The 21 members of the USEA Board of Governors represent all the different factions of the U.S. eventing community, including professional riders, adult amateurs, owners, organizers, officials, veterinarians, and more. There is a president, one representative for each of the 10 USEA Areas, and the remaining 10 represent the demographics of the sport.
Candidates for the USEA Board of Governors are voted upon by the membership at the Annual Meeting of Members at the USEA Convention that takes place each December. 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.
Let us introduce the 21 members of the eventing community who will serve on the 2020 USEA Board of Governors!
Max Corcoran | President, At-Large (2020-2022)
Max Corcoran grew up in Manchester, Massachusetts. She started foxhunting with Myopia Hunt out of Pine Grove Stables in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. While attending Proctor Academy and Northeastern University, she competed at the Novice and Training levels. After finishing college, 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 began working for the O’Connor Event Team after Jim’s untimely death. Corcoran managed Karen’s competition horses and youngsters for over 10 year and enjoyed the opportunity for exposure to the sport’s top vets and farriers, as well as the opportunity for continuing education that being an OCET groom afforded her. Corcoran gives back to the sport by serving on the USEA Board of Governors, the Eventing Riders Association of North America, and the Equine Safety Committee. She organizes Middleburg Horse Trials and helps organize Great Meadow International, The Event at Rebecca Farm, The Fork, Ocala Horse Trials, Ocala Jockey Club, and many others.
John Bourgoin | Board Member, Area I (2018-2020)
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 for their annual horse trials. Bourgoin is still competing 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 plus years he has been very involved in the Area I Young Rider program. Several of his students have represented Area I as team members, as well as having been team and individual medalists at the NAJYRC. 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.
Morgan Rowsell | Board Member, Area II (2020-2022)
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 competitor. They live with their two children in New Jersey.
Sharon Anthony | Board Member, Area III (2018-2020)
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.
Denise Dailey-Thomas, | Board Member, Area IV (2019-2021)
Denise Dailey-Thomas presently 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 35 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 six years ago, Dailey-Thomas wanted to increase her level of giving back to the sport and became Chair of Area IV. She now continues competing and supporting the USEA and eventing through her service on the USEA Board of Governors.
Debra Dealcuaz | Vice President of Area Affairs, Area V (2018-2020)
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 an "r" Technical Delegate in 2005.
Eric Markell, | Board Member, Area VI (2019-2021)
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 is a member of the Board of Directors of ENMAX Corporation, a Calgary-based power company, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Hudson Renewable Energy Institute in New York 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 very successful German Sport Horse gelding, Mai Baum. In 2016 Markell established MB Group LLC that acquired MB MaiBlume, a 7-year-old German Sport Horse mare, and MB MaiStein, a 4-year-old Oldenberg gelding. Markell has been a regular attendee and supporter of events in both Areas VI and VII, and through his family’s ongoing close relationship with, and support for Tamra Smith, has taken on the challenge to support their three horses in high performance competition.
Jonathan Elliott | Vice President of Competitions/Organizers Representative, Area VII (2019-2021)
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*. 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.
Morley Thompson, Jr. | Treasurer/Vice President of Administration and Finance, Area VIII (2018-2020)
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.
Deeda Randle | Board Member, Area IX (2019-2021)
Deeda Randle 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 Chairman on two different occasions for a total of seven years. Randle has managed FEI events at the Colorado Horse Park in addition to several smaller events. She currently is manager of a dressage show in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Randle holds licenses as an USEF Eventing “r” Judge and Technical Delegate, USEF Dressage “R” Technical Delegate, and FEI Steward. Randle resides in Cheyenne, Wyoming where she owns and operates Randle Equestrian. Randle Equestrian is a small custom lesson and training business with a focus on equitation, correct basics, and fun in the competition world.
