Dec 08, 2018

Open Forums Continue on Saturday at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff , Leslie Mintz
A full house at the Rule Change Open Forum. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The Annual Meeting & Convention is an opportunity for eventing community members to gather from all across the country to hear reports from the various groups and committees and provide feedback to make changes and improvements for the future. In addition to the meetings that took place yesterday, there were several more open forums that met today to discuss progress over the past year and plans for the coming year.

ICP Open Forum

  • Phyllis Dawson shared the news that Lauren Gash has been hired as the new ICP Coordinator and ICP member Brian Sabo is retiring.
  • Robin Walker expressed the need to continue to tweak ICP standard sheets to keep the standards of the program high. “What we’re going to expect to see from our instructors is the ability to incrementally introduce [concepts] and show your assessors that you know how to ask the questions and get the results.”
  • Phyllis Dawson observed, “In all three phases, the riding skills have raised the bar . . . If you’re not actively competing it’s very important that you stay current with the sport, stay current with what the progression is.”
  • Mary D’Arcy stated, “There is not a complete understanding of basics. There are holes. This is always going to happen if you don’t keep to a progressive system.”
  • The members of the panel expressed the importance of supporting the SafeSport training now required by the USEF for all competing members. “It’s very important that we cooperate with this. It’s making a safer environment to prevent the stuff that’s going on in other sports.”
  • The panel discussed the changes coming to the Eventing 18 Program in 2020 (now happening at the Area level) and how the ICP program can contribute by being involved in the coaching process and providing national level support.
  • The panel closed by talking about the YEH Instructor and Professional Trainer certifications that were introduced last year. These certifications are part of a larger plan to create a network between breeders, owners, trainers, and riders to foster the next generation of eventing horses.
  • The program is still undergoing modifications as they fine-tune the training and testing procedures. “[The program] identified some excellent young horse producers across the country that people hadn’t necessarily heard of. There are a lot of people doing a lot of really good work with young horses and this is an opportunity to recognize them,” Walker pointed out.
  • Walker concluded, “We’ve got to keep building value into the program.”


The members of the ICP Open Forum. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Rule Change Open Forum

The following detail the potential rule changes that are up for consideration at the USEF Annual Meeting in January.

  • The Rulebook nomenclature about all FEI level divisions is being updated to accommodate the new star system.
  • GR 1307 – Motorized Vehicles – proposed updates to verbiage about scooters, including new paragraph for other types of motorized devices (segues, etc.)
  • GR 839 – Cruelty and Abuse – rewording to better define the officials’ duties and responsibilities when handling instances of abuse
  • GR 1034 – Stewards and Technical Delegates – rewording to better define/clarify the duties and responsibilities with regard to cruelty and abuse
  • USHJA has proposed a change to the general rule regarding prize lists. They would like to add a section to the prize list to include safety information, including the number of ambulances, EMTs, and paramedics, the miles to the nearest hospital, and the nearest trauma center. The recommendation from the Rules Committee is that it’s a great idea.
  • USHJA has also proposed that the owner/trainer post the contact information for the groom, owner, and person responsible for horse on the horse’s stall at events. The Eventing Sport Committee is not recommending this rule because of concerns about enforcement.
  • EV 111 - Use of Whips – verbiage being updated to say that the whip should not be used multiple times between fences. When used as a reprimand, the rider may hit hard but never more than two times per incident. If a horse’s skin is broken or has visible marks, the use of the whip is always considered to be excessive.
  • EV 115 – Saddlery – updates to the verbiage to mirror changes in the FEI rules for bits. New wording for ear bonnets: they must allow for ears to move freely and must not cover eyes and may not be attached through the noseband. Ear plugs are not allowed, except for during award ceremonies. On cross-country, stirrups that does not allow immediate disconnect of the rider from the stirrup will not be allowed.
  • Proposal to add wording explicity permitting neck straps. USEF did not adopt FEI hackamore rule (hackamore must have a bit on cross-country) at the national level.
  • Rule clarifying that snaffles may be wrapped in rubber or latex in dressage.
  • EV 142 – Fautls – Rewording the rule regarding crossing your tracks for obstacles consisting of ABC to make the meaning more clear.
  • FEI is considering a rule to change the show jumping time penalties from 1 per second to 0.4 per second over the time allowed, – After removing the coefficient from FEI eventing dressage, the show jumping time penalties became artificially magnified, so they are being reduced.
  • The Eventing Sport Committee has approved the change to the rule restriction that prohibits anyone other than the rider to school the horse after 3:00 p.m. on the day before competition to 3:00 p.m. before the first day that the horse will compete at that event. This will go into effect on December 1, 2019.
  • The USEF is considering a rule that would prohibit course designers with a FEI license obtained in another country from designing national level courses in the U.S. without a USEF course designing license.

Safety Committee Open Forum

The Safety Committee consists of three subcommittees: Rider Safety, Equine Safety and Welfare, and Cross-country Safety. This morning they all came together to discuss what the subcommittees have been working on in the Safety Committee Open Forum.

Sarah Broussard, Chair of the Rider Safety Subcommittee, said they have been working on revamping the safety coordinators manual to add more clarity and condense it. They are keeping an eye on concussions – how to monitor them, the long term effects, and how to prevent them from happening. They are also hoping to rework the watch list as many have heard of it, but most have never seen it. The list would help identify dangerous riding and work on getting riders on track with the education they need.

Dr. Jennifer Miller and Max Corcoran, Chairs of the Equine Safety and Welfare Subcommittee, reported on the work they have done this year which includes releasing educational videos about FEI stewarding and horse inspections. They are working on identifying parameters which would help officials identify exhausted horses. Miller and Corcoran want to push forward with the USEA’s cardiopulmonary study as two horses were lost this year on course due to cardiopulmonary failure, and they are hoping to put out research bids to the scientific community. They are trying to get more information about horsemanship out to more people by working with the continuing education of ICP instructors.

Both Rob Burk and David Vos spoke to the work of the Cross-country Safety Subcommittee. Vos focused on the new method that he has developed in order to test frangible devices in the field, and gave a discussion about the research behind it including the formulas he developed. Vos also spoke about his work with the TRL lab in England to develop a new set of requirements for the FEI in testing frangible devices to make sure they work and are useful. These will be released by the FEI in the next few months.

Burk said, “We need to inspire the community to come forward so their voices can be heard. We don’t have all the answers and our job will never be done, but we will keep it at the top of our priority list. We are going in lots of directions, but that is what we need to do. Jump design, rider, education, horse suitability, etc. Everyone has been touched by a loss somewhere in the sport. This is deeply personal and there is so much we can do to improve for the future.”

David Vos presents in the Safety Committee Open Forum.

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About the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention
The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place each December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by other eventing enthusiasts. The USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The 2018 Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 6-9, 2018. Visit the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention page to stay up to date on news, announcements, and details.

The USEA would like to thank Adequan, Devoucoux, Nutrena, Charles Owen, Standlee Hay, Merck Animal Health, SmartPak, Mountain Horse, Parker Equine Insurance, Rebecca Farm, Auburn Laboratories, Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Nunn Finer, World Equestrian Brands, Gallops Saddlery, Revitavet, CWD, H.E. Tex Sutton Forwarding Company, Trio Safety CPR + AED Solutions, Equestrian Athlete Camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and Hylofit for sponsoring the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.

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