Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) has reluctantly accepted the resignation of its U.S. Eventing Technical Advisor David O’Connor.
“Over many years, David has been a leader for US Equestrian as a whole and for eventing in particular,” remarked Murray Kessler, President of US Equestrian. “We reluctantly accept David’s resignation and support his desire to focus on chairing the Fédération Equestre International (FEI) Risk Management committee to help design programs that mitigate risk for the sport and promote horse welfare. It is reassuring to know that David will remain a leader in our sport, continue to provide input to our programs and that our mutual interests will remain intertwined. We thank him for everything he has done.”
O’Connor is an Olympic Gold Medalist and served as President of US Equestrian from 2004 to 2012, taking the role as Eventing Team Technical Advisor in 2012. During his tenure, O’Connor has been instrumental in leading and improving the technical riding ability of the U.S. eventing athletes.
“It was a very difficult decision for me to step away from this group of riders, owners, support personnel, and sponsors,” states O’Connor. “But the structural changes made with the newly created technical advisor position don’t allow me to do what I felt has always been my mainstay. That is, helping to drive the necessary changes for eventing that are in the best interests of the athlete, horse, and owner. I have lived by these constructs through my time as a competitor, through to my current role as Technical Advisor and they will continue to guide me going forward. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served such a dedicated and focused group and will remain committed to assist all of the devoted stakeholders through this time of transition as our riders prepare for WEG 2018.”
O’Connor plans to continue his work with some of the leading eventing riders in the U.S. in his capacity as their personal trainer and will also be expanding the amount of training opportunities available for riders. He will continue to offer leadership to the global sport of eventing through his role as Chair of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group and hopes to grow his role with the FEI over time.
Detailed discussions will take place immediately to ensure that an appropriate replacement is quickly in place to support those athletes targeting the 2018 Tryon World Equestrian Games while in parallel looking at every factor needed to support sustained success for U.S. Eventing at the international level.
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).
This has been a difficult decision, but with the current pandemic situation at hand, we feel that this is the correct and ‘common sense’ direction to take. We are developing a plan to host a shorter, smaller, and more focused competition. We will be using state and local protocols to help guide us through this. Safety is paramount at Rebecca Farm, for both equine and human participants.