Compensating Aids and Special Equipment in Para-Dressage

Compensating aids are used by Para-Equestrians to compensate for the physical or sensory limitation resulting from their impairment, thereby enabling them to ride a horse.

Para-Equestrians are permitted to use special equipment when this has been formally documented and approved. The use of compensating aids will be discussed with individual riders during the classification process and will be documented on the Para Equestrian Classification card.

According to FEI compensating aids are Modifications and/or adaptations to equipment and Use of Aids.

Modifications and/or adaptations to:

-Saddlery (Saddles, Bridles/Reins, Stirrups)

-Riding attire (Riding footwear, Gloves)

-Other riding equipment (Whips, Spurs)

-Postural supports and orthoses (Straps to control body parts, Prostheses, Braces)

Use of Aids:

- Aids to compensate for sensory loss (Commander, Caller)


Examples of Compensating Aids

Salute with head only

Voice (only Grades I, II and III)

1 or 2 whips

Rising Trot

Hand Hold (Usually Grade I or II)

Velcro Strap over thigh going under the saddle

Orthosis and Braces



Riding without Gloves/Spurs

Riding with one hand


Compensating Aids regarding Stirrups:

-Elastic bands to hold the Stirrup in the right position

-Enclosed Stirrups/Stirrup Cages

-Elastic band/Velcro Strap from Girth to Stirrup

-Magnetic Stirrups

-Riding without Stirrups or with one Stirrup


Compensating Aids regarding Reins:

-Laddered Reins

-Rein Loops

-Split rein on double bridle

- Elastic Inserts on reins


Compensating Aids regarding Saddle:

-Deep Saddle, raised pommel, raised cantle

-Seat saver

-Knee/Thigh rolls/blocks


Laddered Reins, Riding without Gloves and with Whip


Loop Reins, Braces on neck and body and a Whip


Split Reins


Split Rein and Loop Rein combined


Elastic band to hold the Stirrup in the right position


Compensating Aids explained on New Zealand Para-Equestrian site

FEI's Compensating Aids pdf-file (11 pages) from 2014