This afternoon USEA President Max Corcoran called to order the first meeting of the USEA Board of Governors at the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. This is the first of two meetings of the Governors as they bookend a long weekend of committee meetings, education, and fun in Albuquerque, N.M.
“It has been a full year, we are still battling COVID-19, but I think we figured out how to compete successfully in the difficult times,” said Corcoran in her President’s report highlighting the success of the year. “The USEA Committees are really hard at work especially the ICP Committee and Safety Committee. The Emerging Athletes Program is really starting to take shape as we look to re-establish the young rider programs after COVID and years without a central championship. The Future Event Horse and Young Event Horse programs are doing great – those are the horses that hopefully will be on our team at the L.A. Olympics in 2028 so it is great to see the programs flourishing.”
“The inaugural Maryland 5 Star was a fantastic competition,” continued Corcoran. “It really upped everyone’s game. The USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds was a huge success again and the Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) programs are just something else – Intercollegiate is a fantastic program and hopefully, IEL will follow in the tradition as well.”
Following Corcoran’s opening address the meeting got down to business with the Board voting to remove the $5 COVID-19 Recovery Fee for all starters beginning on January 1, 2022. The fee will remain in effect on the membership for one more year.
The Board then approved the incoming Area Chairs:
The next motion was a vote to approve the establishment of a Grooms’ Committee and education program.
The co-chairs of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, Dr. Anastasia Curwood and Heather Gillette, then delivered an update on their committee’s initiatives to the Board. The DEI Committee helped write the MARS Great Meadow International land acknowledgment on their website, and are offering to help land acknowledgments of other eventing properties. The committee has also been working on doing a climate survey among the membership. The USEA and USEA Foundation’s ally partnership, Strides For Equality Equestrians (SEE), has provided access grants to Detroit Horsepower and established the Ever So Sweet Scholarship.
Curwood and Gillette brought forward the proposal of establishing a Para-Eventing Task Force which fits into DEI’s mission of bringing everyone into the sport. The Task Force would investigate the concept of providing opportunities for para-equestrians to compete in the sport of eventing. One example would be helping riders navigate getting adaptive equipment that may be currently illegal under the rules allowed. The Board voted to approve the establishment of the Para-Eventing Task Force.
The spotlight then turned to the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) as the ICP Committee has been working hard to rebuild the entire structure of the ICP. The ICP Committee put several motions to the Governors and the Board voted unanimously to pass them all.
The first motion was the approval of the new USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels. The writing of this handbook has been two years in the making and the process was led by Subcommittee Chair Jennifer Howlett Rousseau. “It was a lot of imagination and innovation. In the end, all roads lead to rider safety,” she said. The handbook was inspired by Dan Michael’s proposal of a “skills matrix” and then was carefully crafted over two years and has gone through the approval of nearly all the USEA Committees before the Board’s approval.
Other ICP motions that passed included a change to the certification levels, elimination of provisional certification, revisions to the ICP Standards Booklet and ICP Workbook, and a motion to allow the ICP Committee to make clarification without full Board approval.
The final segments of today’s Board meeting included reports from the USEA Foundation Chair Diane Pitts and US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney. Pitts reported that the Foundation is healthy and looks to the Board for guidance on what the focus of fundraising should be. The USEA Foundation currently has three main “pots” the Endowment, program funds, and donor grant funds all of which are strong focuses of fundraising.
Moroney gave an update on the overall state of US Equestrian (USEF). “We had a resounding comeback financially – we had a very conservative budget and there were savings on the expenses and surplus for revenue and that amazed me during a COVID year. Overall, a few less competitions were able to run, but the ones that did were mostly oversold. USEF switched to a flex schedule for their employees. We had a reduction in our workforce during the pandemic but are adding back now and focusing on areas that will bring value to members such as finance and athlete services,” he said.
In his report, Moroney also touched on looking ahead to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles as well as the modern pentathlon situation. “What happened with modern pentathlon really needs to raise the antenna,” said Moroney. “It has a bearing on us – pick up the mirror, make sure that horse and human welfare is first and foremost. We need to be ahead of the game.”
Moroney will be speaking again tomorrow in the USEF High Performance Athletes Open Forum to address the recent changes in the high performance eventing program.
The USEA Board of Governors will reconvene on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. for the final meeting of the weekend.
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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 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 9-12, 2021. 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, Gallops Saddlery, Mountain Horse USA, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Parker Equine Insurance, RevitaVet, Rebecca Farm, SmartPak Equine, Standlee Premium Western Forage, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Sunsprite Warmbloods, World Equestrian Brands, Area X, and Saratoga Horseworks.
It was a busy day at Stable View Oktoberfest in Aiken, South Carolina as all FEI divisions and a few national divisions kicked off their competition weekend, including the 2023 USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships. Both the 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds got their chance to shine down the centerline at the start of the day, with the 7-year-olds also giving their best effort across Michael Vallaincourt’s show jumping track later this afternoon.
The USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) has initiated a renewed focus on the diverse challenges coaches in various regions of the country may be facing. To this end, the program is in the process of enlisting representatives in each of the 10 USEA areas to help guide the program as warranted for the unique needs of each specific area.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has opened nominations for the annual appreciation awards through Oct. 29. This is an opportunity for the sport to recognize those horses and riders who excelled in eventing throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to recognize and honor the very important people who have served the sport tirelessly both in a non-riding capacity and riding capacity during their golden years.
Anticipation for the 2024 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship and inaugural USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) Championship is growing, and the host venue, Stable View, is up for the task of making both events an unforgettable experience for all involved. For the first time, the Intercollegiate and IEL program championships will be hosted on the same weekend at the Stable View H.T. in Aiken, South Carolina, on May 4-5, 2024, creating greater unity between the programs and demonstrating a clear pipeline of participation in the sport from grade school through college and beyond.