The 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention featuring the 7th annual USEA's Eventing Hall of Fame began this afternoon with the first of two USEA Board of Governors meetings in addition to the first educational sessions and open forums of the weekend.
Board of Governors Meeting
The USEA Board of Governors are only able to meet in person two times per year and the first meeting of the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention proved to be a robust session. USEA President Carol Kozlowski called the meeting to order and then voted to set the agenda. Kozlowski delivered her President’s report with highlights – and lowlights – of the year.
A major talking point from Kozlowski, as well as in CEO Rob Burk’s and Treasurer Morley Thompson’s reports, was the loss of 28 events this year which caused starters to be down by 3,272 (7.6%). This loss was caused mostly by weather-related cancellations, but also from some events cancelling permanently. A large portion of the USEA’s revenue comes from the starter fee received from each event. If an event has to cancel – or a rider withdraws – the USEA refunds the starter fee even if the event does not refund a rider’s entry. The USEA finished the year with a net loss, so has had to make some tough decisions to “tighten our belts” as Kozlowski said, and a “little tough love was necessary” to get the budget back on course for 2019.
In 2017 the Board voted to approve funds for safety and education projects and three projects were selected. Both the jump judge video and USEF frangible program completely used their funds, but LandSafe wasn’t able to use all of their money due to the restrictions the Board placed on the amount of money spent in each Area. The Board voted to approve the expansion of the use of funds so that LandSafe can utilize their entire grant and continue to educate more USEA members.
The Board voted to approve the incoming Area Chairs:
While many of the committees will be meeting this week and will report back on their decisions on Sunday, there were a few that did have action items to report on to the Board today.
Dawn Robbins, Vice President of Membership and Program Development, reported on the Adult Riders and their push to host Adult Team Challenges in every area. She explained that while the Adult Team Championship (ATC) held annually at the American Eventing Championships (AEC) is a wonderful experience, it isn’t feasible for all adult riders due to location. The Adult Rider Committee would like to model the ATC after the North American Youth Championships (NAYC) and use grant funding to only send the best adult riders to compete in the ATC after qualifying in their Area’s Adult Team Challenge.
The Chair of the Equine Medical Research Committee, Denise Dailey-Thomas, reported that the funds were distributed to the research studies voted on in August. She then discussed that the committee researched different entities besides the Morris Animal Foundation to donate the money to in order to make the studies more relevant to eventing. However, Morris is working to find studies that will benefit sporthorses and in addition, the Board voted to fund studies related to the USEA’s ongoing Cardiopulmonary study.
The USEA Foundation report was presented by USEA Chief Development Officer Jo Whitehouse. She reported that $893,000 total was raised in 2018 (which included $500,000 from David Lenaburg for the Wilton Fair Grant and $70,000 from Jerome Broussard for the Rebecca Broussard Grants). The USEA Foundation has become the fundraising arm for the Association and asked the Board for guidance on where to focus their fundraising for 2019 as targeted fundraising is more effective. Several topics were discussed including safety, officials training, membership growth, competition viability, and horse welfare.
Joanie Morris and Erik Duvander presented a brief USEF High Performance report to the Board. Morris explained that USEF has spent the last year working on what the next strategic plan would look like. The full plan will be presented in the USEF Eligible Athletes Open Forum tomorrow, but Morris said that it is based on Duvander’s year of travel. “No one has put in more miles than [Duvander],” said Morris. “He is learning the American eventing in real time.” She also reported that they are working on creating more team environments for the U.S. to practice especially in light of not having a Nation’s Cup this year. In addition, the plan will work on reinvigorating our focus on horse power and horse ownership and figuring out where breeders fit in with all of this. The USEF has also been working hard with the USEA to make the Eventing 18 program more broad to create a pathway for more riders to have access to better training. Next year’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru are critical for qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020. They are currently working “fast and furious” on the venue and after visiting Morris said that we will need to send horses who can turn well!
The meeting wrapped up with a report from Ross Peddicord about the Fair Hill International CCI5*. He first reassured the Board that the event is going forward and their first CCI5* will be held in October of 2020 (alongside a CCI3*-L). The event will be moving to the steeplechase course and construction on the new facility will begin June 1 after the Memorial Day races. The Plan is to build a brand new racetrack with more sweeping turns and the main arena will be in the middle of the track. The plan is to build a brand new cross-country course that encompasses the track, Saw Mill Field, and some of the other of the 5,600 acres state-owned property. However, if the cross-country course isn’t completed in time they have the back-up plan of modifying the existing Fair Hill cross-country course. The builder is the same group who has built many Maryland sites including Camden Yards, so Peddicord has faith that it will come off in time.
The new Fair Hill will benefit many groups in addition to eventers, and Peddicord said: “ There is really huge support for this. Our facilities are so old that we need to invest to keep our billion dollar horse industry alive. We have 800 riding schools – more than the entire country of Sweden. There are more horses per square mile than any other state.”
Safety Concepts for Every Ride: Simulations for Reducing Cross-Country Rotational Falls
Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith and University of Kentucky graduate student Shannon Wood provided an update on the research project that developed a risk model that simulates rotational falls to demonstrate the effect of frangible devices. A more detailed report will be available soon.
Professional Horseman's Council Open Forum
PHC Chair Matt Brown provided an update on what the Council accomplished in 2018 and their plans for 2019.
Intercollegiate Open Forum
USEA Marketing Coordinator Claire Kelley and Intercollegiate Committee Chair Leslie Threlkeld gave a presentation on the Intercollegiate Eventing Program's performance in 2018 and goals for 2019.
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About the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention
The USEA Annual Meeting & 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 other eventing enthusiasts. The USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The 2018 Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 6-9, 2018. Visit the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention page to stay up to date on news, announcements, and details.
The USEA would like to thank Adequan, Devoucoux, Nutrena, Charles Owen, Standlee Hay, Merck Animal Health, SmartPak, Mountain Horse, Parker Equine Insurance, Rebecca Farm, Auburn Laboratories, Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Nunn Finer, World Equestrian Brands, Gallops Saddlery, Revitavet, CWD, H.E. Tex Sutton Forwarding Company, Trio Safety CPR + AED Solutions, Equestrian Athlete Camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and Hylofit for sponsoring the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
US Equestrian is pleased to announce The Event at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana will again host the 2020 Adequan North American Youth Championships (NAYC) for the discipline of eventing. Competition is scheduled to run from July 22-26, 2020.
Emily Hamel and Tyler Held met when Hamel was working for Phillip Dutton and Held was working as a vet tech for Sports Medicine Associates of Chester County. They quickly realized they had much in common, including their passion for self-improvement through fitness, nutrition, and meditation.
Five Rings Eventing, organizers of the MARS Great Meadow International, is pleased to announce the addition of a Preliminary division to the 2020 event, scheduled for August 20 to 23.
Town Hill Farm in Lakeville, Connecticut (Area I) hosts one horse trials each year at the end of August offering Introductory through Preliminary horse trials as well as USEA Young Event Horse, Future Event Horse, and New Event Horse classes.