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Digital-Only Special Issue

Annual Meeting Edition The Official Magazine of the United States Hunter Jumper Association

January 2018

Safety and Community Highlighted in San Antonio Cheryl Rubenstein Honored as Volunteer of the Year

January 2018 Digital-Only Special Issue

Table of Contents


San Antonio Splendor

Meeting attendees also enjoyed many San Antonio sights.


Letter to Members

Lisa Roskens, the keynote speaker, highlighted building an equestrian community.


Collaboration Takes Center Stage at the USHJA Annual Meeting Beyond rule changes, members

discussed cohesiveness and sport safety.



Surprises Abound at USHJA Evening of Equestrians Tears and laughter merged during a memorable evening.

20 USHJA Continues to Focus on Safety, Fairness and Community at Annual Meeting Productive discussions and

compromises resulted in many rule change proposals.

28 Annual Meeting Welcome

Reception Photo Gallery

Annual Meeting After-Party 12 30 Photo Gallery

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USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Annual Meeting Edition

Published bimonthly by the United States Hunter Jumper Association and produced by Equine Network. ©Copyright 2018 by the United States Hunter Jumper Association. All rights reserved.

USHJA Officers

Mary Babick

Dianne Johnson

Shelley Campf

Direct: (732) 239-1235

Direct: (425) 823-2802

Direct: (503) 704-7985

David Distler

Charlotte Skinner-Robson

Direct: (203)803-0844

Direct: (818) 563-3250


Vice President

USHJA Staff Executive

Kevin Price Executive Director Direct: (859) 225-6701 Leslie K. Mangan Executive Operations Manager Direct: (859) 225-6704 Steve Rosenberg Executive Office Coordinator Direct: (859) 225-6721

Education & Wheeler Museum Alina Brazzil Education Coordinator Direct: (859)225-6705 Whitney Barnard Special Projects Manager Direct: (859) 225-6728 Sarah Hartmann Education Programs Assistant Direct: (859)225-6733


Lisa Moss Chief Financial Officer Direct: (859) 225-6712 Georgia Holbrook Accounting Manager Direct: (859) 225-6711

Heather Sinclair Assistant Director Direct: (859) 225-6727

Hunter & Jumper Programs

Katie Patrick Director of Sports Programs Direct: (859) 225-6725 Erin Keating Managing Director of Sports Programs Direct: (859) 225-6717 Hunter Shelly Nelson Assistant Managing Director of Hunter Program Direct: (859) 225-6722 April Hammond Assistant Managing Director of Zones and Affiliates Direct: (859) 225-6702 Danae Fryman Sport Programs Assistant Direct: (859) 225-6734 Jumper Jennifer Osterman Assistant Managing Director of Jumper Programs Direct: (859) 225-6703 Emily Matuszak Sport Programs Assistant Direct: (859)225-6729

Vice President, Hunter


Larry Langer

Vice President, Jumper


Heidi Kurpaska Sport Program Assistant Direct: (859)225-6735

Communications Megan Lacy Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6723 Louise Taylor Program Promotions & Communications Manager Direct: (859) 225-6706 Kristin Rover Regional Communications Manager Direct: (859) 225-6726 In Stride Tricia Booker Editor Direct: (703) 431-7103 Sponsorship & Advertising Whitney Allen Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6707 Jill Insko Sponsor Relations & Fulfillment Manager Direct: (859) 225-6716

Direct: (818) 563-3250


Jamie Martinez Membership and Office Manager Direct: (859) 225-6709

Sport & Association Services Art Department Suzanne Dorman Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6715 Joshua Mims Digital Designer Direct: (859) 225-6718 Rachel Sowinski Graphic Designer Direct: (859) 225-6720 Awards & Merchandise Marla Holt Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6710 Emma Nichols Awards Coordinator Direct: (859) 225-6708

USHJA Foundation

Kate Cattani Foundation Coordinator Direct: (732) 979-7262

Member Benefits • Affiliate Awards Program • Amateur Sportsmanship Award • Breeders and Stallion Owners Directory • Discounted Subscriptions to Equine Network Publications • Educational Clinics • Emerging Athletes Program • Opportunity to Serve on a Committee or Task Force

