USEA Convention: Saturday Afternoon Live Thread

Check out Kat Netzler’s recap of the Membership Meeting here.
Thanks for visiting our Saturday live thread.  *In live threads, I type as fast as possible in a real-time, stream of consciousness format.  There is no time for proof reading, so I apologize for the inevitable spelling and grammatical mistakes.

About an inch of snow is on the ground here in Reston, VA, as part of Eventing Nation’s in-depth weather coverage.  A special thanks to Area II for buying me lunch.  They provided boxed lunches free of charge to all convention-goers.  It was delicious and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  
12:45 PM-USEA Annual Membership Meeting: President Kevin Baumgardner opened the meeting.  The USEA entries and financials have survived the economic downturn well relative to other horse sports.  A big goal moving forward is to increase membership. The USEA is debt-free, something I always love to see in an organization or company.  The total operating revenue was $3,638,354 for 2009 and total operating expenses of $3,494,366.  Net Operating HQ had a profit of $52,490 and the Net Operating Profit from the Areas is $91,498. 
Completely unqualified statement warning disclosure: from just watching the financial news throughout the year, it seems like the USEA has fared better than many many other organizations.  A lot of credit should go to good leadership and a lot should go to great support by all the USEA members.  Now back to what is going on.
A standing ovation for Treasurer Gary Stegman, who is cycling out of the position after this year due to term limits.  Now a lot of standing ovations, and more ovations for various commendations and awards.  The USEA staff members who have served for 10 or more years are being honored.  I would try to type these names, but I am afraid of misspelling them.  President Baumgardner stressed the incredible cohesiveness of the USEA staff.  
Now vote on nominations or members of the Board, in the form of an en masse vote.  Unanimously approved.  
Now there is a long discussion right now about formally establishing a President Emeritus position where the outgoing USEA president would serve in an advisory position for one year after leaving the position of president, if approved of by the Board.  There are some concerns by membership about a smooth succession, and about an ‘old-boys club’ taking hold of the USEA, but the Board of Governors is eloquently speaking for the proposal.  I don’t feel that I understand the issue well enough, and arguments are coming too quickly for me to write accurately about the topic.  I am sure that the USEA and Chronicle will have great coverage of this later, and we will link to that.
Please look at the 2009 Proxy from the USEA for more info on the topics of the meeting.
The motion to change the bylaws was approved by a majority.  I believe this means that there is a new President Emeritus position, which cannot vote, but will serve in an advisory capacity for 1 year after leaving office as president if specifically approved by the board.  I didn’t count the votes, but maybe it looked like 70% voted for the issue, and many didn’t vote.  Meeting adjourned.
2:00 PM-Breeding and Preparing the 4* Horse: Bruce Davidson, Buck Davidson, and Denny Emerson are speaking and answering questions about breeding and developing event horses.

