Horse trial organizers share some of the frustrations they face due to scheduling and question what this means for the future of the sport.
Proposed changes to the 2008 eventing calendar, spearheaded by the National Calendar Sub-Committee of the U.S. Equestrian Federation Eventing Technical Committee, have rankled some of the country’s most venerable organizers. Some said they feel manipulated by the committee’s decisions, and many believe that their voices aren’t being heard.
The process prompted a dramatic reaction from Penny and Brian Ross, organizers of the spring and fall Virginia Horse Trials, the North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships and six local, unrecognized starter events.
On June 1, the couple withdrew their bid to host the 2007 fall two-star championships, a vacancy left on the calendar since the demise of Radnor (Pa.). They also cancelled the CCI** and intermediate division scheduled to run at this fall’s Virginia Horse Trials, plus withdrew applications to run a spring CCI* and CCI** and a fall CCI** in 2008.
The Ross’ decision was also influenced by remarks made on an Eventing Committee conference call on May 30-31, attended by Penny, in which she believes derogatory remarks were directed toward the Virginia Horse Trials.
“The committee… [is] so out of touch with the organizers’ heartbeat in this country,” said Penny in a statement sent to the Eventing Committee. “It is not, however, a new concept of this board to build an organizer up and then leave them hanging when [they] feel ready to move on or a better situation in [their] business philosophy presents itself.
“What sub-committee has the right to tell any Area and its organizers what is better for them? It has been [the organizers’] business to run events for decades,” Penny said later.
Malcolm Hook, Aurora, Ore., is the chairman of the Eventing Committee. “The authority to establish dates for championships, advanced horse trials and Fédé-ration Equestre Internationale competitions is given to the Eventing Technical Committee by USEF Rule EV 120,” he said. “Whether this authority also confers a right becomes a philosophical argument.”
|Denis Glaccum: Give The Organizers More Influence
Organizers have absolutely no direct way to influence who is and who is not on the U.S. Equestrian Federation Eventing Technical Committee. The U.S. Eventing Association has the ability to name 2/3 of the committee. However, general opinion suggests that the committee passes their approval or disapproval on those potential members the USEA proposes.
Organizers can only vote for USEA Board of Governor representatives as members of the USEA. Organizers have, by themselves, no voting influence over board members or officers of the USEF. Not a single eventing organizer serves on the USEF Board of Directors.
Who makes the decisions in the sport? What is the process for making these decisions?
I feel that the sport and the competitive opportunities we all seek will undergo major changes if the current practices are not changed.
I envision that in a few short years we will have only two types of events: 1) upper-level events, held at major venues, which cater to advanced and intermediate competitors, and 2) low-level events that most likely will not be licensed by the USEF and probably not by the USEA, either.
Many organizers are tired of the over regulation, structure and costs associated with running their trials. Organizers must satisfy the rules and requirements imposed upon them, but they are never given a chance to help determine what these regulations should be in the first place.
The procedures and processes for defining and changing the rules and regulation of the USEF must include greater participation of organizers. We are, after all, the ones who deal most directly with the consequences of these regulations and who, in many cases, have a historical reference for many proposed rule changes.
Organizers need to insist on voting representation and on committee assignments. As Susie Schoellkopf wrote in her Between Rounds column “New Faces Bring Fresh Ideas To Our World” (June 15, p. 30), “Our sport is a business and as such demands the rotation of committee and board members.”
The bylaws of the USEA need to be changed to give greater decision making to organizers other than through their vote as members.
Glaccum, who began eventing in 1956, started organizing events in 1976 at Chesterland (Pa.). He has also run events at Fair Hill (Md.), Plantation Field (Pa.) and Menfelt (Md.).
June 2005: Calendar Work Begins
The Eventing Committee decided to rework the calendar in June 2005 by appointing a sub-committee, chaired by Roger Haller, Oxford, Ga., to “identify how the calendar could grow in order to better meet the needs of competitors by 2010.” Other members of the subcommittee are: Andrew Temkin, Derek di Grazia, Katie Lindsay, D.C. McBroom and Darren Chiacchia.
The FEI prompted such calendar rearranging by mandating that riders need CICs (horse trials run under FEI rules) to qualify for CCI competition.