Equestrians with Disabilities
As I mentioned in my previous post “Kerry Hansen: Newest Addition to Kimes Ranch blogger family,” I mentioned that my mom is a horse trainer in eastern Wisconsin. The recent passing of one of her clients and good friends Gina Rollin inspired me to write this blog post. A new trend at some of our local Wisconsin AQHA shows has been the Equestrians with Disabilities (EWD) classes. Gina was blind and owned a wonderful horse named Winston that she hoped to participate with in these events.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International has helped create this opportunity for many people that would not normally have the privilege of competing at registered breed organization shows. This AQHA approved program is open to people with both mental and physical disabilities. You must complete a regular AQHA membership as well as a diagnosis and adaptive equipment from. Competing in the approved AQHA EWD classes allows both amateurs and youths to qualify for year-end and high point awards. The following classes are AQHA EWD approved classes:
- Showmanship- Walk Only; Showmanship- Walk, Jog/Trot; Showmanship;
- Supported Walk-Trot Classes- Hunt Seat Equitation on the Flat; Hunter Under Saddle; Trail; Western Horsemanship; Western Pleasure
- Independent Walk, Jog/Trot Classes- Hunt Seat Equitation on the Flat; Hunter Under Saddle; Trail; Western Horsemanship; Western Pleasure; Para-Reining
- Independent Walk, Jog/Trot, Lope/Canter Classes- Hunt Seat Equitation on the Flat; Hunter Under Saddle; Trail; Western Horsemanship; Western Pleasure; Para-Reining
Some of the rules include having a current individual membership; neither the exhibitor nor immediate family is required to own the horse; the exhibitor must have a medically diagnosed condition; all horses when ridden must wear a halter, exhibitors are allowed to ride with one or two hands and hold the saddle without penalty, and an exhibitor may show more than one horse in individually worked classes.
You can find these classes at local AQHA shows as well as the NSBA World Show and most recently, the All American Quarter Horse Congress has added EWD classes for the 2015 show.
To find out more about these events visit any of these great resources: