Since 1959 the United States Eventing Association (USEA) has held 10 core values. Each core value acting as a staple that binds the nonprofit organization together, education could be described as the centerfold staple. Education is, in essence, what founded the USEA through the vision of Alexander Mackay-Smith. “To advance the sport of eventing through the education of riders, trainers, officials, and organizers, with the health and well-being of the horse of paramount importance,” is the USEA mission statement that has been carried out for 60 years. None of this would be possible without the hard-working volunteers that make up the USEA committees.
From frangible fence research to educating riders about training and endurance through Classic Series competitions, USEA strives to educate every member in its organization, and this is where committees come into play. Rob Burk, CEO of the USEA, explained, “The USEA does most of its work through committees.” From the big picture down to the fine details, some of the committees' work include the creation of the ‘Modified’ level, the decision-making process for selecting the USEA Educational Symposium featured clinicians, the development of an Intercollegiate Eventing Handbook, the creation of eventingvolunteers.com, and the design of the Young Event Horse (YEH) scoring system.
A committee can be defined as "a group of people appointed to perform some service or function as to investigate, report on, or act upon a particular matter." The USEA has over 26 committees including the Instructors Certification Program Committee, Executive Committee, Safety and Equine Welfare Committee, Young Event Horse Committee, Future Event Horse Committee, Intercollegiate Eventing Committee, and more. The size of a committee can range from five to 25 members and each committee has a USEA staff liaison, an appointed chair or co-chairs, and a unique mission statement.
If necessary, committees can also form subcommittees, which is defined as "a subdivision of a committee usually organized for a specific purpose." For example, “the USEA Safety and Equine Welfare Committee is made up of three subcommittees: rider, horse, and cross-country,” Burk explained.
Similar to committees, USEA also has several task forces like the DX Eventing Task Force and Classic Three-Day Task Force. A task force is formed for one purpose and disbands when the job is complete. “Task forces are temporary,” Burk emphasized as a difference between a task force and a committee. “The American Eventing Championships (AEC) Organizing Task Force pops up and goes away every year depending on who the USEA has hired as an organizer.”
Committee chairs and committee members are appointed by the USEA President and approved by the USEA Board of Governors. Unless the committee votes a member off or they choose to step down, there is no set term limit for a committee chair or committee member. Each committee reports to a designated USEA Board of Governor member.
Ultimately, the USEA Board of Governors (BOG), a group of 21 members, has the final say in what gets approved or not. “Technically a committee could make a decision and the BOG could override the decision. The BOG is empowered through the USEA Articles of Corporation and the USEA Bylaws,” said Burk.
Although the BOG might make the final decision, the USEA “wants to have a board member on every committee. We tell every board member to get involved with any committee that interests them. Also, as a board member you have an automatic seat on any committee.”
One committee that works closely with the BOG is the Executive Committee and their mission statement is "to act on behalf of the USEA Board of Governors between board meetings in the areas of management and control of the Association." “The Executive Committee meets monthly and is empowered to make decisions when the BOG is not meeting. The Executive Committee is made up of 9-10 positions,” Burk described.
Committees, task forces, and the BOG – the USEA would not be able to function as a nonprofit organization without the dedicated individuals that make up these groups!
For more information on how the USEA functions as an organization, read Power Players of the USEA.
Click here to view a complete list of the USEA Committees.
For those that compete in a Hylofit USEA Classic Series Three-Day Event, what truly sets the competition apart from a regular horse trials is endurance day, where, in addition to cross-country, riders have the chance to experience the two roads and tracks phases and the steeplechase phase.
“We need to back up and look at the gut,” said Dr. Maureen Kelleher before diving into an explanation of the many different oral joint supplements on the market. “Digestion begins in the mouth. Salivary secretion starts to break things down as the horse chews things up and then swallows, and it ends up in the stomach. We’ve got more digestion occurring in the stomach and the small intestine, and absorption starts to occur in the small intestine and continues in the large intestine.”
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event (FHI) will host the U.S. Equestrian CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Fall Eventing Championships along with the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships presented by Dubarry, October 17-20 at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area. The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International will award $50,000 in prize money.