Letter to USEA Members

November 3, 2023

A Letter to USEA Members,

For over 64 years the USEA has been an efficiently run organization. Our original goals and mission remain largely unchanged. To support those, we offer numerous educational programs for amateurs, professionals, adults, and young riders. We operate the only U.S. educational programs specifically designed for eventing officials and eventing coaches. The USEA contracts with and funds U.S. Equestrian to regulate all recognized and endorsed levels of the sport. We also provide services to competition organizers such as pre-competition qualification checks, risk management reports, prize list submission and USEF compliance checks that are not offered by any other USEF affiliate, which reduce the costs for events. We provide these and numerous other benefits with a small staff and countless volunteers. For a list of the majority of these services, please scroll to the bottom of this letter. All these services cost money, and over the last several years such costs have grown exponentially due to inflation.

The USEA has held zero long term debt since the Association headquarters were built in the ‘90s. Your member dollars have made this possible. Today we write to provide you guidance on why member fees charged by the USEA have risen for the 2024 competition year.

From 2020-2023 our sport has not been isolated from the affects of rising inflation including increased fuel costs, COVID, equine neuro herpes outbreaks, vesicular stomatitis outbreaks, extreme weather, and a sluggish economy. This confluence of events has exacerbated a decline in starters with a corresponding erosion in memberships. Through all this the USEA has worked hard to keep spending in check, although still subject to the effects of inflation. Our financial situation over the 2020-2023 period benefited greatly from two U.S. Government PPP grants, and an Employee Retention Credit from the Small Business Administration.

As we project our budget for 2024 and beyond there are no additional government grants or credits available. Given the decline in the Association’s two most significant revenue sources membership and starters (70%-75% annually), the USEA Board of Governors had the option of slashing programs or raising fees. While some programs have been cut, the Board looks to you, our members and supporters, for your financial support once more.

While no fee increases are ever desired, we have carefully measured our anticipated expenses and set these rates at conservative levels. As such you will notice an increase to some membership rates, horse registrations, and program specific fees. We hope that you will see these as limited in their overall significance. We will continue to work to limit our costs and identify strategies to reinvigorate starters and members while offering world class programs for our sport. Our community is strong and we genuinely appreciate your willingness to be active and dedicated members of the USEA.

Sincerely,

Lou Leslie, USEA President

Brian Murray, USEA Treasurer

Rob Burk, USEA CEO



Benefits for All USEA Members

  • Sanctioning and monitoring of competition standards and specifications of courses
  • Voting rights
  • Development and maintenance of national competition calendar, Omnibus, and schedule
  • Competition course standardization creating an even playing field across the nation
  • Funding of an Equine Drugs and Medications program to further ensure an even playing field for competitors
  • Well-trained and educated officials
  • Guarantee of medical personnel, safety protocols, and competition review for rider and equine safety at all competitions
  • Educational clinics, camps, seminars, derbies, and schooling shows are able to register for insurance coverage and for assistance with liability release forms
  • Advocacy for the sport of eventing to local, state, and national leaders
  • The ability for members to have their voices heard and to share in the governance of their sport
  • National and international news, photos, and information about the sport through useventing.com
  • Easy access to live scoring and competition information from recognized competitions
  • Online competition and educational videos
  • Weekly USEA eNewsletter
  • Bi-weekly USEA Podcast
  • Database maintenance of statistical sport and member information, including results dating back to 1974
  • Online Rule Book including USEA policies and USEF Rules and Regulations
  • Historical competitive records on all horses
  • Access to a comprehensive eventing library at the national headquarters in Leesburg, Virginia, open to members year-round during office hours
  • USEA Members have free access to the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels through their online portal.
  • Access to the USEA Member Rewards Program. Log into your member dashboard to obtain a full listing of your member benefits
  • Acknowledging USEA Volunteers’ commitment to the Sport by providing them with a Digital Membership
  • Ability to compete at all recognized USEA Horse Trials from Starter level to Advanced
  • Ability to compete in USEA programs, series, and championships
  • A subscription to Eventing USA, the only award-winning educational magazine with articles, profiles, competition reports, and photos recognizing member achievements dedicated to the sport of Eventing in the U.S.
  • Full access to the USEA website with horse and rider competitive records
  • Verification of qualifications for competition levels and championships
  • Eligibility for USEA Horse and Rider Awards Programs
  • Eligibility for USEA Leaderboards
  • Eligibility for Adult Rider and Junior/Young Rider educational programs
  • USEA Decal
  • Horse Registration, Transfer of Horse Record Manager, Change of Name
  • Ability to join the Interscholastic Eventing League, Intercollegiate Eventing Program, Emerging Athletes U21, Classic Series, Eventing Affiliates, and to submit team rosters and obtain results
  • Manage and maintain the Blue Ribbon, Rider Achievement Awards, and the Eventing Medal program for all competitors
  • Free access to the Eventing Companion App
  • Reduced rate to attend the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention
  • Ability to compete at the AEC, Area Championships, YEH Championships and qualifiers, and NEH events
  • Eligibility for all USEA Foundation, Grants and Awards
  • Recognition of competitive and volunteer accomplishments at a Year End Awards/Gala during the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention
  • Access to educational seminars and networking opportunities for members, sponsors, and vendors
  • Professional and courteous support from USEA Senior Director of Membership and additional support staff
  • Professional IT support from USEA Senior Director of IT and department staff

