Organizing an event is a complex effort somewhat akin to orchestrating an entire Beethoven symphony.

Regardless of the size or scope of the competition, however, the satisfaction from putting on a top-notch competition is worth the effort. Interesting in organizing a USEA recognized event? Read on below to find out what you need to know!

How to Recognize Your Competition with the USEA

Refer to US Equestrian General Regulations, Subchapter 3 (GR-3) Competition License Applications for a complete explanation of the application, review and mileage exemption processes.

The first step towards having your competition approved by the USEA at the Modified, Preliminary, Intermediate, Advanced, and FEI levels is to contact US Equestrian for an application to host an eventing competition: USEF licensing is required at these levels. Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice levels are designated as USEF Endorsed/USEA Recognized competitions. Competitions only offering Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice levels must complete the USEA Endorsed Competition Application and remit the completed form to Hannah Seagle at [email protected].

Applications for licensed competitions must be received by US Equestrian no later than 240 calendar days prior to the start of the competition. Applications for endorsed competitions must be received by USEA no later than 240 calendar days prior to the start of the competition.

US Equestrian will forward the application to the USEA and upon receipt, the USEA will begin the application review process. The review process involves a seven-tier review system: organizers, area councils, the USEA Competitions, Calendar, & Rules Committee (CCRC), the USEA Executive Committee, the USEF Calendar Working Group (CWG), the USEF Eventing Sport Committee (ESC), and the USEF CEO/Competitions Committee. The process could take up to 142 days.

The USEA strongly recommends organizers contact their Area Chair where the competition is to be held ( The Chair and Area Council can assist in scheduling a suitable date compatible with other local competitions and help you plan a competition that meets USEA standards. Informing the Area Council ahead of time will also save time as the application moves from one committee to the next.

The most important part of an eventing competition is the cross-country phase. It’s the majority of a rider's final score and, by its very nature, requires the most work, personnel, and supervision. A USEF Licensed Eventing Course Designer is mandatory for Modified level and above. A certified Eventing Course Designer is required for Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice (to be certified, the designer must have attended a USEA Course Design Seminar, and then once every three years). A roster of licensed course designers is available on the USEF website or from the USEA office.

We recommend volunteering at an established recognized competition near you. The experience is invaluable and will give you a better understanding of what is involved with hosting a recognized competition. Also, contact the Area’s Organizers Representative - organizers know firsthand every detail needed for a successful competition; the names may be obtained on the website or by contacting the USEA office. The Organizers Guide was created by organizers, providing a comprehensive study of timelines and responsibilities to host a recognized competition.

Organizers of all registered competitions are strongly encouraged to participate in the area organizers' meeting, if one is held, where the area's schedule of competitions is mapped out.

Approved competitions will be listed on the provisional USEA online calendar. The organizer must register and compose a prize list page for posting on the USEA website. The event registration and prize list are due 30 days from the opening date for the competition. The event registration fee is $300.00; if offering Modified level or above, a USEF (US Equestrian) license must be obtained, endorsed only competitions are not required to obtain a USEF license, but must apply directly to the US Equestrian office,

In addition to meeting the conditions in accordance with the applicable USEF General Regulations, Rules for Eventing, and USEA Policies, the competitions must have an Organizer or Organizing Committee that includes or appoints, but is not limited to, the following: Chairman, Secretary, Dressage Steward, Cross-Country Steward, Jumping Steward, Safety Coordinator, Program Coordinator, and Publicity Coordinator. In accordance with USEA Policy, the organizer, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of an event must be a current full or life member of the USEA. USEA membership is not required of the show secretary, but the secretary must create an online account and obtain an ID# - this is free of charge. An ID# is necessary to add the secretary to the event profile and provide access to Xentry (USEA’s online entry system).

New events approved for recognition: A USEF Eventing Technical Delegate (TD) must be hired. The TD should make two visits, the first a planning assistance visit four to six weeks prior to the competition, then attends the competition itself, arriving a day early for final approval of courses and arenas. The first visit allows time for any adjustments, if necessary. Remember, the first impression riders have of a competition is crucial for its continued success. Note: In accordance with USEF Rules, the same TD may not be hired more than twice, consecutively.

The USEA will assist the first held new event offering only national levels with Technical Delegate expenses. Please contact the USEA for details. A new competition consists of the following: a) an entirely new event, with new organizational staff and over new cross-country courses; or b) an experienced organizational staff at a new facility developing all new cross-country courses (Note: an existing event adding a new level or an additional date to the calendar is not considered a new event for this purpose; or c) An all new organizational staff (organizer and secretary) taking over an existing cross-country site that has not been used for two or more years.

