Erin Kimmer is on a journey to obtain her USEF “r” Technical Delegate license and is taking us along with her through the Training Program for Eventing Officials.
My name is Erin Stormont Kimmer and I am in the process of obtaining my “r” Technical Delegate license. I am a rider, trainer, barn owner/manager, and have been interested in obtaining my license for the last couple of years.
My interest was piqued about 12 years ago when I was attending an equine business management program where judge and organizer Sue Smithson spoke on the need for more experienced organizers and judges. I can very clearly remember her stating, “All of us are getting old and there are just no new, young people interested in the becoming judges.”
Her statement really struck a chord with me. Most people coming up in the equine business world want to be the rider or trainer but few think about the other side of the eventing industry. Everyone wants to compete but it seems like most forget that in order to do so we need officials!
I began volunteering at The Fork Horse Trials in 2010 and experienced the other side of event organization. I really enjoyed seeing the competition from the volunteer's perspective and it gave me a better appreciation for everything that goes on behind the scenes. I always came away with great insights learned from the wonderful officials I was lucky enough to work with. Everyone should volunteer at events, no matter the level you ride, as it gives such great perspective on how we as riders and trainers perceive and treat volunteers and officials. Sitting with a judge for a day at an event certainly gives insight into what they are looking for and why things are scored in such a way.
In order to apply for a license, there are a couple of requirements that must be met before one is able to submit an application. There are two different kinds of experience that are required: riding and organizational and/or previous officiating experience. I had my riding requirements but still needed my organizational requirements, which consist of either being an organizer or member of organizing committee at a USEF event, being a secretary at USEF event, being an ICP certified instructor. I was very lucky to be able to join on as organizer for the Heart of the Carolinas Three Day Event last year after years of being a loyal volunteer. Once again, volunteering was very beneficial and helped me get my foot in the door!
Being an organizer was some of the best experience of my journey to become a licensed official. Events seem to fly by in an instant when you are competing but the preparations that must take place for organizers and staff in order for events to happen is a long and involved process. The months leading up are full of event site prep, fundraising, coordination, and planning that many often overlook. Learning how course designers plan and lay out their courses and the effort that goes into building and decorating them all helped me to gain a better understanding of what I can expect when I become an official.
I love the sport of eventing and want to be able to contribute in a positive way. If you are really passionate about something, you should try to become involved and give back. I enjoy stepping up when there is a need and have found that as much as I enjoy competing, what is equally gratifying is seeing others having a great time at events. It feels good knowing that I am doing something to contribute to their joy and safety while helping to support and share the love of eventing. Looking forward to a great ride!
The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).