Notes and Updates from US Equestrian’s Public Board of Directors Meeting

The US Equestrian Board of Directors met virtually via Zoom on Sunday, January 17, the final day of the 2021 US Equestrian Annual Meeting. During this meeting, elections occurred for the office of Secretary/Treasurer and for an independent seat, and board members discussed and voted on committee appointees, reviewed council updates and reports, and discussed other pertinent business. Watch the BOD Meeting public session here.

The Board Meeting began in the morning, with outgoing President Murray Kessler leading the final BOD session of his tenure. Kessler and President-Elect Tom O’Mara reviewed the positive financial position of the Federation despite the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, commending both the staff and board members for their flexibility and commitment to reducing costs to ensure the viability of the organization. The board thanked Kessler for his vision, commitment, and leadership over the past four years at the helm of the organization, and Kessler officially handed over the reins to newly elected president, Tom O’Mara.

The second session began with the board elections and ratification of the composition of a number of committees. Current independent board member Judy Sloan was voted into the Secretary/Treasurer position and longtime equestrian Admiral Jon Kreitz was elected to the independent board seat.

US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney recapped the 2020 budget management process that took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting event closures in the spring of 2020. Flexibility, weekly financial review and continuous forecasting were integral to responsibly managing the USEF finances. While revenues were negatively impacted, expenses reductions also occurred, primarily due to postponement and cancellation of events. This resulted in a surplus at year-end, however many of the expenses reduced as a result of event postponements will carry forward to 2021 as those events are expected to occur. The 2020 approach to managing finances will continue through 2021.

Bill provided updates on the USEF’s decision to join the AAEP, AHC, and other organizations in opposing the proposed compromise PAST Act. He also reported that recommendations will be brought forward to modify the mileage rule exemption process for competitions, taking into consideration feedback from members including the efficiency, consistency, transparency and accountability of the process. A proposal will be put forward in the next 7-10 days for feedback from affiliates and members before it goes to the board. The Competition Task Force will be repopulated by this Friday and will begin the important work of analyzing the member feedback and ideas that have been submitted to the USEF for consideration. Lastly, Bill announced that the 2020 Annual Report will be out by the end of the month.

The CEO’s report begins at 2:29:25.

International Disciplines Council Chair Joe Mattingly and National Breeds & Disciplines Council Chair Mary Knowlton gave updates on the work of both international and national sport councils respectively, outlining the successes and challenges of 2020, and the work ahead in 2021, including the preparation for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and a variety of program expansion plans and growth opportunities. Bill Moroney provided the report of the Member Services Council which included highlights of their 2020 accomplishments and 2021 goals.

Chief Marketing and Content Officer, Vicki Lowell updated the Board of Directors on USEF’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan progress to date and shared plans for key initiatives that will launch in 2021. Among those are the “I Am US Equestrian” mini-documentary series and a rollout of DEI training for USEF representatives. Another key USEF DEI action plan strategy involves partnering with existing organizations already accomplishing meaningful work in increasing access to horses for underrepresented communities. To this end, the Community Outreach Organizations program and Opportunity Fund will create an avenue for USEF to provide visibility, free fan memberships, and access to qualifying grassroots equine organizations across the country as well as the chance to apply for competitive grants from a new Opportunity Fund. The board approved the allocation of $50,000 from the 2022 budget to launch the Opportunity Fund. More details will be announced on how organizations, members and sponsors can participate in the program in the coming weeks.

The marketing report begins at 2:44:07.

Watch the full BOD Public Session and more from the 2021 US Equestrian Annual Meeting on the USEF Network.