• Outreach Competitions • Owners Resource Guide • Participation in Rule Change Process • Stirrup Cup Awards • Trainer Certification Program • Trainers Directory • USHJA E-News • USHJA In Stride Magazine • Zone Horse of the Year Awards

USHJA Mission: The United States Hunter Jumper Association, as the official Hunter/Jumper affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation, is a competition-based sport organization that serves our members through educational programs, awards and recognition, communication and rules. We provide a wide array of programs for all Hunter/Jumper levels, and we are mindful of the well-being of our equine partners. Additionally, we are committed to preserving the history of our sport and through our Foundation we support charitable and benevolent services.

The United States Hunter Jumper Association • 3870 Cigar Lane • Lexington, KY 40511 • Phone: (859) 225-6700 • Fax: (859) 258-9033 • President & CEO ANDREW W. CLURMAN Senior Vice President, CFO & Treasurer MICHAEL HENRY Chief Innovation Officer JONATHAN DORN Vice President of Audience Development TOM MASTERSON

Senior Vice President of Business Development & Equine TOM WINSOR Vice President, Equine Group DAVID ANDRICK Vice President, Controller JOSEPH COHEN Vice President, Research KRISTY KAUS AIM Board Chair EFREM ZIMBALIST III

Annual Meeting Edition

Senior Editor LAUREL SCOTT Art Director TRISHA MILLER Associate Publisher/Advertising Sales MICHELLE ADAWAY (859) 619-8263,

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Annual Meeting Digital Edition


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Annual Meeting Edition

SAN ANTONIO SPLENDOR Photos by Tricia Booker, Lynn Walsh and Cafe Ole The USHJA Annual Meeting was held within walking distance of the River Walk, The Alamo and many fine restaurants and shops. Annual Meeting Edition

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Letter to Members

We Need to Build an Equestrian Community Together Dear USHJA Members,

Lisa Roskens

How many of you have gone to a competition for a sport you once played or perhaps never played? Did you enjoy it? Did you become a fan of the sport, a team or a player? If so, you’re an example of exactly what TRICIA BOOKER we’re missing in equestrian sports. Basketball, football, hockey, baseball and especially the Olympic Games leaders understand the value of the casual sports fan. These are the people who love either a sport or the experience of being in the atmosphere of a big-time competition. They buy tickets, shirts, hats, underwear, pillowcases and whatever to support their team. Some of the thousands of people who spend money (often beyond their rational means) to spectate at a major event might actually still play that sport. Many played it competitively at some level, but most just grew up throwing a football or shooting hoops with friends in the backyard. While the athletes and coaches get most of the media attention, the fans are the lifeblood of the sport. They pay for everything—either through their own expenditures or through a sponsor’s desire to be seen by them. “They” are who we need in equestrian sport in order to be sustainable, thriving and growing. I hear you now saying what so many have said before: “Equestrian is never going to be a mainstream sport for ‘fill-in-the-blank’ reason.” Well, if you make that your mantra, then you will be right. If you break it down, however, show jumping has everything that makes good sport. We have danger, speed, beauty, grace, bravery, and we have our secret weapon: the horse. It’s so very human to either admire or fear—but at least be curious about and possibly mesmerized by—this beautiful animal that has the power to kill us, but chooses instead to work with us. So why are we not a mainstream sport? The answer is fairly simple—we don’t cater to the casual sports fan. We promote to ourselves, we make money off of ourselves and we fight over what piece of the pie we perceive to be ours.

