The USEA Board of Governors (BOG) concluded a productive two days of the August BOG meeting on Wednesday, August 9th in Dulles, Virginia led by USEA President Max Corcoran. All but four BOG members were able to attend in person this year. Many key items related to eventing in the U.S. were discussed at great length including safety, membership strategies, competition procedures, visibility of the sport, and more over the course of the two-day gathering.
USEA CEO Rob Burk kicked off his report with a kind tribute to five BOG members who were attending their final August meeting as their terms will be up at the end of the year. The list of retiring BOG members includes Morgan Rowsell, Dr. Jennifer Miller, Jerry Schurink, Alice Sarno, and current USEA President Max Corcoran.
Burk reported that membership numbers, while a tick down from 2021, are strong for the current economic climate with just over 12,000 members currently. Following a lull in 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic, international memberships have rebounded for the calendar year. Both youth memberships and adult amateur memberships are on a slight decline for the year so far, prompting some discussion about how the USEA can meet the needs of youth and adult riders within the membership.
Of the many topics that were discussed, calendar modifications were a big-hitting topic across the two-day span. “The USEA Board of Governors have made it clear that they want all impacted competitions and their organizers, the Area Councils and members to continue to have a say in the calendar process” said Burk. “The USEA will continue to push for strong transparency and an adequate period of review as we work through the United States Equestrian (USEF) on licensed competition scheduling.”
Five calendar modifications were brought forward to the BOG, three of which were requests to add the Modified division to future horse trials, and all calendar modifications were approved. In addition, the Area Affairs Committee and the Calendar, Competitions, and Rules Committee recommend the USEA Board of Governors ask the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) to include eventing dressage tests for use at the USDF opportunity classes. It is not a requirement to be a member of the USDF to participate in the opportunity classes. The board approved this motion and USEA leadership will be reaching out to the USDF on behalf of the USEA to kickstart this process.
While preparations are well underway for the upcoming 2022 meeting and convention in Savannah, Georgia, the location of the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention was decided. The USEA is thrilled to announce the return of the prestigious gathering to Area IV for the first time since 2006. This 2023 Annual Meeting & Convention will take place in St. Louis, Missouri. More details will be released at a later date.
Members of the BOG had a deep discussion on the suspension of members based on violations of the USEA code of conduct or principles on which the association is built. The USEA will be tasking the legal committee with reviewing the USEA Members Code of Conduct to make sure it is up to date and relevant.
A motion was approved to provide volunteers that log 10 hours through eventingvolunteers.com with a free digital USEA supporting membership for the year following their service (ex: if 10+ volunteer hours are logged in 2023, the volunteer will receive a free digital USEA supporting membership in 2024).
Perhaps one of the most exciting motions to be approved during this week’s meeting was one put forward by the Cross-Country Safety Subcommittee. The USEA Board of Governors voted to approve the use of $100,000 to create the seed money for a new safety fund to be held by the USEA Foundation. These funds will be available to aid with all safety measures, including those related to frangible technology grants.
In an attempt to help support new events, a motion was passed that would allow for a $500 reimbursement for new events to be reimbursed for the hiring of qualified Technical Delegates. Those funds would be made available to the organizers of new events at new competition sites, and to organizers of formerly USEA recognized horse trials that have not been licensed by the USEF over the previous three years.
A number of other measures, and budgetary adjustments were also approved and will be reported in subsequent USEA releases. 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 December 7-11, 2022 in Savannah, Georgia.
After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Poland CCIO4*-NC-S at the Strzegom Horse Trials (Poland) from June 21-25, 2023. The team will be under the direction of USEF Eventing Emerging and Development Coach Leslie Law.