Alice Sarno | Board Member, Area X (2020-2022)
Alice Sarno started 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 in eventing and maintains relationships with them. In her own competitive career, Sarno rode through the Advanced level and had many successes including being the Area X Senior Rider of the Year in 1987 and receiving the 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, ICP Level III Certified Instructor, Area X Adult Rider Coordinator, Area X Organizer Representative since 2014, as well as 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.
Harold Eichell | Secretary, At-Large (2018-2020)
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.
Mary Coldren | Vice President of Safety, At-Large (2019-2021)
Mary Coldren grew up with horses and had her first pony at age four. Her parents operated a boarding and lesson facility that catered to all disciplines. Coldren grew up primarily showing in western equitation, but was exposed to every style of riding, including a season of showing a saddle seat horse for an injured rider. She obtained a degree in Equine Breeding and Business Management from Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It was there that she became addicted to eventing while working for Judy Thayer and living at the Radnor Hunt Club. That was in 1984, and she has been involved with eventing ever since as a competitor, volunteer, organizer, treasurer, entry secretary, and licensed official, holding an “R” TD license.
Currently she is the Director of Plantation Field Equestrian Events in Unionville, Pennsylvania which each year hosts three USEA recognized events and three starter horse trials, in addition to a CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S in September. In 2016 Coldren was also secretary for 14 events in Area II including Fair Hill International, the Surefire Farm Horse Trials, the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy, the Virginia Horse Trials, and the Radnor Hunt Horse Trials. She also travels to Aiken, South Carolina in the winter to help with the Sporting Days Farm Horse Trials. In the past, she has also worked as chief scorer, including at the Central American Games in Puerto Rico.
She stopped riding in 1996 after being diagnosed with MS, but wanted to stay involved with her “eventing family” so made a career working administratively. In some capacity or another, from April through October, she is at an event 23 of the 29 weekends. Once dubbed by The Chronicle of the Horse as the “unofficial queen of ride-time scheduling, she’s the cheerful wizard behind the curtain at many East Coast events, making sure each rider has a workable time schedule and the day goes smoothly.”
Jerry Schurink | Vice President of Education, At-Large (2020-2022)
Hendrickus “Jerry” Schurink grew up in Shaftsbury, Vermont on his family’s Doornhof Farm. The family farm played host to horse trials and dressage shows from 1974-1990, during which Schurink helped host and also competed. Schurink was a member of the 1979 Area I Young Rider gold medal team, coached by Tad Coffin. During college at 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. He spent 22 of those years at the University of Massachusetts as Head Coach and Director of Equine Studies in the Department of Vet and Animal Sciences. Schurink now is currently with 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” judge license in the USDF and USEF. He serves as a founding board member of the USEA ICP and is a Level III certified instructor as well as ICP faculty member. In 2016, Schurink was a member of the organizing committee of the Great Meadows International in The Plains, Virginia.
Doug Payne | Vice President of Active Athletes, At-Large (2018-2020)
Doug is a top level eventer and show jumper and he has been named to and ridden on Nation’s Cup Teams for the U.S. Eventing Team with wins both nationally and internationally. He has been profiled in and contributed to countless national publications and media outlets. In 2014, he published his first book, The Problem Horse Repair Manual. In addition, he, along with Jim Wofford, produced the acclaimed The Rider’s Eye instructional DVD. Payne is a USEF “r” Judge, Technical Delegate, and USEA ICP Level III Certified Instructor. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. Payne is from a horse centric family. His mother, Marilyn, has judged two Olympic Games and every five-star event in the world. Payne’s sister Holly is also a five-star rider and trainer. He grew up in the Pony Club system attaining his 'A' rating from Sommerset Pony Club in New Jersey and was winner of a number of national championships and a member of two international teams for the USPC. In 2019, he won team gold at the Pan American Games.
Dawn Robbins | Vice President of Membership and Program Development, At-Large (2019-2021)
Dawn Robbins is an amateur eventer from Ojai, California. She began eventing later in life and has ridden through the Intermediate level. 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, and she currently serves as the national Adult Rider Committee Co-Chair and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors. Robbins is married to her non-horsey, supportive, and very understanding husband Mark, a pilot, bridge, and golf enthusiast, and they share their home with an energetic Jack Russell mix, Wolfgang.
