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Tue, 2016-12-13 10:37

What You Missed at the 2016 #USEAConvention

The Diplomat Resort & Spa. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

That's a wrap on another fantastic USEA Annual Meeting and Convention! This year over 300 members joined us at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, December 7-11 for a long weekend of discussion, education and fun! If you were unable to make it to Florida, keep reading to catch up on everything you missed:

Richard Jeffery Gives Early Convention Goers the Skinny on Show Jumping Course Design

The demo rider tests out the show jumping course. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo. 

On Wednesday, the earliest Convention participants joined esteemed course designer Richard Jeffery for a comprehensive clinic on show jumping course design. He walked designers, licensed officials and competitors through the process of designing a course, from laying out the course, to placing combinations and deciding on fence type during the classroom session, before traveling to Tiffany Morrissey’s East Wind Farm to get hands on. He gave a laundry list of helpful tips for creating your own courses, which you can find here.  

Positive Reports from the USEA Board of Governors  

The USEA Board of Governors reported on another positive year for the U.S. Eventing Association. Starter, membership and competition number were all up. 2016 was a record year for contributions with the USEA and USEA Foundation raising $326,000. The USEA, Inc. is very healthy financially, ending the year with a net income of $162,987. The Membership Committee also spoke to the astounding success of the Intercollegiate Program, which is already boosting membership in the 18-24-year-old range, which typically sees the biggest drop in membership. Click here for the notes from Friday’s meeting and click here for the notes from Sunday’s meeting.

Dr. Kent Allen Teaches Refresher Course on USEF Veterinary Rules

Chairman of the USEF Veterinary and Drug and Medications Committees Dr. Kent Allen joined competitors and owners at Convention to remind them of critical veterinary rules. Here are a few of the more recently added. No kinesiotape or self-adhesive patches may be used on any horse while mounted at any time of competition. This does exclude nasal strips, unless prohibited by specific discipline rules. Starting December 1, 2017, all competitions must provide an isolation stall and be prepared to follow isolation protocol. Shockwave therapies cannot be performed within three days of a competition, and intro-synovial (joint) injections are not allowed within four days. Click here for his complete list of reminders.

Adult Amateur Discussions

Since the successful discussions at the Sports Summit held at the 2015 Convention, the USEA has seen a revival of open conversation regarding the amateur rider. As the largest proportion of membership, the USEA strives to listen to and implement their suggestions. The biggest issues identified by amateurs include cost, level creep and maintaining the inviting nature of the sport. Newly appointed USEA President Carol Kozlowski urges amateurs to continue to be an active part of the discussion. She recommended any issues or suggestions be relayed to Adult Rider Coordinators of each Area.

2016 Accomplishments Celebrated at Year-End Awards Ceremony

Jennie Brannigan recieves the "Big Becky" grant. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo. 

The Annual Awards Ceremony is one of the most anticipated events of Convention. Recognition was given to those who topped the Bit of Britain Leaderboard and grant recipients were revealed. The biggest winners were Jennie Brannigan and Mackenna Shea who were awarded the Rebecca Broussard International and National Developing Rider Grants, respectively. Mighty Nice was named the Jump for Joy Horse of the Year, Boyd Martin was recognized as the World Equestrian Brands Rider of the Year. Click here to read more.

By-Law Updates and a New President at the Annual Meeting of Members

In the USEA Annual Meeting of Members, we bid a heavyhearted farewell to Diane Pitts, who has served as the USEA President for the past three years, but we also excitedly welcomed incoming President Carol Kozlowski. Two additions were approved to Article 6 of the USEA By-Laws regarding committees. New Board members were also voted in including, Morgan Rowsell (Area II), Janis Linnan (Area VII), Alice Sarno (Area X), Darrin Mollett (At-large), Jerry Schurink (At-large), Max Corcoran (At-large) and Dr. Jennifer Miller (At-large). Click here to read all the updates from the Annual Meeting of Members.

Future Conventions

The 2017 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention will be held in Long Beach, California at the Westin (soon to be Marriott) Long Beach, December 5-10, 2017. The USEA Board of Governors also approved the location and dates of the 2018 and 2019 Annual Meetings. In 2018, the USEA is heading to New Orleans, Louisiana. This will be held December 3-8, 2018, and will also feature a Hall of Fame Ceremony. In 2019, the USEA will return to Boston, Massachusetts December 9-15 for the Association’s 60th Anniversary.

Town Hall and Summit Recap

At the 2015 USEA Convention, the first ever town hall was held and gave an opportunity for eventers from all aspects of the sport to come together to share their questions and concerns. Since then 10 town hall meetings have been held across the country and over 200 unique ideas were recorded and will be continually tracked in a document on the USEA website. While some topics will be addressed quickly, others may take extended periods of time. However, all of the ideas shared over the last year will be reviewed by both the executive committee and strategic planning committee because as past USEA President, Kevin Baumgardner says, “It is important for the members to not feel like you are screaming in the wind.”


The EquiRatings Seminar with Sam Watson and Diarm Byrne was one of the most well-attended meetings of the weekend as U.S. eventers are intrigued to see the work done by this new data analysis company. The Irish duo explained that America is the home of sports data, the second biggest segment of the data market and there is a huge gap in equestrian sports. The data analysis can be used to help with safety, media and high performance. Watson and Byrne focused this presentation on the media aspect and worked through their pre-analysis and day-by-day coverage of the Rio Olympics with a lot of interesting predictions and statistics. It is definitely worth checking out the history of their Twitter feed to see what they can do.  

David O’Connor Talks Strategy and the Future of the U.S. High Performance Program

David O'Connor. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo. 

The USEF recently announced that David O’Connor’s role with the U.S. High Performance Program would be changing, as he shifts into his role as Technical Advisor. He will now assume more management responsibilities, and in his first presentation in this role, he gave some insight into what the program will look like going forward. After a disappointing team ending to the 2016 Olympic Games, O’Connor explained that a “heart-wrenching” and “soul searching” review process commenced. He did assure everyone that, “the program has a way forward.” One that will involve a new look to the high performance lists with complete transparency. With less than 20 months until the FEI World Equestrian Games, find notes from his entire talk here.

Volunteer Incentive Program

Promoting and rewarding volunteerism has been a big focus of the USEA in the past year. The Volunteer Initiative Program (VIP) was tested in Area II this year, and will be rolled out nation-wide in 2017 thanks to the generous support of Sunsprite Warmbloods.  The program has a central website, and volunteers and event organizers can also coordinate via smartphone app. Visit the new website,

There were countless other open forums and seminars held during the 2016 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention. To catch up on all the action, click here for complete USEA Convention coverage.

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 HealthStandlee Hay ForageNutrenaAdequanDevoucouxCharles OwenSmartPakRebecca FarmMountain Horse, Auburn Laboratories Inc., Broadstone Equine Insurance AgencyEventing Training Online, Stackhouse SaddlesPoint Two Air JacketsGallops SaddleryProfessional’s ChoiceWorld Equestrian Brands, Bit of BritainCWDH.E. Tex Sutton Forwarding CompanyJump 4 JoyThe Fork at TIEC and more!

Click here for more information on Convention


USEA Official Corporate Sponsors