Boyd Martin Brings the House Down During Keynote Address + More USEA Convention Highlights

Boyd Martin had the audience rolling with laughter during his keynote address. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The USEA Annual Meeting and Convention at the Westin Long Beach hotel in Long Beach, CA is winding down. It’s been a productive few days as the best minds in the sport have come together to discuss, brainstorm and vote on key aspects to improve and develop eventing in the U.S. It has also been an educational opportunity for USEA members as sessions have featured everything from hoof health to nutrition to entering your first FEI event.

The Annual Meeting of Members luncheon was this afternoon. CEO Rob Burk, President Carol Kozlowski and Treasurer Morley Thompson updated the membership on the status of the organization. Read more about these details in the USEA’s detailed report here.

We honored outgoing volunteers who have been integral to the running of the organization:

  • USEA Foundation Chair Kevin Baumgardner
  • Area I Chair Hilary DeAngelis
  • Area V Chair Siobhan O’Brien
  • Area VII Chair John Meriwether
  • Area VIII Chair Cathy Wieschhoff
  • Board of Governor member Katherine Cooper
  • Board of Governor member Leslie Law
  • Board of Governor Rick Wallace

We also welcomed new and renewing Board members including:

  • John Bourgoin, Area I (2018-2020)
  • Sharon Anthony, Area III (2018-2020)
  • Debra Dealcuaz, Area V (2018-2020)
  • Morley Thompson, Area VIII (2018-2020)
  • Harold “Tink” Eichell, At Large (2018-2020)
  • Doug Payne, At Large (2018-2020)
  • John Staples, At Large (2018-2020)

Next Boyd Martin took the stage to deliver his keynote address. His lively, entertaining talk had the audience in stitches as he recounted his adventurous life with horses and the path of his eventing career.

Classic Three-Day Open Forum

The USEA Classics Series keeps the traditional long format alive at events around the country. The Classic Three-Day Task Force accomplished numerous items this year and reviewed those at yesterday’s open forum as well as took questions and ideas from the membership.

Chair Gretchen Butts said the Task Force clarified the guidelines for three-days and raised the level of USEA support and promotion both in event coverage and through the Classic Corner in the USEA eNewsletter. “Each Classic has gotten the attention we feel they deserve,” Gretchen said.

Another major initiative of the task force is to create and provide resources about Classic events. Many educational articles have been gathered or written and compiled on the USEA website under the Classic heading. These resources exist to prepare horses and riders for a successful three-day experience and the development of these resources is ongoing.

Four-star event rider Colleen Rutledge was in attendance and stressed the important of the long format three-day in her own training program: “The learning experience for my horses is unlike anything else they can do. Mine do a Training Three-Day and Preliminary Three-Day. Especially for the non-Thoroughbreds, the horses start learning how to deal with themselves when they get tired.”

While the knowledge (not to mention pure joy) that is gained through participating in a three-day is extremely rewarding, the task force and fans of the long format would like to see more people get involved. “Let’s find the population the Classics have value to and capitalize on that,” Gretchen said.

Cindy Deporter, task force member and Classics organizer, reminded the room that a horse and rider finishing a long format event earn double the points on the USEA leaderboard. She added, “We make it as purely educational as we can and that really meets the mission of the USEA organization.”

Eventing Sport Committee

The USEF Eventing Sport Committee approved the selection procedures for the NAJYRC and renewed Leslie Law’s contract as Developing Rider coach has been approved. It was also noted that the Under 25 Emerging Athletes list has been approved and will be released on Monday.

The recommended World Equestrian Games selectors are Jan Byyny, Phyllis Dawson, Derek di Grazia, and Deb Furnas with Marcia Kulak as an alternate selector and Robert Costello as advisor. This list will go forward to the International Disciplinary Committee for approval.

The committee approved a rewording of EV114.5 to clarify the colors of helmets or helmet covers that are legal to wear in both dressage and show jumping.

ERA of NA Awards

Last night the Event Riders Association of North America hosted a reception and honored the following people with special awards:

  • Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award – Andi Lawrence
  • As You Like It Owner’s Award – Pam Duffy and Don Trotter of Sunsprite Warmbloods
  • Audrey Wiggins – Amateur Impact Award
  • Carolyn Macintosh – Seema Sonnad Above and Beyond Personnel Award

We look forward to tonight’s dazzling awards ceremony honoring the event horses and riders who topped the leaderboards at each level, awarding life-changing grants and showing appreciation to exceptional individuals in the sport.

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