At the 2014 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention, we bid farewell to two departing board members; Jonathan Holling and Mike Winter had both fulfilled their 6-year term on the USEA Board of Governors. But, after a fond sendoff, the membership welcomed two new board members: Morley Thompson, Jr. and Harold “Tink” Eichell. Additionally, Leslie Law will take over the VP of Active Athletes position from Holling.
After the 2015 Appointments at the Board of Governor’s meeting on Sunday, December 7, the various USEA committees gave their reports. Marjorie Malloy gave the report of the Organizers’ Committee, and explained that in 2014, the “elephant in the room” was the question of how the implementation of several CIC/CCI events would impact the calendar of national horse trials. She explained that overall, the majority of responses had been positive on how the calendar decisions were made. The discussion of calendar planning and mapping out horse trial dates in a way that meets the needs of riders and organizers alike was an ongoing discussion throughout the week and was touched on in the USEF Active Athletes meeting and in Lou Leslie’s strategic planning report.
Katherine Cooper reported that the Equine Medical Research Initiative, which added $1 to starter fees to fund equine medical research studies, has been highly successful in its first year and furthermore, well-received by members who seem glad to give to the cause. Phyllis Dawson, VP of Education, reported that since 2011, 50 new officials have been licensed.
Mike Huber gave the Competitions Committee report, which included a few proposals to be considered by the board. The first proposal was to change the overall leaderboard to include points earned below the Preliminary level. It was pointed out that, if the overall leaderboard, which determines major awards like Rider of the Year and Lady Rider of the year, were to include points earned at the Beginner Novice through Training levels, there would need to be a graded point system. A win at Advanced would count for more points than a win at Novice, for instance. The Competitions Committee will review this proposal further and iron out some of the details for further consideration. A proposal was also made to raise $5,000 for keeper trophies for the winners of year-end individual awards, such as Novice Adult Amateur of the Year, Training Horse of the Year, etc.
Mike Huber asked the Board and members to revisit the idea of adding a level between Training and Preliminary on behalf of the Professional Horseman’s Council (PHC). Huber explained that instead of making Training more difficult, a 3’5” division would help bridge the gap between the two levels, or become a goal levels for riders who may not want to compete at Preliminary. The PHC believes that the Training/Preliminary hybrid division does not accomplish this goal, because the cross-country is still at Training Level. In the show jumping world, in comparison, the levels go up in .5 meter increments, which allows horses to slowly progress up the levels instead of making huge leaps to the next level. Huber explained that a 3’5” division would be a less severe “step up” from Training in all three phases. This will be discussed further at the next board meeting.
Finally, the locations of the next three annual meetings were announced: Washington, DC in 2015, Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2016, and Long Beach, California in 2017.