Dec 10, 2023

USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Comes to a Close with the Final Board of Governors Meeting

By Lindsay Berreth - USEA Staff
USEA President Lou Leslie and USEA CEO Rob Burk were very festive during the final USEA Board of Governors meeting at this year's USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

St. Louis, Mo.—Dec. 10— The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention came to a close on Sunday with the final USEA Board of Governors (BOG) meeting.

After the call to order, USEA Senior Director of Membership Services and meeting planner Jennifer Hardwick gave a brief overview of the annual meeting. There were 321 attendees and 220 who came to the awards dinner. Next year’s Annual Meeting & Convention will be held in Seattle, Washington, from Dec. 10-15 at the Westin Seattle.

Next, BOG member Erin Tomson put forth a motion to make the USEA’s Master Amateur Leaderboard start at age 50 instead of 40, where it is currently. All were in favor.

USEA CEO Rob Burk also mentioned a discussion of creating an older age group for the leaderboard in the future.

Tomson said that a recommendation was made to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to help find a more inclusive name for the “master” leaderboards and that discussions were ongoing.

Tomson next put forward a vote to the Board to continue the Classic Three-Day Task Force for one year as the group felt like they have continuing work to do (task forces normally only convene for a specific period of time). The Task Force has put together a proposal for short- and long-range goals and hopes to become a continuing committee in the future. All were in favor. A motion to create a co-chairmanship was also put forward and approved.

Laura Backus from Area IX was invited to speak about getting a new event, Mile High, approved to run July 6-7, 2024. The request for dates was initially denied by the BOG because of concerns of being on the same weekend as the Arrowhead Horse Trials’ in Billings, Montana, which runs from July 5-7. Mile High is located in Park, Colorado, an almost eight-hour drive through mountain range and Backus believes that the competitor base will be different.

The BOG wanted to be mindful of other events in the area, but approved Mile High to run for one year in 2024 before reevaluating.

Sharyn Antico, Vice President of Competitions and an organizer’s rep, at large, led a discussion on rule change proposals (RCP) that will be going forward to the U.S. Equestrian Federation at their January 2024 meeting. Eventing-specific RCPs will be discussed the next BOG meeting in January.

GR150 Official Video wasn't approved by the Competitions Calendar and Rules Committee, because they would like to work on the language.

Currently, the RCP aims to alleviate confusion among officials and competitors surrounding when video can be used in rendering decisions, and if permitted, what video footage is permitted to be used. The USEF’s rules do not cover the issue. The RCP would allow only official video footage to be used, but some committee members would like to add eventing-specific language so that video footage from spectators or volunteer jump judges could be used to make calls on the “field of play,” such as determining if a horse went through the flags on a corner jump on cross-country.

“If the organizer hired the jump judge to take a video then this rule would work, but you have to read between the lines. That’s why organizers didn’t want to approve it,” said Antico. The recommendation was to oppose the rule knowing that the committee will work on eventing-specific language to add to it.

Antico continued the general rules discussion with GR702 – Violations, which addresses physical assault, cruelty, and abuse outside of competitions. The concern was that it would be giving USEF too much power outside of their governance, which is currently only at competitions. The RCP would be addressing social license to operate said Wayne Quarles, and that USEF has said their authority could happen within the framework of different states’ rules and regulations.

The BOG opted not to approve the RCP.

They approved a change to GR845.1 Accident Preparedness Plan, which reclassifies isolation protocol and gives it its own language.

GRC872 – Equine Temperature Requirement was not recommended to be approved by the CCRC, organizers or the Eventing Licensed Officials Committee, and the BOG opted not to approve it. It would require horses to have a logged temperate recording twice a day at competitions, and the board felt it would be hard to enforce, but agreed the RCP will get competitors thinking more about their own responsibilities for biosecurity.

GR873.1 Mandatory Reporting of Febrile Horses would require horses with a fever to be reported to competition management and/or the official veterinarian. The BOG approved it, as well as GR1304.8 - Regulations Governing Showing Under Judges, Stewards, and Technical Delegates, which would give more definitive parameters to stewards on when they can allow a competitor to meet a judge.

Due to time constraints, the other general RCPs were tabled for a later date.

The BOG then closed the meeting room and heard from bidders for the 2025-2028 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena.

The meeting finished with Lauren Nicholson making a motion from the Young Event Horse Committee to allow horses born in the southern hemisphere to have their ages roll over to Aug. 1 to match the FEI rule for young horses. All were in favor.

With that, the final BOG meeting of 2023 came to a close.

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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 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, on Dec. 7-10, 2023. Click here to learn more about the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.

The USEA would like to thank the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Sponsors: Adequan, Bates Saddles, Capital Square, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis, Kerrits, Horse & Country, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Parker Equine Insurance, Rebecca Farm, RevitaVet, SmartPak, Standlee, and World Equestrian Brands.

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