Para Dressage Newsletter - January 2023


WANTED: USEF Para Dressage is seeking able-bodied dressage riders who may have a permanent, measurable physical disability to join our sport 


For more information on how you may be qualified to join our medal-winning para dressage athletes, please contact the USEF Director of Para Dressage, Laureen Johnson, at or 908-997-3008. You may be a future medalist at the Paralympic Games or World Championships!


USEF Para Dressage webpage may be found at

Qualifying Criteria for Para Dressage Programs


2024 Paralympic Qualifying Memo:
2023 Festival of Champions Para Dressage Qualifying Criteria:
2023 Para Dressage Athletes of Honor Award Program Criteria:
CPEDI3* Qualifying Requirements:
U.S. CPEDI Team Selection Criteria:
Criteria to Compete in Foreign CPEDI:

USEF Announces 2024 Paralympic Selector Panel


Robin Brueckmann
Barbara Grassmyer
Gary Rockwell
Tina Wentz
Regina Cristo, alternate


FEI and USEF Proposed Classification Schedule


Classification Information may be found at or contact Laureen Johnson at or 859-225-7693.


2023 FEI Rule Changes


2023 FEI Para Dressage Rules can be found at


Please note important rule changes below. It is highly recommended that you review the entire Para Dressage Rules at the link above.


Effective January 1, 2023 the FEI Para Dressage Test Names will change.  Please note the tests are the same, just the name has changed.
Novice A & B Tests – Old Intro A & B Tests
Intermediate A & B Tests – Old Novice Tests
Grand Prix A & B Tests – Old Team and Individual Tests
FEI Para Dressage Tests can be found at


Athletes are required to have achieved a minimum score of 60% in a CPEDI2* in any single test once in a lifetime. Scores obtained in CPEDI3* and above prior to 2023 will count as satisfying this requirement, so long as the 60% has been obtained. Such qualification only needs to be obtained once in a lifetime.

USEF Para Dressage Centers of Excellence (COE)


The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Centers of Excellence (COE), founded in 2015, are designed to grow the sport of para dressage throughout the United States, playing a critical role in pipeline development - from grassroots all the way through to elite levels of athlete and coach education and support. By providing multiple centers of instruction and technical dressage training throughout the United States, the COE initiative provides athletes with disabilities the opportunity to discover competitive para dressage at both the national and eventually CPEDI level, at locations convenient to them.


COE Directory and information on becoming a COE can be found at


COE Clinic Calendar

April 29-30 – Thorncroft Therapeutic Riding Center

May 27-28 – Carlisle Academy 

Para Dressage Virtual Judging Program


USEF is pleased to announce that 5* Para Dressage judge, Sarah Leitch, has agreed to continue to serve as a virtual judge again in 2023. For virtual judging specifications, please see

Para Dressage Pathway Program


USEF and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs


The United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. (USEF) supports Paralympic-eligible military veterans in their efforts to represent the USA at the Paralympic Games and other international sport competitions. Veterans who demonstrate exceptional sport skills and the commitment necessary to pursue elite-level competition are given guidance on securing the training, support, and coaching needed to qualify for Team USA and achieve their Paralympic dreams.


The United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA National Veterans Sports Programs & Special Events Office provides a monthly assistance allowance for disabled Veterans of the Armed Forces training in a Paralympic sport, as authorized by 38 U.S.C. § 322(d) and section 703 of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008.


Through the program, the VA will pay a monthly allowance to a veteran with a service-connected or non-service-connected disability if the veteran meets the minimum VA Monthly Assistance Allowance (VMAA) Standard in his/her respective sport and sport class at a recognized competition.


Athletes must have established training and competition plans and are responsible for turning in monthly and/or quarterly forms and reports in order to continue receiving the monthly assistance allowance. Additionally, an athlete must be U.S. citizen OR permanent resident to be eligible. Lastly, in order to be eligible for the VMAA athletes must undergo either national or international classification evaluation (and be found Paralympic sport-eligible) within six months of being placed on the allowance pay list.


Evaluative criteria differ from sport to sport and can vary from open tryouts, invitation-only tryouts, world rankings, achievement standards, or a combination of standards and tryouts. The VMAA Standard for each sport is determined by the respective National Governing Body (NGB) or Paralympic High Performance Management Organization (HPMO), in partnership with the USOPC, based on the sport and/or discipline/event international competitive analysis and existing athlete pipeline. Generally, the VMAA Standard is 25% back from the respective sports’ national team criteria or equal to the USEF determined Minimum Qualifying Standard (MQS) where applicable. To learn more about the specific sport standards, the VMAA, or sport pipelines, contact the USEF Director of Para Dressage, Laureen Johnson, at 859-225-7693 or


The allowance rate per-month for an athlete approved for the VMAA is based on dependent status as explained by 38 U.S.C., Chapter 31.


For application and VMAA Performance Standards, please see


Para Dressage in the News


Kate Shoemaker

Shout out to Para Dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker for being awarded the USEF Becky Grand Hart Trophy, which puts her in the running for the USEF International Equestrian of the Year. Congratulations, Kate! Also, Kate's 2022 World Championship mount, Quiana, is in the running for for USEF International Horse of the Year. 


The International and National Equestrians of the Year will be announced at the 2022 Pegasus Awards Dinner on Thursday, January 12, and the International and National Horses of the Year will be announced at the 2022 SmartPak/USEF Horse of the Year Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 14, at the 2023 US Equestrian Annual Meeting in Lexington, Ky.


Hope Hand

USPEA's Founder and Paralympian Hope Hand (1949-2022) will be honored with 2022 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award! Paralympian, 11-year USEF Board member, and the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) founder Hope C. Hand of Newtown Square, Penn., will be honored with the 2022 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award. Hand died June 12, 2022, of pancreatic cancer in her home surrounded by her family before being honored with this title. An accolade that envelopes a passionate career and personal journey for Hand. An honor she would accept with a large smile and laugh. Hand was the Executive Director of the U.S. Para-Equestrian Association, a two-time U.S. Paralympian, and an international board member representing the para-equestrian sport. The USEF Lifetime Achievement Award will be given during the Pegasus Awards Dinner at the 2023 US Equestrian Annual Meeting, Thursday, January 12, 2023, held at Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Ky.

Follow US Equestrian

Stay up to date with the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team by following USA Para Dressage on Facebook and USA Dressage on Instagram. Follow US Equestrian on Facebook, TwitterTikTok, and Instagram. Use #USAParaDressage.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOPC, and USEF sponsors and members.


US Equestrian Federation

4001 Wing Commander Way

Lexington, KY 40511
859 258 2472


View this email in your browser.
If you no longer want to receive emails from us, you can unsubscribe here.