Update: This is the best talk I have heard in a long time and I almost feel bad writing about it because I can’t possibly do it justice.
Bruce Davidson Main Points:
-In breeding, mares can only reproduce themselves: 60% comes from mare, 40% from stallion.
-Nutrition in soil is important to raising young horses.
-How a horse is raised has a huge impact on its potential in life.
-“Overweight, overfed, overindulged ruins [young horses].”
-Give the young horse a shed, and give them company in open space where they can gallop and condition themselves.
-The cream rises to the top, but a decent horse well ridden and well produced can have a lot of success.  
If you want to be a 4* rider, you need to take the time to go through the process of learning how to develop a horse. “If you know where you are going, it’s a very achievable goal.”
-My take: what an incredible speech, no way I could do it justice, you have to hear Bruce Davidson speak in person sometime.  It’s incredible.
Denny Emerson
-Need to remember that the horses we breed today will reach their peak around 2020, so we need to look ahead to where the sport will be in 10 years.  The switch away from long format had a big impact on breeding.
-Asked Buck how he turned My Boy Bobby into the best placed US horse at Rolex 2009.
Buck Davidson responds:
-Buck got the ride on Bobby after the horse struggled with a few prelims.  Bobby really struggled at his first event with Buck, and Buck doubted his potential.  Basically Bobby had a really up and down first few events with Buck.  This was last fall, and many problems were occurring at the end of courses.  Fitness seemed to be an issue.  Then Buck worked with him all winter, which included 1.5 hour trot sets approximately 4 times a week.   He won everything in the spring.  Buck keeps mentioning a ‘feel’ for fitness.  Buck is giving a great talk, the crowd is into it and he is very sure of himself in a good way. Buck says that so much of the pair’s success now is that Bobby trusts Buck.  Funny quote: “He’s not a horse that I would hang out with, he’s pretty boring.” 
From the Discussion: Bruce said you definitely want to breed a horse who is lighter than My Boy Bobby.  You can improve a trot 80% on a horse, you can improve the canter 20%, the natural jump in the canter and gallop is so important in our horses.  Horses at any level need to submit and go quiet, straight, and forward.  From there, experience will make the horse braver.  
3:00 PM-Planning for the 2010 WEGs: David O’Connor, John Long, Mark Phillips, Richard Jeffries, and Jane Beshear
Here are a few ideas from John Long:  This will be the first WEGs ever held outside of Europe.  The changes to the KHP will make it one of the premiere equestrian venues in the World.  The Games are dedicated to helping the state of KY.  The Games want to be technically (footing, etc.), culturally (meeting of nations, and showing Kentucky to the World), and financially perfect.  Primary revenue drivers: tickets, hospitality, trade fair and sponsorship.  The WEGs has really struggled finding sponsors in this economic climate.  They have sold 40% of tickets as of now.  Now a video about the WEGs is being shown.  The final selection trials for the WEGs are the 2010 AECs in GA.  
First Lady of the Commonwealth of Kentucky Jane Beshear is now speaking.  Governor Beshear was unable to make the flight because the Dulles Airport would not let the plane land due to weather.  Thanks to the KHP, Kentucky is known as one of the premier sport horse places on Earth.  The WEGs will make Lexington the premier sport horse location.  First Lady calls it a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.  “This is not just a Lexington event, it is a United States event.”  The KHP is the only venue on Earth where all 8 equestrian sports can take place completely on one facility’s property (with the exception of a few loops of the endurance event).  The WEGs are putting a really big priority on making the games more green.
Factoid from David: 690 Horses will be shipped by air to the US for the WEGs.  This makes it the largest horse air-lift in history.  
Richard Jeffries: giving a preview of the show jumps for the show jumping competition .  He was not specific about which of these jumps would be used for eventing.  The show jumping day 1 jumps are going to have major Kentucky themes.  The themed jumps that Jeffries explained would be present: an Alltech theme, a Kentucky black 3-board fence design.  He also mentioned tobacco and bourbon themed jumps, which caused some legal issues with the FEI and European television.  Therefore, the tobacco jump will be called ‘vegetation’ and the bourbon jumps will be called ‘barrels.’  A barnyard themed jump.  A Rolex jump using the state flower, Golden Rod, which is yellow and green.  Riverboat themed jump.  Show jumping day 2 will have Horse Racing themed jumps.  The Keenland gate theme, the quarter pole, starting gates, the Seabiscuit filming, Churchill Downs, Calumet Farm (the only Kentucky farm to breed 2 Triple Crown winners), Gainesway farm, are all themes for jumps on day 2.  Day 3 is about iconic images of Kentucky with themes including Louisville Slugger, bluegrass music, Abe Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, and Ft. Knox, 
-Btw, the price of me doing this writing today is that I didn’t get to watch UK beat UNC by 2 points.  If you know me, you know that means a lot.  Go Cats.  The snow is continuing to fall and there are a few inches on the ground.
That’s all from the Saturday live thread, thanks for reading.  More on the Hall of Fame later.
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