J Cardiga Equestrian Academy with 7 athletes in the international ranking

There are seven equestrian athletes from the João Cardiga Equestrian Academy, with or without disabilities, who are included in the rankings of the FEI-International Equestrian Federation (

In the Dressage discipline, in the junior level FEI, they appear; Beatriz Gonçalinho / Dante (401st position), Rita Rodrigues / Festina 31 (402th), Carolina Gonçalinho / Bingo (417th) and Beatriz Reto / De Plaisir, for a possible participation, on behalf of Portugal in the European Championship of Teaching to be held in Fontainebleau (France) from 7 to 15 July 2018.

In the discipline of Pradressage (Adapted Riding), they are; Inês Alemán Teixeira / Giraldo da Sernadinha (16th place in grade III and 66th in general), Sara Duarte / Daxx du Hans (14th place in grade II and 85th in general) and José Neves / Vendetto (27th place in grade I and General) will also be eligible for a possible participation in the FEI WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES to be held in Tryon - USA from 11 to 23 September 2018.

According to the direction of the Academy:

- "The sporting inclusion project," Riding for All ", has as one of the sporting objectives, the preparation of horses and riders for what we call the" Olympic and Paralympic Walk. "Now with the entry in the FEI ranking of these 7 sets, we can say that this vision is becoming clearer and clearer.

When in 2012, we started the 1st edition of the Dressage Poneis trophy, we launched the seed of this reality. This team and 4 athletes started their course at this time. We can say that Dressage Poneis is, therefore, a successful project.

Regarding Paradressage, despite all the difficulties in this area, achieving a team of 3 in the world ranking is a feat, only possible, due to the continued support of the Santa Casa Games since 2015 and another reason to be very satisfied with the work developed. "Concludes Maria de Lurdes, chairman of AEJC.

What is Paradressage?

Adapted riding is part of the Teaching or Dressage mode. It is intended for people with physical disabilities and consists basically of educational tests adapted to the degree of ability of each athlete, which are part of the Paralympic Games.

The championship is composed by tests that the athletes compete according to their degree of physical limitation, through a functional evaluation done by physiotherapists.

The riders are evaluated by physiotherapists and according to the capacity profile of each, they are placed in different degrees. There are 5 grades: Grade 1 and 2 correspond to exercise by step and / or trot, Grade 3 requires exercise in all three stages (pitch, trot and gallop) and Grade 4 and 5 requires work on two tracks (shoulders, shoulders -a-in, etc.), therefore a test with a reasonable level of difficulty. This grade (5) is intended for people with disabilities considered minor and the requirement in terms of riding is much greater.

Paradressage is as, or more important than dressage, the rigor of requirement is absolutely equal. In both disciplines the goal is to achieve perfection. That is, the perfect understanding between two beings


The Santa Casa Games are the main sponsor of the Equestrian Academy, centralizing this support to the athletes of the Cardiga Paradressage Team. Sara is on her way to Tokyo 2020 in what will be her third Olympic participation.

The João Cardiga Equestrian Academy has an ambitious international sporting project called "Riding to Tokyo 2020". The main objective of this project is to prepare and qualify his team of seven riders from Paradresage, most with cerebral palsy, for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Throughout this partnership, there were several situations in which the performance of the athletes was shaken by contextual situations.

In order to respond to these specific needs of the athletes, the Santa Casa Games promoted a pioneering protocol between the Sant'Ana Hospital and the João Cardiga Equestrian Academy. Through this protocol, the Hospital began to provide specialized monitoring of sports psychology to the athletes of Paradressage of the João Cardiga Equestrian Academy.

"A fundamental support"

The first athlete to benefit from this support was Sara Duarte, who has been followed in the last six months by Valdemar Barbosa, a psychologist at the Sant'Ana Hospital.

Sara Duarte is 34 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. He had, by medical indication, his first contact with equestrianism at the age of 7, when he experimented with hippotherapy (therapy based on coexistence between the person and the horse). Since then his passion for horses and riding has grown and grown, as well as fitness for sport.

