Aug 15, 2023

USEA Board of Governors August Meeting Report

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors (BOG) gathered together in person Aug. 8-9, 2023 for the first in-person meeting of the 2023 season. There were many topics of discussion with the future of eventing in mind over the course of the day-and-a-half gathering.

Association Updates

USEA CEO Rob Burk kickstarted the meeting with an overview of the Association as a whole. Regarding membership, Burk outlined an overview of membership trends since 2010 which showed a steady growth upwards with 2017 holding the peak membership numbers and 2020 being the lowest as the pandemic had a massive impact on the Association. Current membership sits just over the 11,000 mark. Youth members are at their lowest since 2010, however, Adult memberships are on an onward trend. Burk noted that each USEA Area has their own unique identity. Their health is directly tied to the availability of venues, levels offered, and local professionals.

With that in mind, Burk started the conversation around how to create new eventing hubs, outside of ones already established across the country such as in Lexington, Kentucky, Temecula, California and Ocala, Florida. The discussion was on how the USEA can assist with reinvigorating Areas that have seen recent downward trends in activity.

Vice President of Administration and Finance and Treasurer Brian Murray shared his findings from his Treasurer’s Report which shows that as of June 30, 2023, USEA revenue derived from memberships and events has declined 12.4% in comparison to 2022. Murray shared that a readjustment of revenues and expenses is required to establish financial stability for the Association and that a task force has been created to evaluate the current situation.

USEA Foundation Updates

Two new grants from the USEA Foundation are being rolled out for the 2023 season: the Kim Meier “Kick On” Memorial Grant and the Richard Picken Memorial Grant. The "Kick On" grant is currently open for application, and the Richard Picken grant will open shortly. More information can be found here.

A new relief fund for events was proposed by BOG member John Bourgoin, who shared a letter he wrote to the USEA regarding severe weather damage which has impacted Area I. Over the years many events have had to cancel due to flooding or weather related facility damage. Bourgoin shared how important it is that the USEA support these venues during disasters and proposed contributions from the USEA Foundation to support venues in the face of extreme hardships. It was approved that the USEA would recommend to the Foundation that a disaster relief fund be created to aid in times such as these.

Competitions Updates

Vice President of Competitions and Organizers Representative, at-large, Sharyn Antico brought up the recent issue of late submission of entries which strains organizer budget planning and scheduling. Many riders are waiting until the last day of entries or even past the closing date to enter as they would rather pay the late fee than lose their entry entirely if they were to become unable to compete. Different solutions were discussed such as offering discounted entry fees in the early weeks of an event’s open period that would increase as the closing date drew closer and the possibility of insurance for riders so that they could be compensated if they were to withdraw entry for valid reasons. No decisions were made at this meeting, but it is anticipated that this will be an ongoing point of discussion unless this trend resolves.

Membership Updates

The USEA membership committee presented the Board with standards for a proposed Starter division. USEA committees have reviewed the proposal and collectively approved that the Starter level should be standardized under the USEA. This would allow those competing at the Starter level to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC). Flag colors were discussed for the Starter level, with one recommendation being that red flags with black numbers be utilized for this new level, but it was ultimately decided to allow flag colors up to the discretion of the organizers as is currently the standard. For those not wishing to earn points on the leaderboard or AEC qualifications membership, and horse registration would not be necessary to compete in this division.

With cost-saving measures in mind, the USEA staff proposed the potential reduction of the Eventing USA magazine from six issues a year to once a quarter. Shipping and printing costs have risen dramatically in recent years, which led to this decision. The BOG consented to this decision if made by the USEA after the review of production costs.

Committee Updates

The Grooms Committee requested additional funding for educational activities. Currently, the program hosts 10 educational nights (five in Aiken, South Carolina, and five in Ocala, Florida) per year and this additional funding would allow for six additional educational activities to take place on the West Coast in California and one more night to each of the East Coast venues. It was suggested that perhaps the Poggio Fund, managed by the USEA Foundation, could assist with the increased cost to host these additional activities.

The Young Event Horse (YEH) Committee requested funds to host a one-day symposium in Ocala, Florida where riders, trainers, and judges can come together to learn about how to train young event horses. An official proposal for this Symposium will be submitted for consideration at the September 19 meeting of the BOG.

The USEA Board of Governors will continue to meet via conference call until their next in-person meeting at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention from Dec. 6-10 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Apr 23, 2024 Competitions

Grab Your USEA Gear at the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event!

There are so many things to love about the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event and the opportunity to peruse the booths of so many amazing vendors is definitely one of them! Don’t forget to stop by the USEA booth, located just behind the Rolex Stadium next to the large Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event booth, to stock up on all of your favorite USEA apparel.

Apr 23, 2024 Competitions

Modified Match To Be Introduced at 2024 Woodside Spring Horse Trials

After the first competition at Modified was held at The Horse Park at Woodside in California in 2023, the level will be under an even bigger spotlight with the Modified Match that will be offered at the 2024 Woodside Spring Horse Trials that will take place from May 24-26.

Apr 23, 2024 Interscholastic

Meet the 2024 IEL Championship Teams

The inaugural USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) Championship at Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina, is just over a week away, which means it is time to meet the teams that are set to compete! A total of 43 competitors representing eight IEL Clubs will make up the 11 teams that are set to compete in the 2024 USEA IEL Championship on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5.

Apr 22, 2024 Competitions

Fast Facts: 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event

Welcome back to one of the most exciting weeks in eventing in the U.S.—Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event week! The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, is going to be full to the brim with eventing lovers from all over the world.

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