Dec 07, 2018

Spotlight on Officials at the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

The Problem Solving session received a great turnout this morning. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is all about officials, with a number of sessions being offered throughout the weekend that focus on matters pertaining specifically to our licensed officials, without whom events could not take place. Encompassing our eventing judges, technical delegates, and course designers, the eventing officials provide a safe and fair field of play for all.

As the focus of this year's Convention, sessions this weekend focus on a range of topics from problem-solving, preceptors, and application process to innovations coming down the pipeline and rule changes. Read on for a taste of Friday's sessions!

Problem Solving: Reason, Response, Recommendation, and Resolution for Officials

Cindy Deporter led a session focused on providing problem-solving tools for organizers. A varied panel of speakers including Loris Henry, John Michael Durr, Gretchen Butts, Tim Murray, and Marilyn Payne helped to answer questions about specific scenarios and engaged in short role-playing sessions to demonstrate potential scenarios and how best to respond.

The takeaways were that remaining calm, making sure the difficult or unreasonable person feels their complaint is being heard and understood, and being solution-based are some of the best tools an official can use when solving problems.

Step-by-Step: How to Become an Official

USEF Director of Licensed Officials Alina Brazzil led a presentation detailing the different types of licenses, the separate responsibilities of the USEA and USEF in the licensing process, and the requirements for obtaining the different types of licenses. Following the presentation, the session panel of Sally Ike, John Michael Durr, Wayne Quarles, Loris Henry, Tim Murray, and Marilyn Payne fielded questions from the audience about training sessions and deadlines for 2019, where different resources can be found, and specifics about completing the licensing process.

Cross-Country Course Design for the Future

James Atkinson led a panel including course designers Captain Mark Phillips, John Michael Durr, Gretchen Butts, Morgan Rowsell, and Cathy Wieschhoff in a discussion about the responsibilities of the course designer and the many factors that influence course design. Atkinson began by stating that course designers are horsemen first and are constantly thinking about how every part of the course will affect the horse. Captain Phillips said, “Our job is to educate the horses . . . We must not go down the road of making courses more difficult.”

The panel educated attendees on how the horse’s vision works and provided examples of how designers use decoration to help the horse see all four corners of the fence. There was discussion of different ways the course designers take the horse’s vision limitations (blind spot, dichromatic vision, ability to adjust to different lighting conditions, etc.) into account. The conversation then turned to terrain, covering how and why designers use terrain and how they use it to influence how the horse sees a fence. They explained how the horse’s balance and stride length relate to the degree of slope. Finally, Morgan Rowsell talked about some of the factors that influence the decision about where to employ frangible technology and the new technology that is in the pipeline.

Members of the panel at the Cross-Country Course Design for the Future session from left to right: Captain Mark Phillips, John Michael Durr, Gretchen Butts, and Cathy Wieschhoff. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Course Designers/Builders Open Forum

The Course Design for the Future session flowed easily into the Course Designers/Builders Open Forum with Morgan Rowsell, James Atkinson, John Michael Durr, and Captain Mark Phillips. Rowsell continued his discussion of frangible technology, explaining the combination of reverse pinning and MIM clips that is becoming more prevalent. Other topics of discussion during the session included fence flagging, safety, fence-building materials, and more.

A number of other open forum sessions took place today for volunteers, organizers, evening affiliates, and the USEA Classic Series and Young Event Horse programs.

Volunteer Committee Open Forum

  • Volunteers using do not have to be USEA members
  • $1,000 cash prize for Volunteer of the Year
  • Eventing Volunteers launched 2016. In 2017, 72 recognized events were using the app, and in 2018 that number was up to 123 recognized events (almost 50% of events)

    Hylofit USEA Classic Series Open Forum

    • In 2017 the USEA Classic Series saw 1,097 starters and in 2018 saw 1,190.
    • 2018 saw a peak in entries in Novice and Beginner Novice Three-Day divisions.
    • The Training Three-Day had 172 total entries and the Preliminary Three-Day had 11 (consistent with past years – typically low numbers).
    • New Title Sponsor – Hylofit

    Organizer's Open Forum

    • Robert Winter provided a report to the organizers in attendance on Xentry and invited organizers to provide feedback on some of the changes that have been implemented.
    • Winter also gave organizers an update on the progress the USEA has made on an event management system and some of the additional big-picture concerns the USEA is considering with regards to this project.
    • Jonathan Elliott brought up the new application process that will come into effect when organizers are licensing their 2021 events. A new set of criteria and a new process is being developed and Elliott provided additional information about some of the changes and explained the process by which this new process will be adopted.
    Jonathan Elliott speaking at this afternoon's Organizers Open Forum. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

    YEH Through the Riders' Eyes

    • Tamie Smith, Doug Payne, Waylon Roberts, Dom Schramm, Debbie Adams, and Andrea Baxter answered a series of questions.
    • "This was my third year at Championships and this was the best championships I’ve been to,” said Dom Schramm of the 2018 YEH Championships.
    • “There’s no atmosphere like it, it was an incredible experience,” Tamie Smith stated about her time at the Le Lion d’Angers Young Horse Championships.
    • “I think we have to use our best judgment on each individual horse,” Andrea Baxter said on competing at the YEH 4-year-old Championship.

    Eventing Affiliates Open Forum

    • Janet Gunn provided a run-down of the currently active eventing affiliates and described the function of the eventing affiliates program, including the mission statement and reporting structure.
    • The forum then turned to discussion of the benefits of being an affiliate of the USEA, ways to attract members to the affiliates, how the affiliates with within the current structure, and more.

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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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