciation of the challenges physically disabled
riders face. "Its just remarkable what these gifted
riders have accomplished," she added. "I have no doubt
we will all have a different viewa more enlightened understanding
of the challenges and achievements of people with disabilities."
first-of-its-kind competition, the Inner Vision Championships
is co-hosted by the National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA)
and Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc. Both are 501(c)3 organizations.
NDSA is recognized as the national governing body for equestrian
sport for riders with disabilities. NDSA is responsible for the
development and selection of riders for national championship
and international competitions, including the Paralympic Games,
and provides training, competition and advocacy for riders with
Equestrian Inc. is a therapeutic riding program located at Huntington,
NY, that provides therapeutic, recreational and competitive horseback
riding opportunities for people with physical, emotional and cognitive
more information on the Championships, contact Denise Avolio at
(914) 949-8166 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Lisa A. Gatti, competition manager, at (631) 427-6105 or email@example.com.
website address for the Inner Vision Championships is www.pal-o-mine.org.