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.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.
Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.
Please always remain vigilant when it comes to sending any personal communications via email or text. Every year we receive reports of members and leaders of our sport receiving phishing attempts both online and by phone. These are often communications disguised as being sent from USEA staff or other leaders. As the years go on, the phishing attempts appear to be more directed and tailored.