Dec 06, 2018

Board of Governors Meeting Kicks Off 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff , Jessica Duffy
The USEA Board of Governors. USEA/Jessica Duffy.

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:

  • Area IV – Jill Wagenknecht
  • Area VI – Lisa Sabo
  • Area IX – Kristi Radosevich

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.

  • In 2018, the Council made several recommendations to the USEF for ways that the blood rules could be changed that would both benefit horse welfare and be realistic to implement.
  • Brown reported on the progress made towards developing a system to rate footing at events. A penetrometer was used at several events this year to take readings of the footing. The Council will continue to work towards developing standards and a rating system over the coming year and will continue to examine ways to provide assistance to organizers.
  • Discussion about the relationship between officials and riders at FEI events yielded several ideas on how to improve communication, including establishing expectations between the officials and having the rider representatives speak with the officials prior to the event. The council plans to continue looking for solutions over the coming year to improve the working relationships between officials and riders.
  • Additional goals for next year include supporting Safe Sport by clarifying what SafeSport is trying to accomplish and working with parents to help them better understand SafeSport’s role and expanding the USEA mentorship program to further develop relationships between U18, U25, working professionals, and high performance riders.

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.

  • In 2018, there were 334 registered USEA collegiate members (up over 100 from 2017) and 30 affiliated colleges and universities.
  • The majority of affiliated colleges and universities were from Area II and Area III.
  • The 2018 USEA Intercollegiate Championship experienced a record year with 18 schools, 23 teams, and 87 horse-and-rider combinations.
  • Additional accomplishments in 2018 include outreach emails sent to 660 schools providing information on the Intercollegiate Program and eventing in general and the publication of an Intercollegiate Handbook detailing step-by-step processes for all aspects of the Intercollegiate Program.
  • In 2019, targeted outreach is planned for schools in Areas I, VI, VII, IX, and X as well as ICP instructors, Area trainers, and Young Rider coordinators, and the committee will investigate the possibilities for grants and scholarships for collegiate riders.
  • The Intercollegiate Championship will take place at Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Georgia, for 2019 and 2020 and return to the Virginia Horse Trials for 2021 and 2022.

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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.

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Weekend Quick Links: Aug 12-14

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

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