Para-Equestrian Dressage is one of the two para-equestrian disciplines recognized by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). In both individual and team tests, para-equestrian dressage integrates different physical impairments. The tests which are presented are adapted to the rider’s abilities. There are five categories called Grades and depending on their disability, riders would be left in a certain category. Usually, the capacity to manage different paces of the horse and realize different dressage movements, often justifies the classification system established by the International Equestrian Federation with the aim of ensuring equality and fair play. For the classification of riders, three areas are evaluated: muscle strength, flexibility and coordination.
Celine suffered from a severe brain injury and even having recovered much of her physical abilities, she still holds non-reversible consequences, with coordination and balance are her biggest difficulties. On top of that, Celine has lost more than 50% of her vision. She now sees double and in two dimensions only.
Celine competes in Grade III and represents Switzerland at international competitions and championships. One of her best results is when she finished 4th at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington in 2010. She would like to represent Switzerland at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 and of course, win the title.
Para-Sport in Switzerland
Paralympic sports in Switzerland have been developing since the Second World War when returning wounded soldiers would play sports despite their physical impairments. In Switzerland, it is under the leadership of Hubert Grivel that the first Swiss Federation for disabled sports was founded in 1959. However, in 1958, the first sport lessons for disabled people appeared in Geneva. It all starts with gymnastics and basketball in wheelchairs and finally table tennis. Time being synonymous of innovation, disabled sport disciplines requiring aids will expand more and more.
Concerning horse riding, Para-Equestrian is still little known because of his too elitist character. However, it is scientifically proven – Celine perfectly shows it - that the horse can act as a good therapist and that healing thanks to horses is very promising.