The first USEA Board of Governors was made up of 11 members of the eventing community dedicated to educating equestrians about the sport and developing the sport’s structure at the national level. Today, the Board’s mission remains largely the same as it was in 1959, with its 21 members focused on ensuring the future of our sport through education of riders, trainers, owners, and officials, all while ensuring the health and well-being of the horses.
The members of the USEA Board of Governors represent all the different factions of the U.S. eventing community. “Think of it a bit like the U.S. Congress in its structure, but much more functional,” explained USEA CEO Rob Burk. “You’ve got equal representation for the 10 USEA Areas and then, of the remaining 11 members, one will be the president and the other 10 members represent the demographics of the sport. We’ve got amateurs, we’ve got professionals, we’ve got organizers, we’ve got officials, we’ve got owners, we’ve got a veterinarian. The nominating committee works hard to keep a nice equal representation.”
What’s the process by which a member of the eventing community becomes a member of the Board of Governors in the first place? It all starts with nominations by the members. “[When a seat on the Board opens up,] we put out a request for nominations,” said Burk. At that time, any USEA member is able to nominate any other USEA member for a seat on the Board. “We also talk with the Area Councils because we find that they are a really good way to find people who are willing to step into these leadership roles,” Burk added. “Those names all get put forward to the Nominating Committee, which is made up of a small dedicated group of members that ultimately submits the names of candidates for consideration. The committee will contact the nominees and inform them of the responsibilities of the position, making sure they are willing and able to serve.”
Once the final candidates for the open Board positions have been selected, the candidates are put forward to a vote at the Annual Meeting of Members at the USEA Convention in December and the membership votes on who will represent them on the Board. “We always ask if there are any other nominations before the vote takes place,” Burk said. “So, the membership can nominate someone else at that time as well.”
Typically, only 400 of the nearly 13,000 members are in attendance at the Convention, which is why proxy voting is so important. Members who will not be present at Convention can fill out the proxy form, empowering either a member of the Board of Governors or another USEA member to vote on their behalf.
Without further ado, please meet the 21 members selected by the membership to sit on the 2019 USEA Board of Governors!
At-Large, Carol Kozlowski, 2017-2019 – President
Carol Kozlowski brings a wealth of experience to the sport of eventing in her current role as USEA President. A graduate "A" Pony Clubber and college graduate with a B.S., Kozlowski has competed through the CCI3* level, holds her "r" USEF Eventing Judge license, and has coached the Area II Young Rider team to some of their most impressive results. As an active competitor for over 30 years, Kozlowski has been long-listed for the Olympics and was short-listed twice for the Pan American Games. One of Kozlowski’s major contributions to the sport was spearheading the effort to have an FEI rule regarding minimum weight for three-day events changed in 1997, an achievement for which she was named co-recipient of the Horseman of the Year award by The Chronicle of the Horse. Kozlowski is based out of her Mothersfield Farm in Avon, New York, currently serves as Vice President of the Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club, sits on the USEF Eventing Sport Committee, is in her final year of service as the President of the USEA.
