This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Eventing USA magazine and is an update on the activities of the Professional Horseman's Council. Click here to read Matt Brown's statement as incoming PHC Chair.
The Professional Horseman's Council (PHC) is composed of active members of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) who are professionals in all aspects of the sport of eventing. The purpose of the Council is to facilitate communications between the professionals and the eventing community, including the governing body, officials, organizers, and competitors and to assist in the further development, growth, and safety of our sport.
The PHC has taken action on several issues this year so far:
As horse welfare and safety is always at the top of our minds as professionals within the sport of eventing we have discussed how it could be possible to address issues that have arisen over the last year in relationship with the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) blood rules for eventing. After reviewing the current rules pertaining to blood on horses within both national and international competition we have made some recommended changes to the rules that we feel could solve some of the current issues. We have forwarded our recommendation to the appropriate committees responsible for making such changes. We know that the governing bodies for both the USEF and the FEI are currently reviewing the blood rules for the equestrian disciplines and we hope that our recommendation will be helpful to the effort to update the current rules.
Footing for the Future
With the long-term health and soundness of our equine partners in mind, we continue to discuss the ways in which we can help to facilitate the improvement of footing at eventing venues, especially on the cross-country. We are taking several different steps to do this:
We have discussed some concerns that have been raised by amateur riders where in some competition warmups professional riders can overwhelm the ring steward and pressure them into allowing the professional to ride at a different time other than their stated ride time. This mainly effects some show jumping warmups and more so in one-day competitions. This causes the other riders in the ring to not know when to start warming up and causes undue stress in the warmup area.
We have made a recommendation to the Licensed Officials Committee to give the show jumping ring stewards direct contact to the events Technical Delegate in order to report “bad behavior” in the warmup area at national competitions. We also recommended that riders with multiple horses work with the organizer and secretary in advance to make any necessary ride time changes in order for rider to stick to the set times as closely as possible.
We continue to take on new topics and issues as they are brought to our attention and we encourage anyone with an issue or question to contact any one of the PHC members.
The Professional Horseman’s Council current members:
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My name is Tayah Fuller and I’m 14 years old. “On course” to me is a phrase that makes my heart pump fast and my excitement go wild. There is no better feeling than galloping through a field or flying over cross-country jumps with my heart thrumming along, especially when it is with my best friend. You see, I was born with a congenital heart murmur. While it has never really affected my athletic abilities, the one time that I notice it is when I am riding through a cross-country course with my horse.
Please always remain vigilant when it comes to sending any personal communications via email or text. Every year we receive reports of members and leaders of our sport receiving phishing attempts both online and by phone. These are often communications disguised as being sent from USEA staff or other leaders. As the years go on, the phishing attempts appear to be more directed and tailored.
Tack cleaning is one of those barn chores that might not be our favorite but is certainly necessary for keeping our equipment in top shape. Aside from caring for your tack so it lasts for years to come, regular tack maintenance is important for safety. The last thing you want is the potential for a stitch, zipper, or buckle breaking while you're out on course.
Following feedback from our membership to the rule change proposal for the USEF Rules For Eventing: Appendix 3 – Participation In Horse Trials, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors voted to modify the rule change proposal, but still to recommend the establishment of rider licenses and increase Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) to the regulating authority of the sport US Equestrian (USEF).