Dec 09, 2016

Positive Reports from the USEA Board of Governors

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
The Board of Governors Meeting. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

For the first Board of Governors meeting of the 2016 Annual Meeting and Convention, the reports presented by the Board members were overall of a positive nature. President, Diane Pitts reported that starters, members and competitions numbers are all up and the USEA has focused on some exciting programs this past year with initiatives such as the collapsible fence study, warm-up safety and watch lists.

Pitts, Morley Thompson and Tink Eichell all spoke in their reports about how this was a record year for contributions with the USEA and USEA Foundation raising $326,000. With that they were able to award over $150,000 in grants as well as funding the USEA’s safety and research studies. Thompson also gave his VP of Administration and Finance’s presentation which showed the USEA ending 2016 with a net income of $162,987. Thompson reported the Areas ended their fiscal year in a deficit of $12,345 due to increased travel expenses to NAJYRC in Colorado and the USEA encouraging Areas to spend instead of save.

Katherine Cooper, Chair of the Nominating Committee briefly reported on the 2017 Board of Governor nominees, USEA Foundation nominees and the 2017 Executive Committee slate who will be officially voted on at the Annual Meeting of Members tomorrow. The Governors also voted on and approved the three new incoming Area Chairs: Area II – Melissa Stubenberg, Area III – Cindy Kurtz, Area X – Christie Murphy.

In addition to her role on the Nominating Committee, Cooper is also the head of the Equine Medical Research Committee, and she was able to report that the $45,000 raised from the members’ $1/starter fee was well received this past year. $16,000 was donated to the USEA Cardiopulmonary Research Study while the remaining was used to fund six studies through the Morris Animal Research Foundation.

Mark Hart reported on behalf of the Membership Committee the success of the Intercollegiate Program in 2016 and its help in maintaining an age group of USEA members which used to be the greatest drop off each year.

Sarah Broussard, VP of Safety, shared the newly launched online test for Safety Officer Certification. It is the committee’s hope that all Safety Officers at events will be certified in the years to come. The Committee is continuing to look into the helmet and body protector certification requirements and is looking forward to a presentation at Sunday’s Board meeting from Dr. Suzanne Smith, who is leading the Collapsible fence study.

USEF Speaks to USEA Board

Murray Kessler, the incoming president of the USEF was then invited to speak to the Board and members in attendance. He shared some of his background of riding for the past 45 years, his family (daughter, Reed Kessler is an Olympic show jumper) and business experience in the highly regulated tobacco industry. Although he doesn’t officially take office until January, Kessler explained that he has been working for the past six months to prepare to hit the ground running.

The USEF has been undergoing a major overhaul as it implements an extensive strategic plan designed to grow equestrian sports in the U.S. and build the membership of the USEF from the grassroots up by improving membership value. Kessler explained that only four percent of all horse owners in the U.S. are members of the USEF and of all of the USEF members only 1,000 of them are non-competing members. An interesting comparison he shared to that figure is in the Netherlands (a much smaller country than the U.S.), they have 160,000 non-competing members of their national equestrian body. In addition to bringing in a new CEO, head of the Drugs and Meds program and Marketing officer, the USEF is also revamping their logo, website, annual meeting and educational opportunities.

Joanie Morris, Managing Director of Eventing for the USEF, spoke next and echoed Kessler’s praise of the great relationship between the USEF and USEA and how it is a model for an affiliate/federation relationship. Morris updated the USEA on a “never-ending” list of what the USEF has been working on directly related to eventing. Some highlights included thanking Rebecca Farm for taking on the 2017 North American Junior/Young Rider Championships after the eventers were left out of the Dressage and Show Jumping finals; the hard work of the four-star selection task force; intensive high performance review process and David O’Connor’s contract renewal as Technical Advisor for two more years; the FEI’s Agenda 2020 which changed the look of equestrian at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and Tokyo Olympics; and she touched upon the ongoing discussions for the new “lists” being developed for elite and upcoming riders.


The Board Meeting closed out with a presentation from EquiRatings, a data company focused on safety, media and high performance. They shared with Board members how statistics can be used to increase safety as well as promotion of the sport. In the last year, Eventing Ireland has used the EquiRatings Index to rate riders – if a rider’s index is below a certain threshold they are not allowed to enter competitions at certain levels. This new mandate has reduced horse falls at the CNC2* level by 67% in Ireland over the last year. The company is giving additional presentations throughout the weekend as they share their exciting data analysis.

About the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention

The USEA Annual Meeting and 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 eventing enthusiasts. The 2016 Annual Meeting and Convention is taking place at the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. December 7-11, 2016.

Thank you to our amazing lineup of sponsors that make this event possible: Merck Animal Health, Standlee Hay Forage, Nutrena, Adequan, Devoucoux, Charles Owen, SmartPak, Rebecca Farm, Mountain Horse, Auburn Laboratories Inc., Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Eventing Training Online, Stackhouse Saddles, Point Two Air Jackets, Gallops Saddlery, Professional’s Choice, World Equestrian Brands, Bit of Britain, CWD, H.E. Tex Sutton Forwarding Company, Jump 4 Joy, The Fork at TIEC and more!

Click here for more information on Convention

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