The primary focus of para-equestrian sport is to provide educational and competitive opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities. Many disabled athletes compete, and even excel, in sports designed for the able-bodied, but para-equestrian in particular opens a world of competition to riders and drivers with even severe disabilities that might preclude them from other forms of sport, and does so while providing a structured, focused, and highly competitive environment.
In para-equestrian competition, each rider or driver is classified according to his or her functional ability and competitors are grouped accordingly to ensure a level playing field. Competitions can include dressage and driving. While it offers competitive opportunities for athletes of every level and aspiration, para-equestrian sport has evolved into an internationally-recognized event and para-dressage is held as part of the World Equestrian Games and at the Paralympics which take place every four years immediately following the Olympic Games and at the same venue.