At the age of 15, she started practicing Paradressage and at age 24 had her first Olympic experience with the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She is a paralympic paragliding / equestrian paraglider. She is on the Paralympic trek for her third Olympics and so goes represent Portugal once again in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games.

She is a successful rider and has always been very disciplined when she is able to keep her studies and practice. Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences, is able to reconcile his profession of pharmaceutical technique with the practice of the modality.

I was looking for a while ago and the support of the Santa Casa Games made it possible to fill this gap I felt, I hope to have a more focused performance, achieve the goals my goals and practice a healthier competition. "

Fundamental is also the adjective found by Valdemar Barbosa to talk about the importance of constant follow-up to these athletes: "You can not really get to the point where it is said, this athlete is working and does not need more follow-up. work, the coach and the physical trainer, the psychologist must follow a continuous line in time. There are always new situations in the daily life of the athletes that must be constantly worked (reestablishment of objectives, control of daily activities, management of injuries , expectations management, etc.). "

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Since she began to be accompanied by the psychologist at the Hospital of Sant'Ana, the athlete feels that she gives more attention to details of physical preparation, "I do a job of internalizing my physical and emotional capacities, and I have learned to become aware and to arrange alternatives, "he says.

The motivational aspect of the project is praised by Valdemar Barbosa. The psychologist argues that this protocol "is of the utmost importance, mainly because this relationship of complicity originates a very relevant situation for athlete performance, trust." The athlete who relies 100% on his horse, that is, that he knows that he is able to perform the tasks that are asked of her, she is a better athlete prepared to do any test, since she will be more focused on the controllable aspects of the competition ".

One of the characteristics of the Paradressage is the emotional relationship between the athlete and the horse. Sara Duarte recalls that "in the sporting context of high competition, the reinforcement of the intervention of sports psychology is fundamental for the improvement of performance and for an increase in the intensity of the relationship between horse and athlete."

The athlete confidently felt "very difficult to overcome the loss of my horse" Napolitano ", later I realized that when I lost it," I knew how to win but did not know how to lose "and as a high-level athlete I had to learn to know lose to win again and want to create a strong relationship and complicity with my new horse "Daxx Du Hans" Today, I think I'm on the right track! ", says confidently.

The challenge ahead is the Tokyo 2020 Games. Valdemar Barbosa believes that with the work developed "the athlete will come to Tokyo to know herself better as a competitor, and will be able to deal better with the stress factors inherent to the competition. She will have psychological routines that have helped her better prepare the tests, better control her anxiety and appreciate more the competitive situation ".

Sara points to the podium in what will be her third Olympic participation: "As athletes we have the dream of reaching the medals, however, to get the 5th place in Beijing, it was almost like getting to the medal! I am now stronger, confident and I know I have a good horse, with a good level and although we know the level of international competition, and I occupy the 11th place in the World Ranking, of grade 2, of the FEI (International Equestrian Federation), our team works hard and daily to ambition the medal, "he concludes.

May 8, 2018


"Horse gaming" join Alcoitão Rehabilitation Medicine Center and João Cardiga Equestrian Academy

On 29 March, at 12.00, the João Cardiga Equestrian Academy (AEJC) will host another group of users of the Center for Rehabilitation Medicine of Alcoitão (CMRA), which are part of the "Horse Games" program, whose main objective is to provide free sessions of Therapeutic Riding to users of the Rehabilitation Medicine Center of Alcoitão (CMRA.

"Games Acavalo" is a pilot experience, which will give the possibility to about a hundred people with disabilities, to know and to experience the Riding. On this day, people with various pathologies are present, such as; Lesions vertebro medular, tetraparesis, autism, etc.

Throughout the 25 years of work of the AEJC, within the scope of inclusive Equitation - Equitation for All and Sport Equitation, this institution knows better than anyone else that the lack of opportunities for equestrian sport adapted is a national reality that must be reversed. Changes are needed in order to boost the adapted equestrian sport, as well as access to the benefits of riding to EVERYONE. Commemorating the same values, AEJC, in partnership with the Santa Casa Games, created this project during the one-year trial period.