A USEF Eventing Judge must be hired as President of the Ground Jury. Additional judges may be selected from the USEF roster of Dressage Judges, Eventing Judges, and Jumper Judges.

The following fees must be collected from the competitor on behalf of the USEA and forwarded to the USEA office within 10 days of the competition: The Starter/D&M Fee for all levels, including FEI, is $25.00 per starter (a starter being defined as a competitor who starts the first phase of a competition: the dressage test at a horse trials and the first horse inspection at a CCI/Three-Day Event).

If your competition is licensed with the US Equestrian, an $8.00 Federation Admin fee is to be collected for each horse entered in the US Equestrian divisions (Modified level and above) and a Federation Show Pass fee of $45.00 for each rider, trainer, lessee, coach (if applicable), owner, or agent who is not a current USEF member. FEI levels have additional USEF fees itemized on the entry form. Note: USEF Endorsed horse trial levels (Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training) are exempt from Federation membership/non-membership and Federation Admin fee.

Each registered competition must email their list of entries, in the required template, at least one week prior to the start of the competition to the USEA Membership Department for verification at [email protected]. The Membership Department will verify USEA membership/horse registration, USEF membership, SafeSport Training, division eligibility, and competition qualifications. A chart of riders/horses who have been identified for missing any of the required membership/horse registrations, SafeSport Training, ineligibility, and missing qualifications, will be emailed to the secretary. The USEA office will reach out to the riders directly, but it is also the secretary’s responsibility to follow up on the findings of the report.

Each registered competition must email the complete results for all riders (including HC rides) in the required template, with the required information to [email protected] within 5 days upon conclusion of the competition.

Both EventEntries and StartBox (the two online scoring programs currently available) have the required format for both the entry list and the results programmed into their system for easy remittance to the USEA.

A post-competition report with the USEA fees collected, copy of the event program (may be an online version emailed with the results), cross-country master jump sheet (also may be emailed), and any USEA memberships and/or horse registration completed at the competition, is due to the USEA office within 10 days upon conclusion of the competition.


  1. 1. The competition must be conducted in accordance with the USEF Rules for Eventing, the USEA Policies of Recognized Competitions, and the following observed: (a) The current dressage tests and the correct size arenas must be used. Warm-up areas must be adequate. (b) The cross-country course must meet the standards of the level offered, well-designed, well-built, and marked in accordance with the Rules for Eventing. It must have proper warm-up facilities and starting box in compliance with the Rules for Eventing. (c) The show jumping course must be at the standard of the level offered. It must be well designed and marked in accordance with the Rules for Eventing. (d) USEA membership and horse registration is required at all levels of horse trials three-day event, and FEI levels.
  2. For Modified level and higher, the competition must also be licensed with US Equestrian (USEF).
  3. The personnel conducting the competition must be of the requisite number and experience and the following observed: (a) The ground jury must be selected from USEF roster of Eventing Judges, and any additional dressage judges must be selected from USEF roster of Eventing Judges or Dressage Judges. Additional show jumping judges must be selected from the USEF roster of Eventing Judges, Eventing Technical Delegates, Jumper Judges, or FEI Jumper Course Designer. (b) The technical delegate must be chosen from the USEF roster of Technical Delegates. *The above-mentioned rosters are available on the ( or contact the USEA office. (c) Must follow Article EV113 of USEF Rules for Eventing concerning qualified medical personnel who must be at the event during all stages of the competition. (d) A veterinarian must be on the grounds of an event during all cross-country and jumping tests. (e) Enough scorers and timers, each thoroughly familiar with his/her duties and responsibilities and properly equipped, must be appointed to ensure the efficient, proper conduct of the competition.
  4. The competition must have a program (paper or digital) that includes a current USEA advertisement or USEA membership page, and the following: (a) List of judges, officials, and the organizing committee. (b) Timetable of divisions and tests. (c) List of entries. (d) Specifications of each test (plan of the cross-country course, distance, and speed). (e) US Equestrian current association page.
  5. The USEA insurance program, upon registration, automatically provides liability coverage for the competition in accordance with the USEF General Regulations. Details of this program can be found here.

Any questions about USEA recognition should be directed to Hannah Seagle (703) 669-9998, extension 3008.

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