Area I, John Bourgoin, 2018-2020 – Board Member
Growing up in New Brunswick, Canada and northern Maine along the U.S./Canadian border, John Bourgoin's riding life began with trail riding and competing in local Western horse shows. While attending college in Vermont, Bourgoin was introduced to the local hunter/jumper scene where he spent time learning how to ride in an English saddle and proceeded to enter the world of jumping horses. While boarding a horse at a local stable, Bourgoin also began volunteering and helping out with the Charlotte Pony Club. After nearly 40 years, he continues to be one of their main instructors and volunteers yearly for their annual Horse Trials. Bourgoin is still an active competitor and has developed and competed his own horses through every national level of the sport. He has also trained and coached riders from Beginner Novice to Advanced. For the last 25 years, he has been very involved in the Area I Young Rider program and several of his students have represented Area I as team members, earning team and individual medals at the North American Youth Championships. He continues to serve as a team selector and clinician for the program. In 2013, Bourgoin was the recipient of the USEA’s Cornerstone Award. Having retired from public school teaching after 38 years, Bourgoin now has the opportunity to work full time with clients and their horses. Bourgoin and his wife, Alice, own and operate Arbrook Farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
Area II, Morgan Rowsell, 2017-2019 – Board Member
Morgan Rowsell is a leading licensed cross-country course designer and builder, currently working with some of the most important U.S. competitive events and equestrian training facilities. Rowsell began his career working for – and then alongside – many of the most respected names in the cross-country world, including John Williams, Captain Mark Phillips, Mike Etherington-Smith, Tommy Brennan, and Tremaine Cooper. Having learned the ropes from the best, Rowsell went on to complete the rigorous intellectual and practical accreditations necessary to become an independent designer. Now successful in his own right, his experience includes projects in the U.S., Ireland, and Latin America. Rowsell is also an experienced equestrian who enjoys eventing, fox hunting, polo, and show jumping. He is married to Virginia Jenkins Rowsell, an Advanced Rider and former United States Equestrian Team (USET) competitor. They live with their two children in New Jersey.
Area III, Sharon Anthony, 2018-2020 – Board Member
Sharon Anthony graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Education and Sociology. She received her M.A. degree in Psychology and Educational Administration and Supervision and went on to teach Sociology and Psychology in the Metro Nashville Public Schools. She served as principal in Nashville’s largest high school for 14 years and retired as the Director of Staff Development for Principals and Teachers. Anthony came into eventing early on through the Middle Tennessee Pony Club. She has remained a long-term supporter as a rider, coach, and volunteer of their activities and event. She was one of the earliest members of the USCTA (now USEA) with a member number of 363. In 2016, she was awarded a USEA Governor’s Cup for her volunteer service to the sport. She served as a member and secretary on the USEA's Endowment Trust (now USEA Foundation) for six years and continues to serve as a member and secretary for the Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant selection committee. She is an ICP Level I Training instructor and a member of the Adult Rider program. As an active lower level rider, she twice finished second at the USEA Adult Team Championships in Texas. Along with her “fabulously supportive and genius husband,” Mike Weesner, they own Hardscuffle Farm in Primm Springs, Tennessee where they specialize in boarding retirement horses, raising premium horse hay for their farm and clients, and fostering puppies for the local humane association.
Area IV, Denise Dailey-Thomas, 2019-2021 – Board Member
Denise Dailey-Thomas lives on a 1,200-acre cattle ranch in Northwest Missouri from which she manages her residential rental properties. Dailey-Thomas spent 35 years working for various television stations or consulting for television groups, a career that fortunately supported her lifelong horse habit. She grew up riding western pleasure horses, and as a young adult was headed for the hunter/jumper discipline when she connected with a trainer who told her that after she ran her first cross-country course, she would be hooked on eventing. Since that first competition over 30 years ago, Dailey-Thomas has competed regularly at the Beginner Novice through Preliminary levels. Dailey-Thomas was a member of the Kansas City Longview Horse Park Board that helped to raise funds for the all-purpose arenas, new cross-country courses, and the permanent show office. She has a strong interest in course design and worked with Tremaine Cooper and Eric Bull on the design and construction of the courses at Longview. After her retirement, Dailey-Thomas wanted to increase her level of giving back to the sport and became USEA Area IV Chairman. She has served as the Area IV Board Representative since 2016.
Area V, Debra Dealcuaz, 2018-2020 – Vice President of Area Affairs
Debra Dealcuaz is an amateur rider from north Texas who has been riding since she was 2 years old. She served on the board of the North Texas Eventing Association for eight years, three of them as president and two as treasurer. She joined the USEA Board of Governors in 2014 and does double duty as she also serves as the Area V Treasurer. Dealcuaz is a member of the USEA Administration and Finance Committee and is chair of the Area Affairs Committee. Her lifelong passion for the sport resulted in her becoming a "r" USEF Technical Delegate in 2005.
