Recently a new vaulting Twitter account caught my attention. TheParaVaulter tweets about her training lessons and competitions. She also had an YouTube account where she posted videos of the British RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) championships, a competition fully focused on para-vaulting which is what we have been calling the adapted vaulting category.
And now we are talking about Great Britain. They have two options for handicapped vaulters: They can either compete at the regular season or on the RDA category, which is dedicated to adaptive vaulting.
Para vaulters are included in all regular competition from local events up to the British championship. They can compete in walk squads, walk individual or pre-novice squad which is a canter-walk test (compulsories in canter: Basic seat, bench and leg over the neck and a freestyle in walk. If a vaulter is able to compete in other classes, for example completely in canter, then they are also allowed to do this (we had such an example from France lately).
For forty years the “Riding for the Disabled Association” (RDA) has been part of the equestrian sports in Great Britain. They describe their work as follows: “At RDA, our horses and ponies provide therapy, achievement and enjoyment to people with disabilities all over the UK.” We can indeed see a lot of enjoyment in this video:
We see that they do the same exercises as all other vaulters. The biggest difference is that they have to wear a helmet. The RDA is organizing a British championship with classes in walk and on the barrel.
At competitions under the British Equestrian Federation the disabled vaulters are not divided into categories because there aren’t enough entries. This makes judging difficult sometimes. Athletes are allowed to compete in both events from RDA and from BEF. At all tests males and females compete together. The RDA categories has three age categories and also no separation by disability. The vaulters can compete as individuals and since 2016 as teams.