The Para Dressage Team Competition Format Explained

Media updates
08 September 2023 Author: Stinna Tange

In Para Dressage, the team competition takes place over the course of two days in the Grand Prix B program. But unlike the Dressage team competition, the nations in Para Dressage do not necessarily have an equal number of riders each day.

That is because the rules of the Para Dressage team competition dictate that the teams must consist of at least one rider in either grade I, II or III. This makes it hard to say anything about the standing after the first day, as there is a big variation in how many riders that have been in action from each nation.

That was also visible here at the first day of team competition at the FEI Para Dressage European Championships, where a nation such as Spain have had all their riders through, but the defending European Champion team from The Netherlands only had one rider. 

That does not mean that there are not any results that are worth taking a look at. The top scorer of the day was the Italian star Sara Morganti and Mariebelle with incredible 78.250%. But with Italy having already qualified for the Paralympic Games, more is at stake for countries such as Spain, Sweden, Austria and Ireland as the top team not already qualified earns a nation spot for Paris 2024.  

Germany off to a strong start
The home team from Germany have already had three of their four riders in the arena today and all three of them have provided strong scores. With the newly crowned European Champion Heidemarie Dresing and Horse24 Dooloop on impressive 77.567%, Melanie Wienand and Lemony's Loverboy on 73.933%, and Martina Benzinger and Nautika on 75.333%, the national trainer Silke Fütterer-Sommer was very pleased. This home championship is also the first championship as national trainer for the German trainer Silke Fütterer-Sommer: 
“I am really, really happy! I think all of them did a super job today, so of course we are happy. We have tried to get the rider and horses together to be a team and they have succeeded with that. To be able to have a championship like this in the home country is very special there are so many people around who come and support us, so yes, it is very special”. 

Grand Prix B is second qualifier for freestyle 
In 2020 the rules were changed making the Grand Prix B part of the individual qualifier for the freestyle, which means that the top eight riders from each grade over the two days go on to ride the freestyle. This was done to assure that all athletes get to compete at least twice at every championship. Before that, the nations that were not able to bring a full team, could be unfortunate to have their riders perform only once.

Follow along with Grades IV and V tomorrow live from the FEI Para Dressage European Championship 2023 in Riesenbeck (GER)