John Staples | Board Member, At-Large (2018-2020)
John Staples is a USEA ICP Level III Certified 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's 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.
Darrin Mollett | Board Member, At-Large (2019-2021)
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 joined the law firm of Osborn Maledon PA in Phoenix, Arizona, where she 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 out of Beverly and compete 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. Eventing Team’s final preparatory run before competing at the WEG, and she teamed up with David O’Connor to continue to grow Great Meadow. They succeeded in acquiring the first leg of the FEI Nations Cup of eventing to ever run outside of Europe. Mollett and her husband Bill have two children, Brooke and Wil, who also play polo and ride.
Dr. Jennifer Miller | Board Member, At-Large (2020-2022)
Jennifer Miller is originally from Hudson, Quebec where she grew up fox hunting, eventing, jumping snow banks, and acquiring a Pony Club ‘A’ rating. After veterinary school she completed an internship with Kent Allen in Gilbert, Arizona then opened her own mobile equine veterinary practice in Cave Creek, Arizona. Her areas of interest include sport horse performance and general good horse health. She has bred, trained, and evented her own horses and is an active competitor at the Training and Preliminary levels. She officiates as an FEI veterinarian and annually volunteers as a veterinarian at the Kentucky Three-Day Event. She has been Canada’s Team Veterinarian for eventing, dressage, and para-dressage at various Olympic Games, Pan American Games, and World Equestrian Games since 2002.
Brian Murray | Board Member, At-Large (2020-2022)
Brian Murray is a lifelong horseman who competed in hunters, jumpers, and equitation as a junior and hunters and jumpers as an adult. He has managed numerous recognized horse shows and has been a USEF recognized judge for over 40 years with “R” status in hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Murray is currently a board member of the USEA Foundation, a member of the USEA Development Committee, and a member of two event horse syndicates, with one prospect competing at the Novice Level and one horse competing at the four/five-star level. Murray graduated with a B.S. from Villanova University and a MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is certified as a chartered financial analyst and is the President of the investment bank, B.V. Murray & Co., Inc. in addition to being an investor, board member, and acting chief financial officer of Medality Medical LLC.
John Marshall | Board Member, At-Large (2020-2022)
John Marshall is a commercial real estate broker and an amateur eventer. In 2012, Marshall purchased the longtime California competition venue Ram Tap and all of the jumps and equipment on the property to prevent the facility from shutting down. The venue was renamed the Fresno County Horse Park and since that time Marshall has put his heart, soul, and investment into the property as its owner and as the organizer of the events held there. Marshall has served as the Area VI Organizers Representative to the Area Council and is actively involved with various USEA programs including the Adult Rider, Classic Series, Young Rider, and Future and Young Event Horse programs. In 2017 Marshall was the recipient of the USEA’s Andrew H. Popiel Memorial Trophy, which recognizes the role of event organizers and their commitment to the sport.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is thrilled to announce the renewed partnership with Black Petticoat for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC). As a Bronze Level Sponsor of the AEC, Black Petticoat will award over $2,000 in products for AEC prizes.
Joining USEA Official Podcast host Nicole Brown this week is five-star rider Lauren Nicholson (née Kieffer) and legendary groom and USEA President Max Corcoran for an episode all about producing young horses and how to can give them the best possible start to their career.
A few months ago we began discussing the difference between defense mechanisms and coping mechanisms. Often confused as the same thing, they couldn’t be more different.
Arguably one of the cutest national leaderboards the USEA has to offer is the Smartpak USEA Pony of the Year leaderboard. Since it’s more than halfway through the year, this month the USEA selected the pony sitting on top of that leaderboard, Have A Little Faith, as the USEA Horse (Pony) of the Month! Standing at 14.1 hands, Have A Little Faith is an 18-year-old chestnut mare ridden by Diane Smith and owned by Sarah Lesser.