Area VI, Eric Markell, 2019-2021 – Board Member
Eric Markell is founder and CEO of Markell & Company LLC, a business advisory service specializing in business strategy. Markell is a retired senior executive of Puget Sound Energy where he held positions as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Resources Officer, and Chief Strategy Officer. Markell has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Hudson Renewable Energy Institute since 2013. Markell, his wife, Ellen Ahearn, and their daughter, Alex Ahearn, have been continuously involved in competitive eventing since 2004. They have progressed together in the sport through leasing and ownership of a series of horses, including their current ownership of the German Sport Horse gelding, Mai Baum, acquired at auction in Bavaria from the Saxony State Stud at Moritzburg. Markell has been a regular attendee and supporter of events in both Areas VI and VII, and through his family’s ongoing support for Tamra Smith and the MB Syndicate horses Mai Baum, MB MaiBlume, and MB Maistein, has taken on the challenge to support their endeavors in high performance competition.
Area VII, Jonathan Elliott, 2019-2021 – Vice President of Competitions/Organizers Representative
Jonathan Elliott has been in the sport of eventing for over 20 years. He competed at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships three times, placing eighth in 1992 and winning a silver medal in 1995. Elliott was also the 1996 recipient of the Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Memorial Award, a United States Equestrian Team award for a young rider who has best represented the Team’s ideals of horsemanship and sportsmanship across all three disciplines. He continued in the sport, competing at the Burghley Horse Trials and Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI4*s. Currently, Elliott and his wife, Suzy, and their three children, Avery, Quinn, and Landon, run Aspen Farms in Washington, where they host two USEA recognized events offering Beginner Novice through Advanced. Elliott is an ICP Certified Instructor; chair of the USEA Organizers Committee and the USEF Calendar Working Group; a member of the USEF Eventing Sport Committee and USEF Emerging Athletes Working Group; a member of the USEA Competitions, Rules, and Calendar Committee; has coached the Area VII Young Rider Team; is the Area VII Organizer Representative; and has served as the chair of the Professional Horseman's Council.
Area VIII, Morley Thompson, Jr., 2018-2020 – Treasurer/Vice President of Administration and Finance
Morley Thompson, Jr. is an amateur rider from Cincinnati, Ohio. Thompson has been riding all his life and at an early age was introduced to eventing through Pony Club. As a young rider, he competed through the Preliminary level before his education and career triggered a break from consistent riding. He returned to fox hunting and eventing in the 1990s, rising back up to the Preliminary level, including completing a long format CCI*. Thompson has competed at four USEA American Eventing Championships and represented Area VIII at several Adult Team Championships. Thompson is a frequent volunteer at events and enjoys fox hunting as Master of Foxhounds at Camargo Hunt in Cincinnati. Holding a B.A. and an MBA in Finance and Operations, Thompson is General Manager of an automotive-related manufacturing company. He enjoys combining his love for eventing with his business skills to help on the Administrative and Finance side of USEA.
Area IX, Deeda Randle, 2019-2021 – Board Member
Deeda Randle literally grew up riding in the mountains in Northwest Wyoming; trail riding, working cattle, jumping, playing polo, and going on pack trips. Her love of dressage and eventing started when she attended Meredith Manor School of Horsemanship in 1974. Since that time, Randle has been active in promoting both sport and education in dressage and eventing. Randle was involved with the Mountain States Combined Training Association prior to Area IX being formed as an officer and active member. In those early days, many members helped build courses, lend show jumps, organized, and competed in an effort to have competitions to ride in. Randle’s volunteer work continued after the formation of Area IX. She has served as Area IX Chair on two different occasions for a total of seven years. Randle has also managed FEI events at The Colorado Horse Park as well as several smaller shows. She currentlyismanager of a dressage show in Cheyenne, Wyoming and holds licenses as a “r” USEF Eventing Judge and TD, “R” Dressage TD, and FEI Steward. Randle resides in Cheyenne, Wyoming where she owns and operates Randle Equestrian LLC. Randle Equestrian LLC is a small, custom lesson and training business with a focus on equitation, correct basics, and fun in the competition world.
