Special Olympics athletes who compete in the equestrian events learn to develop sports skills and gain the self-confidence to direct and control a horse. Athletes are able to compete in a variety of individual English and Western-style events and drill teams.
In addition to traditional events, athletes can participate in Unified Sports® drill teams. Unified Sports® is a program that assigns Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (partners) to the same teams for training and competition. During an equestrian competition, Unified Sports® drill teams consist of two Special Olympics athletes and two partners.
As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level and age (athletes are not separated by gender).
Stock Seat Equitation
Showmanship at Halter/Bridle Classes
Unified Sports Drill Teams
A1: Can perform walk, trot, and canter independently
B1: Can perform walk and trot independently
BS or B3: Can perform walk and trot supported
C1: Can perform walk independently
CS: Can perform walk supported
Trail Patterns & Rules
National Governing Body: Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)
Contact Kris Kelly with any competition routine questions
- At the 1987 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Indiana, 38 athletes competed in the equestrian sports competition; one year later equestrian was added as an official Special Olympics sport.
- Today there are at least 10,877 athletes from 73 Special Olympics programs competing in equestrian.
- Fifteen Minnesota delegations offer athletes the opportunity to train and compete in equestrian sports.