The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce a new parallel set of levels offering western eventing in the United States. To be held in conjunction with existing national levels up through Advanced, competitors will compete over the same course and tests offered at the traditional competition but will be able to do so while competing in western attire and western stock saddles.
“We have seen the success of western dressage in recent years, and we thought, why not eventing?” said USEA President Max Corcoran. “We all remember how well David O’Connor, Sinead Halpin, Allison Springer, and others have done crossing over for the Kentucky Reining Cup held during the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, so we said why not give it a go!”
The new national levels will be introduced in 2023. Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) will mimic their English-style counterparts. Riders previously qualified to compete in a given level will be able to transfer to the new western levels. Additionally, the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships will also offer the option of competing in Western or English divisions once qualified.
“Many of us dreamed of riding like cowgirls and cowboys as kids and now everyone will have the opportunity,” said USEA CEO Rob Burk. “I can’t wait to see champions like Liz Halliday-Sharp, Benjamin Noonan, Arden Wildasin, Tamie Smith, Lauren Nicholson, and others competing out there in full western attire! This has also opened up an entirely new set of potential sponsors for our events and we are in early talks with well-known brands like Wrangler apparel and Justin boots to fill the needs of our western competitors.”
Guidelines for the new attire and tack requirements are being outlined and the following rule proposals are currently in draft form awaiting USEA Board of Governors' approval:
1. Any Western type headstall without noseband in conjunction with any standard Western bit shall be allowed.
2. Bits: A standard Western bit is one that has a shank with a maximum overall length of 8 1/2 inches. The mouthpiece shall consist of a metal bar which is from 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch in diameter, varying from the straight bar to a full spade. Jointed mouthpieces are permitted. Flat leather chinstrap, other than the buckle(s), which must be at least 1/2 inch in width. Any device made of wire, metal or rawhide used in conjunction with or as part of leather chinstrap is prohibited. Curb chains are also allowed and must be at least 1/2 inch in width and lie flat against the jaw. Hackamore or snaffle bits (smooth mouth) will be permitted for use by Junior riders and Adult amateurs. Mechanical Hackamores are prohibited. Junior riders and Adult amateurs are permitted to compete in all Western levels with a snaffle bit or hackamore and riders may use two hands. Once a Junior rider or Adult amateur has shown with a standard Western bit, they may not go back and show in a snaffle bit or hackamore in the Western level. A hackamore includes a bosal rounded in shape and constructed of braided rawhide or leather and must have a flexible non-metallic core attached to a suitable headstall.
3. Split reins or closed reins with romal are equally acceptable. Only one hand may be used on reins and hands must not be changed except to negotiate an obstacle in show jumping and cross-country tests. When split reins are used and the ends fall on the side of the reining hand, one finger between the reins is permitted. When using Romal or if the split reins fall on the opposite side of the reining hand, no finger is allowed in between the reins. Rider may hold romal or ends of split reins to keep them from swinging and to adjust the position of the reins provided they are held with at least 16 inches of rein between the hands. When a hackamore is used, attached reins may be of hair, rope or leather.
4. Martingales or tie downs are prohibited.
5. Horses shall be shown with a stock saddle; silver equipment will be less preferred over a good working outfit. Sidesaddles are also permitted with proper attire.
6. Whips are not allowed other than with a sidesaddle.
1. Riders shall wear a Western hat, long-sleeved shirt with any type collar, trousers, or pants (one-piece long-sleeved equitation suit is acceptable provided it includes a collar). Chaps, shotgun chaps, and boots are required. A vest, jacket, coat, and/or sweater may also be worn. Protective headgear may be worn without penalty. (See GR801)
2. Spurs are optional.
3. For cross-country and show jumping tests rodeo/bull/bronc riding protective vests certified by the ASTM/SEI shall be worn as well as a certified helmet with a face cage.
. . . and in honor of April Fool's Day, this is just a joke. Happy April Fools!
The USEA is heartbroken to hear about the loss of James “Jimmy” C. Wofford. A lifelong lover and supporter of the sport, Wofford has had an astounding influence on where eventing is today and has tirelessly supported the goals of the United States Eventing Association. He served as president of the American Horse Show Association (now U.S. Equestrian (USEF)), was the first vice-president of the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET), and served as secretary of the USCTA (now USEA). He served two terms as a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, including two years as vice chairman. In addition, he has served on numerous committees during his career.
Experience the thrill of traditional long format three-day eventing by competing in a USEA Classic Series event in 2023! The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that the 2023 Classic Series calendar is now available.
Amanda Walker wasn’t sure what she’d gotten herself into when she went to try Runaway Romeo as a potential sales project in 2018. The gelding was a bit bigger than Walker was looking for and was quite pushy coming out of the stall. When she got on, it didn’t get much better.
For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.