Area X, Alice Sarno, 2017-2019 – Board Member
Alice Sarno began her love affair with eventing in the late 1960s and has been teaching, competing, and training ever since. She has brought up generations of riders into eventing. In her own competitive career, Sarno rode through the Advanced level and earned many accolades, including Area X Senior Rider of the year in 1987 and USCTA Appaloosa Sport Horse of the Year in 1992 and 1993. She has worn many hats in the eventing world, including organizer of the Coconino Horse Trials since 1991, Level III ICP Certified Instructor, Area X Adult Rider Coordinator, Area X Organizer Representative since 2014, and is currently running numerous schooling shows, unrecognized horse trials, and derbies at Carefree Farms, where she teaches, trains, and rides in Phoenix, Arizona. Sarno has a true love and passion for the sport and enjoys the opportunity to utilize her vast experience to support the eventing community on a national level by serving on the Board of Governors.
At-Large, Janis Linnan, 2017-2019 – Board Member
Janis Linnan has extensive competition, officiating, and managerial experience in the international disciplines of dressage and eventing. She currently officiates as a FEI 3*/4* Eventing Judge, “R” USEF Dressage TD, and FEI Chief Steward in dressage, eventing, and para-equestrian dressage, and has officiated and instructed throughout North and South America and the United Arab Emirates. Janis also officiated as a “R” USEF Eventing TD for over 10 years. Through clinics and under private instruction, Linnan’s students have successfully competed through the international levels of dressage and four-star eventing. In June of 2014, she was appointed by the USEF as the FEI Eventing Steward General for the United States. She also sits on the USEF Eventing Sport Committee.
At-Large, Mary Coldren, 2019-2021 – Vice President of Safety
Mary Coldren’s equestrian career began in the Western disciplines. She enrolled in the pre-vet program at Pennsylvania State University but decided after one semester that she did not want to be a vet. Switching to Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, she entered a breeding and business management degree program which was to stand her in good stead for the business she runs today. Coldren discovered eventing and began volunteering at the Radnor Hunt Three-Day Event as the barn manager. When the event switched to a horse trials, Coldren was asked to be the secretary, which she did willingly. That was the beginning of her new business as an event secretary to numerous events in Area II. She now handles events of all levels, including the Fair Hill International Three-Day Event. Her expertise scheduling ride times has become sought after by everyone. A licensed Technical Delegate, Coldren is in great demand and now has a more than full-time business as an official and event secretary. Her attention to detail and depth of knowledge of the rules and of the sport are great assets as a member of the USEA Board of Governors.
At-Large, Harold Eichell, 2018-2020 – Secretary
Harold "Tink" Eichell is secretary of the USEA Board of Governors, serves on the Executive Committee, the Administration and Finance Committee, and the USEA Area VIII Council. He is also Treasurer and on the Board of the USEA Foundation. Eichell has been an active volunteer in Areas I and VIII for the past 35 years, helping with everything from course design and building to announcing to serving as an Area Steward at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. He enjoyed competing at the Novice level for many years. Eichell had a long business career in general management and finance with large corporations and small entrepreneurial enterprises. He and his wife, Nanette, own and live on a small horse farm, with three active event riders, in Georgetown, Kentucky.
