With about one month left in the 2019 eventing season, the U.S. is experiencing positive increases in several key areas. Compared to 2018, this year the number of competitions, horse and rider starts at recognized competitions, and the USEA financial picture have all grown and are looking strong in the final days of the competition season. Eventing in the U.S. appears to be headed into the 2020 Olympic year with many signs pointing up.
“I’m really glad we saw such a great improvement in our financial situation this year,” said USEA President Carol Kozlowski. “It’s always a pleasure to bring good news to the membership and overall our improved weather conditions in 2019 certainly helped our cause!”
Horse and Rider Starts
In the U.S. the competition season begins on December 1 and stretches through the end of November of the following year. As of the weekend of October 12, USEA starters have increased by over 1,323 starters (3.67 percent) in 2019. A level by level breakdown shows that the largest increases numerically have been at the Beginner Novice (+888), Novice (+270), Modified (+296), and CCI2*-S levels (+89).
A total of 232 USEA events will be held in the 2019 competition season. Compared to the 221 events run in 2018 this is a 5 percent increase over the previous year. Marked improvements in competition numbers have occurred in several Areas of the country that had previously been trending down.
According to Kozlowski, “Area I saw the loss of two key events (Fitch’s Corner and Stoneleigh-Burnham School) in 2018, but we enthusiastically welcomed new additions to our calendar in 2019. Apple Knoll has joined the roster as well as Larkin Hill adding a third event to their schedule. We also look forward to the return of the Ethel Walker School CT to the spring calendar in 2020. All positive trends for an Area that has a slightly shorter competition season due to the length of our winter.”
The financials for the USEA couldn’t be more different in 2019 than in 2018. During the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, Morley Thompson Jr., USEA Treasurer/Vice President of Administration and Finance, and Kozlowski reported that the USEA budget had not met expectations, finishing almost $100,000 behind the budget.
“Seriously, we’ve never encountered the sustained hits to our competition season that we did this year – 28 events cancelled due to rain,” said Kozlowski at the 2018 Annual Meeting of Members. “The loss the starter fees was enough to wreak havoc with the USEA budget but worse than that, in my book, was the widespread depression it caused our riders and organizers. I won’t launch a philosophical debate on climate change, and I’m going to insist on believing our conditions will improve in 2019.”
Her optimism was fulfilled as through the end of September, the USEA is currently projecting a $185,000 surplus over budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The strength in the budgeted figures was led by decreases in overall expenses (savings of 2 percent from budget) coupled in large part with better than budgeted performance on events income (up 3 percent), strong performance from Xentry usage (up 14 percent), increases in merchandise sales (up 48 percent), as well as strong investment performance (up $71,852 from budget).
The USEA Board of Governors and the USEA Staff are finalizing the 2020 Association budget and it is set to mimic the strength of 2019.
“Like any business, the better your financial picture the more funds you can commit to important projects. At the USEA our focus has always been on education. The various committees of the USEA and the Board of Governors have made it clear that they want to spend wisely and make marked improvements for our members,” said USEA CEO Rob Burk. “Thanks to the USEA’s financially strong position, the draft 2020 budget for the USEA includes increases in investment into the Roger Haller Education Fund, USEA Classic Series, USEA Young and Future Event Horse programs, and other important USEA programs.”
Stay tuned for the year end reports at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention being held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel from December 12-15, 2019.
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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 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, December 12-15, 2019. Click here to learn more about the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
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).