The main objectives of the initiative are: To make known the Therapeutic Equestrian and Equestrian Sport Adapted to the users of the CMRA; Raising awareness of the potential of riding as a sporting activity; Raise awareness of the therapeutic, motor, motivational, educational and / or recreational potential to improve the quality of life and promote inclusive riding and will also serve as a model for attracting new talent for sport riding.

João Cardiga Equestrian Academy continues on the "Olympic and Paralympic Walk"

featuring Jogos Santa Casa support

A group of six athletes, with or without disabilities, from the João Cardiga Equestrian Academy, will participate in the CDN and CPDN-Dressage and National Paradressage Competition, to be held on 17 and 18 March, on the Estoril Coast.

Representing the J Cardiga Academy will be the following sets:

For the Cardiga Paradressage Team, Sara Duarte / Daxx du Hans, Grade II, Inês Alemão Teixeira / Giraldo da Sernadinha, Grau III, José Neves / Vendetto C and Rita Lagartinho / Oposta de Foja, both of Grade 1. Rita Rodrigues / Festina 31 e Beatriz Reto / De Plaisir, compete in the Junior FEI, representing the Cardiga Dressage Team.

João Pedro Cardiga, sports director of the Club, assumes the leadership of the teams, counting on the important support of the assistant coach João Monteiro.

The João Cardiga Equestrian Academy is the only equestrian institution in Portugal, which can assert itself as a pioneer in the training of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, thus becoming a true example of inclusion by equestrian sport.

To form competitive athletes, with and without disabilities, from 93 in 2017 the Academy approved with maximum mark 6 athletes in the examination of Sela 7, classification that gave them access to the international competitions - the first step for the long "Olympic" , which expects some of these young people.

In the Paralympic Walk, the Academy began in 2015 the "Ride to Tokyo 2020" project, which is supported by the Santa Casa Games as the main sponsor. This ambitious project intends to qualify a team of 3 to 4 sets that guarantees the presence of Portugal in the maximum exponent of the sport competition - the Paralympics.

At the same time, the Academy continues its work in competition sports training with more than a dozen mini-athletes from 6 to 15 years of age, competing at the national, junior, junior and junior levels in Dressage PONEIS. The Dressage Pony Trophy will start on April 29th.

Given the inclusive nature of the Academy, athletes with intellectual disabilities are not left out. The first Special Olympics Horse Riding event to be held on April 18 in Setubal will count, as usual, with a significant group.

15th Special Dressage, Paradressage and Work Equitation Teaching Contest

The 2018 sports calendar of the João Cardiga-AEJC Equestrian Academy in Barcarena will open on January 14th with the 15th Special Dressage, Paradressage and Work Equitation Teaching Competition, this year also open to external athletes.

The Special Competitions are sporting events where INCLUSION is one of the main purposes.

Evaluating the quality of the training that is being given to the students, training for the official tests and / or the saddle exams, creating the opportunity to test the taste for the competition, are also objectives of these competitions.

In these tests the students of the Academy, will still have to obtain the minimums that allow them, in the future, to participate in external competitions. In this way, AEJC intends to raise the quality level of its Sports and Competition Division.

It should also be noted that in 2017 216 students participated, with or without disabilities, in a clear demonstration of the importance these competitions represent for practitioners.

In parallel, there is a Show Room with the presence of brands that sponsor the event, namely, World of Riding and By Mum's Hand

Registration is open until 10 January. The 16th Special Contest is scheduled for February 11th.

Free entry to watch!


For the second time, Sporting Clube de Portugal, welcomes athletes of the João Cardiga Equestrian Academy. Having embraced the Horseball team in 2004, it is now the turn of Paralympic Athlete Sara Duarte to be invited to sign a contract to represent the brand.

Sara Duarte is an Athlete of Paradressage / Adapted Riding, Grade 2 and trains at the João Cardiga Equestrian Academy, since 1997, where she has built her sports career, with the support of the Santa Casa Games, the main sponsor of the Cardiga Paradressage Team ..

The athlete and her team are now hoping that this partnership will contribute to the sustainability of their sports career, whose main objective will be to represent Portugal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games along with the athletes included in the "Ride to Tokyo" 2020 ".

Sara Duarte has signed a contract with the Leonino Club until 2020.