The USEA Board of Governors concluded the 2016 Convention with their final meeting on Sunday morning. Carol Kozlowksi opened her first meeting as the USEA President, sharing that she believed the weekend was an astounding success.
Dr. Suzanne Smith joined the Board of Governors to give an update on the Collapsible Fence Study. Because the highest risk of injury is associated with a rotational fall, the purpose of the study is to find the missing pieces involved in horse/fence interaction during these scenarios. The first step in the research process was to collect data. Very little data exists currently because proportionate to the number of safe rounds, rotational falls are rare.
Dr. Smith identified three key variables of the study: inertia, contact forces and contact velocity. Again, she reported that little exists of these topics, but in the last year the study has made tremendous steps in collecting this information. One of the biggest holes in data was horse information, so earlier this summer Dr. Smith made called all horse owners to complete a 10-minute survey to help establish a population for their rotational fall simulator. They have received 74 responses, but encourage riders and owners to complete the survey. The more data they can collect, the better. If you are interested in supporting the efforts of the Collapsible Fence Study, click here to access the survey.
Overall, Dr. Smith reported that the study is on track with planned efforts. Year one of the study was spent gathering this data, and year two will be focused on simulation. She and her team plan to use a Monte Carlo approach to explore the widest range of possibilities in the case of a rotational fall. So far, their results are consistent with past observations that overturning can be avoided when the contact velocity is below a crucial value. Their simulation aims to understand how fast, how far and in what directions frangible and deformable fences need to react in order to help mitigate the rare bad situations that initiate rotational falls. A more in-depth report of Dr. Smith’s study will be available on the USEA website in the coming days if you are interesting in learning more.
Harold Eichell then updated the Board on progress of the USEA Foundation. They have decided to register the USEA Foundation in all 50 states to make fundraising easier. Beginning next year, they will also begin to pay the salary of former USEA CEO and current USEA Foundation Development Officer, Jo Whitehouse. Whitehouse’s efforts were a crucial factor in what Eichell reported was one of the best fundraising years to date.
Kozlowski then opened a discussion about EquiRatings, a sports technology and data company looking to improve safety, high performance and promotion of equestrian sport. They have offered to work with U.S. Eventing to improve safety via their revolutionary algorithm. They currently hold an agreement with Eventing Ireland, where they have seen a large decrease in falls since the inception of their agreement. Many Board members including Kozlowski, Doug Payne, Eric Markell and Rick Wallace, spoke in favor of a relationship with EquiRatings. The Board approved USEA CEO Rob Burk to receive a full proposal from their team and for discussions on cost to be facilitated between the USEA and USEF.
Through conference call, Jonathan Elliot reported that the Organizers’ Committee expects the new Modified division will take a year or two to grow as Organizers begin to offer the level. A few events have already stepped forward, but some are hesitant as they gauge interest from their local riders.
USEA Director of Membership, Jennifer Hardwick reported that this year’s Convention saw 368 attendees. The 2017 Convention will be hosted in Long Beach, California at the Westin (soon to be Marriott) Long Beach, December 5-10, 2017. She also led discussions on host and locations of the 2018 and 2019 Annual Meetings. It was approved by the Board to host the 2018 Annual Meeting and Hall of Fame Gala in New Orleans, Louisiana December 3-8, 2018, and the 2019 Annual Meeting and 60th Anniversary in Boston, Massachusetts December 9-15, 2019.
The USEA would like to thank all of our members who joined us in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this year. We hope to see you in California in 2017!
About the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention
The USEA Annual Meeting and Convention takes place each December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by eventing enthusiasts. The 2016 Annual Meeting and Convention is taking place at the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. December 7-11, 2016.
Thank you to our amazing lineup of sponsors that make this event possible: Merck Animal Health, Standlee Hay Forage, Nutrena, Adequan, Devoucoux, Charles Owen, SmartPak, Rebecca Farm, Mountain Horse, Auburn Laboratories Inc., Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Eventing Training Online, Stackhouse Saddles, Point Two Air Jackets, Gallops Saddlery, Professional’s Choice, World Equestrian Brands, Bit of Britain, CWD, H.E. Tex Sutton Forwarding Company, Jump 4 Joy, The Fork at TIEC and more!