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.
"No matter how old you are, be open to all disciplines, learn how to ride a dressage horse, a gaited horse, a show jumper. Go fox hunting and point-to-pointing and horse showing. You’ll learn from all of them and when you do decide which discipline you want to do, you’ll be better at it anyway.”
The University of Findlay’s Three-Day Eventing Team was established in 2013, the same year USEA voted and approved the USEA intercollegiate program. The UF team has over 30 members encompassing a variety of majors at the university. The team has access to two indoor arenas, a large outdoor arena, and 70 acres of on-site cross-country fences.
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.