Benefits for Competition Organizers/Managers

  • Pre-screening of all entries to ensure rider/horse qualifications at the national level are met (only organization regulated by the USEF to do this for every competition within the sport)
  • Competition liability insurance which covers organizers, competitors, owners, officials, spectators, and volunteers, as well as similar insurance provided for educational activities registered with the USEA
  • All competitions serve as qualifiers for popular USEA championships
  • All competitions serve as qualifiers for annual USEA and Area points leaderboards and awards
  • Online entry system completely funded by competitors at industry-leading rates
  • Competition Management System completely funded by competitors at industry-leading rates
  • Free Volunteer Incentive Program to reward volunteers for their service to events
  • Grant program for installation of frangible devices
  • Basic training and testing of Safety Coordinators for competitions
  • Pre-screening of all entries to ensure compliance with U.S. Safe Sport (the only organization regulated by the USEF to do this for every competition)
  • Access to educational materials to assist in financing events, obtaining adequate insurance support, and other topics of interest
  • Access and education about grant programs available to events
  • Ongoing and regular support from USEA Competitions Department Senior Director and additional support staff
  • Daily (including weekends) support to competitions, officials, and safety coordinators in crisis management for eventing competitions and activities
  • Delivery of Dressage tests to all recognized events to organizers

Benefits for Young Riders

  • Eligibility for multiple young and junior rider-specific grant programs provided through the USEA Foundation (Wilton Fair Fund Grants, Essex Horse Trials Grants, Seema Sonnad Junior Rider Grants, Richard Picken Memorial Grant, MARS Bromont Rising Grants)
  • Eligibility for Emerging Athletes U21 program
  • Eligibility to participate in annual Youth Championships
  • Eligibility to participate in Young Rider educational opportunities locally and nationally
  • Eligibility to compete for annual junior and young rider championships (American Eventing Championships, Interscholastic Eventing Championship, Intercollegiate Eventing Championship, relevant USEF championships)
  • Introduction and access to other local Area members and access to youth programs leading to stronger community, and social camaraderie
  • Ongoing support from USEA Director of Programs and additional support staff

Benefits for Adult Riders

  • Eligibility for numerous grant programs provided through the USEA Foundation (Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grants, Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award, Le Samurai Fund, the Kim Meier “Kick On” Memorial Grant, the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion D’Angers Grant)
  • Eligibility to participate in annual Adult Team Championships at the AEC
  • Eligibility to participate in Adult Rider educational opportunities locally and nationally
  • Introduction and access to other local Area members and access to Adult programs leading to stronger community, and social camaraderie
  • Ongoing support from USEA Director of Programs and additional support staff

Benefits for Officials

  • Educational program for all prospective and current officials
  • Distributions of ERQI Amber List to competition officials in advance of all competitions
  • Eligibility for multiple grant programs managed by the USEA Foundation (Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust Going Forward Grants, Haller Educational Scholarships, Tremain Cooper Fund for Cross-Country Design)
  • Ongoing support from USEA Senior Director of Education and additional support staff
  • Officials’ educational seminars at the USEA Annual Meeting
  • Timely updates on rule change proposals, new rules, and issues relating to officials
  • Educational articles for website and magazine

Benefits for Coaches

  • Access to education, certification, and continuing education of trainers and coaches
  • Eligibility to be certified as an eventing coach through the Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) the only eventing-specific coaching certification in the United States
  • Listing in the public directory of USEA Certified Coaches
  • Access to world-class educational opportunities to advance coaching skills
  • Full access to the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels
  • Eligibility for numerous grants and awards through the USEA and the USEA Foundation (Patrick “Packy” McGaughan Prize, Cornerstone Instructor’s Award, Sue Hershey Award, Mike Huber Award, the Cindy Burge Memorial ECP Grant, the Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust Going Forward Grants)
  • Ongoing support from USEA Senior Director of Education and additional support staff

Safety Efforts by the Association to Benefit Members

  • Management and distribution of all frangible devices to competitions in North America
  • Research into competition safety, equine health and welfare, rider equipment safety, obstacle design
  • Basic training and testing of Safety Coordinators
  • Mandates of medical personnel, safety protocols, and competition review for rider and equine safety at all competitions
  • Routine review and submission of rules to help reduce risk in the sport
  • Funding of the ERQI system to better inform all riders, parents, coaches, and officials on the success probability of horses competing at each level based on previous performance
  • Routine review of competition incidents for educational purposes and for the risk reduction of the sport by experts in a variety of fields related to cross-country design, rider safety, and equine safety and welfare
  • Work with other national and international organizations to reduce risk in the sport
  • Training and educational programming for competition course designers
  • Standardization of competition levels and inspection of courses by licensed officials at every competition
  • Professional and daily support for all competitions by USEA CEO and Manager of Competitions

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA