The Annual Meeting of Members is the backbone of the USEA Convention and for the Association the most important part as it gives members a look inside the USEA. This year’s Annual Meeting was called to order by USEA President, Carol Kozlowski who introduced Tink Eichell, secretary of the USEA. Eichell then established a quorum was present and there was a vote to approve the minutes of the 2016 Annual Meeting of Members.
Kozlowski thanked Area VI for hosting and welcoming us all and then recognized the members of the USEA Board of Governors who have been working tirelessly for the Association all year. She also recognized all of the committees and committee members who are an integral part of the USEA. Kozlowski shared a few highlights of the year including a huge thank you to The Event at Rebecca Farm for stepping in and being willing to host the 2017 North American Junior/Young Rider Championships. “The fate of our Young Rider championships is uncertain and the fact that they were able to keep that competition viable for another two years is really extraordinary,” said Kozlowski.
She welcomed Erik Duvander as the new U.S. Performance Director. “You have a hungry bunch of riders here sir. And some hungry fans. We know that Team USA is ready to do us proud and the WEG awaits. The 80 percent of our membership at the lower levels want this every much as the elite athletes under your guidance and we wish you every success in 2018,” said Kozlowski.
She also highlighted the success of the new USEA strategic plan and The Chronicle of the Horse safety roundtable. “We had particularly vocal criticism of the trends in our sport this year, as well. It’s my belief that when people care enough about what we do to speak up, it’s an opportunity for dialogue and an exchange of ideas. . . And believe me, there is still work to do. Lest we ever give the impression that we’ve become complacent and accepting of injury or death to horses or riders in this sport, we look to everyone who plays a part. . . We are and will continue finding ways to make the route to an event easier for everyone involved, without losing the character of our sport that brought us here in the first place. It’s not a them or us, it’s all of us. Everyone who cared enough to question how or why we’re doing something is giving us an opportunity to do it better and so we’re going to respond to that,” concluded Kozlowski.
Morley Thompson, Jr., then gave the USEA treasurer’s report which showed that the USEA is doing well fiscally and is strong financial footing. “The USEA is a charity – profit is not our goal,” explained Thompson, Jr. “Our goals are to fund and facilitate USEA’s charitable activities.” The financials from 2017 can be viewed here.
Katherine Cooper, chair of the Legal Committees then explained the voting procedures for the USEA including the proxies which were mailed to all members and the in-person voting. Following the voting a motion was made to ratify the actions of the Board for the year.
USEA CEO, Rob Burk, presented his report of the year which highlighted achievements of the various departments and staff including:
Several outgoing volunteers were honored by Kozlowski and presented with gifts of appreciation including: USEA Foundation Chair – Kevin Baumgardner, Area I Chair - Hilary DeAngelis, Area V Chair - Siobhan O'Brien, Area VII Chair - John Meriwether, Area VIII Chair - Cathy Wieschhoff, and Board of Governor members: Katherine Cooper, Leslie Law, and Rick Wallace.
Cooper was invited back to the podium in her role as the Chair of the Nominating Committee. In her report she introduced the nominees up for term renewals and new elections. The slate includes:
Area I John Bourgoin (2018-2020)
Area III Sharon Anthony (2018-2020)
Area V Debra Dealcuaz (2018-2020)
Area VIII Morley Thompson (2018-2020)
At Large Harold "Tink" Eichell (2018-2020)
At Large Doug Payne (2018-2020)
At Large John Staples (2018-2020)
A motion was made by Thompson, Jr. to elect the slate and Cooper seconded the motion. Following the vote by the membership the new Board of Governors is elected.
The full Board of Governors took a recess and presented the slate of officers for 2018:
Carol Kozlowski: President
Tink Eichell: Secretary
Morley Thompson, Jr.: Treasurer/ VP Administration and Finance
Mary Coldren: VP Safety
Doug Payne: VP Active Athletes
Jonathan Elliott: VP Competitions
Debra Dealcuaz: VP Area Affairs
Dawn Robbins: VP Membership & Program Development
Jerry Schurink: VP Education
A motion was made by Kozlowski and seconded by Eichell and the slate was voted in. Cooper then announced a new nominee to the USEA Foundation, Brian Murray, who was approved.
Following the business of the Association, Phillip Dutton came to the podium and introduced the 2017 USEA Rider of the Year, Boyd Martin, who was the keynote speaker of the meeting. In his presentation Martin spoke about his life with horses and the defining moments of his life and career. The presentation was well-attended and the full speech was played on the USEA livestream.
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 USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The convention is made possible through the support of sponsors: Adequan, Devoucoux, Nutrena, Charles Owen, SmartPak, Rebecca Farm, Mountain Horse, Merck Animal Health, Standlee Hay, Auburn Laboratories, Eventing Training Online, DG Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Point Two, Professional’s Choice, Bit of Britain, Staples Inc., World Equestrian Brands, Gallops Saddlery, RevitaVet, CWD, H.E. Tex Sutton Forwarding Company, and Parker Equine Insurance.
Learn more about the 2017 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention by visiting the Convention page on the USEA website.
Bellamy, an Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding of unknown breeding, came to Tamra Smith’s farm in Southern California with his mane half-way down his neck and filled with burrs. Bellamy had been sitting in a field for a little over a year after unseating several riders in a row and Smith, known for being good with tricky horses, agreed to take him on.
Pan Am Games team gold medalist Tamra Smith and Mai Baum and five-star pairs Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 and Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin headline a strong Advanced field when Twin Rivers begins an exciting season of eventing competition this weekend.
The USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) and Young Event Horse (YEH) programs have around 30 qualifying competitions each, and youngsters around the country are about to begin their seasons aimed at Championships.