Many of the proposals which came out of the summer meeting of the USEA Board of Governors will go on to be voted on by the members at the USEA Annual Meeting and Covention. StockImageServices.com Photo
The USEA Board of Governors met for two full days this past week in Dulles, Virginia for the annual summer Board Meeting. The main focus of the summer Board Meeting is strategic planning and addressing the issues that face the sport and its many constituents. Much of the focus was on ways to keep the sport welcoming and user-friendly for all levels of competition.
“The summer Board Meeting is always my favorite in that we bring together a very diverse group of people and freely discuss the issues that the sport of Eventing is facing”, said USEA President, Diane Pitts. “We have an outstanding Board of Governors and we manage to put aside our differences and check our egos at the door. We roll up our sleeves and work our way to what we believe are the best solutions to the issues and problems we face. We work to be responsive to the membership and this year we spent a lot of time discussing the need to ensure that the lower levels remain welcoming and to stop the perceived upward “creep” in cross country questions at the lower levels.”
Proposals that will be put forth by the USEA Board of Governors to the USEF Eventing Technical Committee for Rule Changes include:
- Modified Level: The addition of a supplementary level that would bridge the gap between the Training and Preliminary Levels. The level will be identified as “Modified” and cross-country and show jumps will be set at 3’5” with the dressage test to include medium paces at the trot and canter, an introduction to leg yielding and changes of lead through the trot. Riders will have to obtain two NQRs at horse trials at the Training Level or higher in order to enter the Modified division. Whether this level is offered at a competition will be the option of the Organizer and it will not be a prerequisite for moving to Preliminary. It is there as a learning and training tool. If this proposal goes forward, the level would be added beginning in 2017. The transition from Training to Preliminary has long been considered the most difficult transition in the sport of Eventing. Among other reasons, the introduction of a Modified level is viewed as a way to prevent the perceived need to increase speeds and difficulty at the lower levels.
- Opening Dates: Proposal to change the wording of EV106.3 OPENING DATE to make all events open the Tuesday prior to the date that falls six weeks before the first day of the competition rather than mandating eight weeks for CCNs. CCN is an international term to designate Three-Day Events which run under national jurisdiction and the majority are at Training level and below. Most CCNs are run in conjunction with horse trials and the two sets of opening dates are confusing to riders.
- Helmet and Body Protector Standards: Currently the USEF Rules for Eventing does not state a standard required for helmets, however it does recommend one for body protectors. With the new ASTM/SEI Standard released for helmets, the USEA BOG has recommended parallel wording for both pieces of protective equipment. While the wording is still being finalized, the rule would require all riders to wear a helmet and body protector meeting, at a minimum, the previous ASTM/SEI standard and strongly recommend the equipment meet the newest standard. In addition, body protectors meeting the BETA standards (the European equivalent) will be accepted.
In addition to the three rule proposals, the Membership Committee is working with the Course Designers Committee on language for Appendix 1 Levels of Horse Trials in the Rules for Eventing and the USEA Course Design Guidelines. The Membership Committee’s focus has been to ensure that the courses are appropriate for the lower levels in particular.
Several changes were also discussed for USEA policies. These are not USEF rules, but rather policies that will be put into place following the USEA Governors vote. The BOG voted to make the following changes to the USEA Policies:
- Overall Leaderboard Revision: Currently the USEA Overall Leaderboard only includes points from levels Preliminary and above. The USEA BOG voted to change the policy to include results from Beginner Novice, Novice and Training levels using a separate point scale.
- Amateur Upgrade Policy Amendment for Juniors: If an eligible junior opts to enter a non-age restrictive Rider Division or Open Division when a Junior Division is offered, the upgrade policy will not apply. Juniors not eligible to compete in a non-age restrictive Rider Division - as defined in Appendix 3 of the Rules for Eventing - shall receive the full benefits of the upgrade policy.
In addition to immediate changes to the sport, the Governors continued its strategic planning for the future with topics including the impact of Area realignment and new levels intended to provide an easier introduction into the sport including Eventing Derby and Parallel Beginner Novice (a division designed to give new competitors a friendlier introduction to the sport that would allow for some coaching (including having a test reader in dressage) as well as more lenient rules for cross-country and show jumping.
Much more discussion will continue on these topics and many more at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention on December 2-6 in Washington D.C. If you want to be a part of the discussion, please attend or contact your Area Council or Area Board Representative.