At-Large, Darrin Mollett, 2019-2021 – Board Member
Darrin Mollett was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles for undergraduate and law school. After law school, Mollett clerked for the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and then practiced as a corporate attorney for 11 years. Mollett began riding and competing as an adult and has been successfully competing at the FEI levels of eventing since the late 1990s. In 2010, Mollett founded Beverly Equestrian, a multi-disciplinary equestrian center devoted to excellence, education, and horsemanship in The Plains, Virginia. In 2013, Mollett founded a school horse program for a local middle and high school to train and compete out of Beverly as a way to expose young people who otherwise would not have access to horses and riding. In 2014, Mollett was named the Hospitality Chair for the training session organized at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia for the U.S. Team’s final preparatory run before competing at the World Equestrian Games. Following that, she teamed up with David O’Connor to continue to grow Great Meadow. They succeeded in acquiring the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup to ever run outside of Europe. Together, O’Connor and Mollett founded Five Rings Eventing in 2018 and the organization is now solely in charge of organizing the Great Meadow International Event. Her experience has been put to good use as the current chair of the USEA Legal Committee. Mollett and her husband, Bill, have two children, Brooke and Wil, who also play polo and ride.
At-Large, Jerry Schurink, 2017-2019 – Vice President of Education
Hendrickus "Jerry" Schurink grew up in Shaftsbury, Vermont, on his family's Doornhof Farm, host of horse trials and dressage shows from 1974 to 1990. As a member of the Bennington Pony Club, Schurink helped his family host these events as well as competing in them. Schurink was a member of the 1979 Area I Young Rider gold medal-winning team, coached by Tad Coffin. During his time attending the University of New Hampshire, he was part of the developing rider program for three years under coach Jack LeGoff at the USET Training Center in Hamilton, Massachusetts. Schurink has been in higher education for over 27 years; 22 year of which at the University of Massachusetts as Head Coach and Director of Equine Studies in the Department of Vet and Animal Sciences. Currently, Schurink works at Bridgewater College in Virginia as the Director of Riding and Head Coach of the IHSA, IDA, and USEA Teams in the Athletic Department. In 2015, Schurink became a graduate "with distinction" of the Learners Judges Program in the USDF and is pursuing his "r" USEF Eventing and Dressage Judge licenses. He served as a founding board member of the USEA ICP and is an ICP Certified Level III Instructor as well as ICP faculty member. In 2016, Schurink was a member of the organizing committee of the Great Meadows International Three-Day Event in The Plains, Virginia.
At-Large, Max Corcoran, 2017-2019 – President-Elect
Max Corcoran grew up in the Hamilton, Massachusetts area foxhunting at Tim Murray’s mother’s barn and helping Bobby Costello in his lower level eventing days. She competed at the Novice and Training levels at the time on borrowed horses before going to college to play NCAA Division I ice hockey for Northeastern University. After college, Corcoran ran Marc Donovan’s farm for two years and Mike Plumb’s barn for a year. She worked in downtown Boston in the financial district for five years, but the horses kept drawing her back, and she soon found herself managing eventer Jim Stamets’ farm in Massachusetts. She came to the O’Connor Event Team (OCET) after Stamets' untimely death in 2001, originally to get Bally Mar settled in, but over time became Karen’s head groom. Corcoran took great care of Karen’s competition horses and youngsters and helped with their conditioning and management for 11 years. Corcoran enjoyed the exposure to the sport’s top vets and farriers and the continuing education she received during her time as OCET’s head groom and barn manager. In 2006, Corcoran and David’s horse, Walk on the Moon, won the SmartPak USEA Training Level Three-Day Event at Waredaca and qualified for the American Eventing Championships. After leaving OCET, Corcoran worked as a freelance groom and has served as stable manager for the Canadian and Venezuelan Equestrian Teams. Corcoran also took up event organizing, working with events including the Middleburg Horse Trials, Great Meadow International, The Event at Rebecca Farm, The Fork, Ocala Horse Trials, Ocala Jockey Club, the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, and many others. In 2020, she will become the USEA President.
At-Large, Dr. Jennifer Miller, 2017-2019 – Board Member
Dr. Jennifer Miller is an equine veterinarian from Arizona. She has bred, trained, and evented her own horses and is an active competitor at the Training/Preliminary level. She officiates as a FEI Veterinarian and annually volunteers as a veterinarian at the Kentucky Three-Day Event. She has been Canada’s Team Veterinarian for eventing and dressage at the Olympic Games and Pan American Games. Miller served as the Team Veterinarian for the Canadian Para Dressage Team at the Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and has served as the Area X Adult Rider Coordinator. Miller is the chair of the USEA Equine Safety and Welfare Sub-committee.
