The USEA Board of Governors had their first of two meetings at the Annual Meeting and Convention this morning at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and Resort in Washington, D.C. The various USEA Committees presented status reports and general association business was discussed. Here are a few highlights.
- The Association is financially sound and in good standing. Total revenue this year was $4.3 million with $4.2 million in expenses. Area revenue is up 5% and expenses are up 0.3% with a surplus of $12.5k, which is up $30k from the year before. There is a slightly upward trend in membership. National starter numbers are also trending up, while FEI starter numbers have increased significantly.
- The Board of Governors gave outgoing USEA CEO Jo Whitehouse a standing ovation, thanking her for her many years of service to the Association. Jo will continue to be involved in the sport as a fundraiser for the organization.
- USEF President Chrystine Tauber was in attendance and reported on the work being done at the USEF. She said the challenge within the organization is to stay true to certain traditions while innovating to stay relevant. The USEF Board is smaller and more strategic than it has been in the past, and this year the Federation created a new mission and vision statement.The USEF mirrors the USEA’s own interest in creating a pathway for riders and bringing new people into the sport. Chrystine said we have to work together to achieve this goal and that for the first time ever, affiliate presidents and CEOs will come together in a round table session in order to approve communications within the governing organizations.
- The USEA’s Equine Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research Study gathered data from competing horses at four events this year and they would like to work at another four events next year, extending the reach further West in order to gather data on a new set of horses. The Board unanimously moved to send the Development and Equine Medical Research Committees to discuss providing additional funding for the study. Jo stated that this study is garnering international attention and the results of the study are of interest around the world.
- VP of Membership and Program Development Mark Hart reported that there is a concentration to make the sport more inclusive and give members options and opportunities to participate at recognized events. The Strategic Planning Committee chaired by Lou Leslie “explores the concepts that will keep the USEA viable and vibrant.” The development of the proposed DX Eventing division is an example of bringing these concepts to life.
- We heard from Safety Committee Co-Chairs Sarah Broussard and Carol Kozlowski. They have tasked themselves with providing more education for cross country builders and course designers and will be assisted in that through the Course Designer’s Educational Grant announced this summer.Carol said they are also keeping a close eye on the studies on air vests that have been conducted in Britain. “It’s being recognized that we need to be better informed and educated as to the true effects they have in keeping our riders safe. We honestly don’t know as much about it as we should,” Carol said.
There was much discussion regarding whether the USEA should recommend or require that helmets and air vests used in competition meet or exceed the minimum ASTM/SEI standards in horse sport. The current rules recommend that they meet the minimum standards, not require. The impassioned discussion was tabled and will be considered further in the coming days.