In many areas, training for the Equestrian teams in Special Olympics begins in April. Equestrian events first became an official sport of Special Olympics in 1987 when it debuted at the World Games Event.
Equestrian teams provide Special Olympic athletes with the opportunity to learn to ride a horse, develop sport skills and gain self confidence. Events include all levels of riding experience as well as a variety of styles.
As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped into competition divisions according to ability level and age and gender when appropriate.
The Official Special Olympics Sports Rules for Equestrians govern all Special Olympics competitions. Special Olympics has created these rules based upon Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) rules for equestrians or National Governing Body (NGB) rules which are employed except when they are in conflict with the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules for Equestrian or Article I. In such cases, the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules for Equestrian apply.
Following is a list of official events available in Special Olympics. The range of events is intended to offer competition opportunities for athletes of all abilities. Programs may determine the events offered and, if required, guidelines for the management of those events. Coaches are responsible for providing training and event selection appropriate to each athlete’s skill and interest.
- Prix Caprilli
- English Equitation (required as a preliminary test)
- Stock Seat Equitation (required as a preliminary test)
- Western Riding
- Working Trails
- Showmanship at Halter/Bridle Classes
- Gymkhana Events
- Drill Teams of twos and fours
- Unified Sports Team Relays
- Unified Sports Drill Teams