At-Large, Doug Payne, 2018-2020 – Vice President of Active Athletes
Doug Payne is well-known as the competitor, judge, and trainer to turn to whether your goal is to develop your talented young horse into an international star or you are trying to remedy a complicated behavioral problem. He has been profiled in and contributed to Practical Horseman, Eventing USA, The Chronicle of the Horse, and Eventing Nation as well as a number of other regional and national publications and media. Along with Jim Wofford, Payne produced the acclaimed “The Rider’s Eye” instructional DVD. Payne is also the author of The Riding Horse Repair Manual, an instructional guide to developing confident and competitive horses. Payne is a “r” USEF Judge and Technical Delegate and an ICP Certified Level III Instructor. Payne holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and is a graduate “A” Pony Clubber from Somerset Hills Pony Club. Payne has won countless national and international competitions from Beginner Novice through Advanced and has successfully competed through the CCI4* level, represented the U.S. in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup at Boekelo, and competed successfully at the FEI levels of dressage. He has been listed with multiple horses to the USEF High Performance list since 2010. Aside from dressage and eventing, Payne has extensive experience in show jumping and has ridden multiple horses through Grand Prix with many top placings at national competitions.
At-Large, Dawn Robbins, 2019-2021 – Vice President of Membership and Program Development
Dawn Robbins is an amateur eventer from Ojai, California. She began eventing later in life and has ridden through the Intermediate level. She currently rides her own 15-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred at the Preliminary level and is aiming for a one-star in 2019. Robbins is a private consultant in the field Geographic Information Systems, a sector of Information Technology. In addition to her day job, she is quite busy with a project called Equimaps, involving course mapping for event organizers. Robbins has been on the Area VI Council as the Adult Rider Coordinator for many years and she currently serves as the national Adult Rider Committee Co-Chair. As an active participant of the Membership Committee and the Area VI Council, she has been instrumental in developing the Area VI Leaderboard, website, and email systems. Robbins is married to her non-horsey, supportive, and very understanding husband, Mark, who is a pilot, bridge, and golf enthusiast, and they share their home with an energetic Jack Russell mix named Wolfgang.
At-Large, John Staples, 2018-2020 – Board Member
John Staples is a USEA ICP Certified Level III Instructor as well as an Advanced level competitor. Staples was long-listed for the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Teams and was named as an alternate for the 1988 Olympic Team. Staples' training focuses on establishing rhythm, relaxation, and straightness to develop a horse who is responsive to the aids, adjustable, balanced, and confident. He uses these principles of dressage in all phases of developing the event horse. Staples helped initiate the Cross-Country Speed Study, which is investigating the rate at which horse/rider pairs negotiate cross-country obstacles and the impact on safety. Staples has also served on the USEF Safety Committee.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if one owns a horse, that horse will eventually injure himself. Sometimes it’s just a mild scratch – easily treated in the barn. But sometimes the ailment is more serious, and then it’s time to call the vet. And what about the true emergencies, the ones that even the vet can’t treat on the farm? That’s when it’s time for a trip to the equine hospital.
At the end of 2018 the United States Eventing Association (USEA) launched a new website and with this update came a new process for the USEA’s online competition calendar. This change was not a result of the new website, but because of the USEA Omnibus no longer being offered in a printed version.
US Equestrian (USEF) has released the selection procedures for the 2019 Pan American Games taking place August 1-4, 2019 in Lima, Peru. The United States did not secure the necessary Olympic qualifying placing at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, so the 2019 Pan American Games are the U.S.’s next chance to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
This week on the USEA Podcast, USEA Classic Series Task Force member Mary Fike comes on the show to talk about the USEA Classic Series and the work the Task Force has done over the last year. Marcia Kulak returns to the show to talk about fitness programs for long format events.