At the USHJA Annual Meeting, I was asked to talk about how to build an equestrian community, which we successfully achieved during the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping and Dressage Finals in Omaha, Nebraska. I would postulate, however, that we have plenty of equestrian communities, but what we need to do is grow those communities with non-equestrians. We need to take all the various groups within our sport and pull them together to make it an effective rather than a divided community. If you would like to view my PowerPoint, please click here. One of the key elements is to have a positive, unifying and compelling mission that’s bigger than any one individual’s selfinterest. I believe our sport is at a flex point where we’ll either shift to having a broader focus and grow, or we’ll continue our insular approach until it becomes thoroughly cannibalistic. The latter is not an option, so let the former be our mission. It can be as easy as saying “hello” to welcome that lost family who wandered onto the show grounds, or it can be as complex as hosting an FEI World Cup Finals in flyover country—or anything in between. It isn’t my job, the USHJA’s, the USEF’s, or his or hers. It’s on all of us. We all fell in love with this sport in some way at some time, and it’s done so much for each of us. It’s now our turn to do something for our sport— something positive, productive and focused on those people outside the show grounds. Without your help, they will end up on a soccer field never knowing the joy that can be found in the relationship with those huge animals whose soft muzzles gently sniff your hands.

“The fans are the lifeblood of the sport.”


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Annual Meeting Edition

Lisa Roskens USHJA Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker The International Omaha Chairman


$100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular Gala FEBRUARY 17, 2018

at the International Club Palm Beach International Equestrian Center 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Cocktails, 6:30 p.m. Dinner Tables available on a first come, first served basis. Reserve your space early! Visit to purchase yours. Annual Meeting Edition

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Annual Meeting Digital Edition

Collaboration Takes Center Stage at the USHJA Annual Meeting Building and strengthening our sport were key themes during the keynote speeches and seminars. By Megan Lacy Photos by USHJA staff The 2017 USHJA Annual Meeting, presented by World Equestrian Center, kicked off December 10 with a unique opening act, setting a new tone for the event. Daniel Stewart, mental skills coach for Olympians, led a room of 150 attendees—approximately half of the attendees for the five-day conference—through a dynamic presentation on collaboration and how teams achieve success. The session set a fresh, uplifting tone before committees heard updates from leadership and then broke out into individual Zone meetings to discuss plans and opportunities for 2018 and beyond in their respective areas.

USHJA Zone and Affiliate Day During Stewart’s presentation, attendees were asked to think of their Zones as teams and embrace the idea of collaboration and inclusion, remembering that their ideas and actions can effect change within the organization and the sport. USHJA Executive Director Kevin Price and USHJA President Mary Babick delivered a presentation about member participation in USHJA Zone-supported programs. Price talked about the importance of Zone committees using their funding to


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advance these programs in their areas and support the growth of the sport. Individual presenters from several Zones talked about how they are using Zone funding to create Equitation championships, horsemanship championships, free handy hunter classes and more to support members in their areas.

“You need to find out what you don’t know to be successful.” —LISA ROSKENS

participants on teams. They advocated for each Zone to identify a primary chef d’equipe to help coordinate chefs for individual opportunities throughout the year, and they committed to greater coordination between chefs as a way to keep the person in this important role informed and engaged. After the group session, individual Zone Committees and attendees met to discuss plans and opportunities. The day concluded with approximately 50 participants in the Affiliate Roundtable Discussion. The group talked about ways the USHJA can better support the efforts of local affiliates, help enhance members’ overall experience and encourage participation from new members.

Building an Equestrian Community USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer and Jumper Working Group Chair Charlotte Skinner-Robson gave a presentation on the important role chefs d’equipe play in the success of Zone team competition. They talked about the difference between a chef and trainer, noting that the chef ’s role is overall manager and leader of athlete-horse combinations that are Annual Meeting Edition

While the conference began on a local note, Monday’s keynote speaker Lisa Roskens brought the audience a more global perspective (see Letter to Members, p. 6). Tasked with addressing the building of an equestrian community, she walked the audience through how she and her team did just that with the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping and Dressage Finals in Omaha.

Round Table discussions allowed members to voice their opinions and listen to others’ experiences during the Annual Meeting.

Roskens explained that the purpose of the Omaha Equestrian Foundation is “to produce international-caliber events that will change the way the sport is presented in this country and to develop Omaha into a hub of the sport horse industry, attracting international championships as both educational and economic development opportunities for the community.”

It was 2010 when Roskens envisioned that Omaha would host the 2017 World Cup Finals. She believed that bidding for 2017 would be more about learning the process than actually receiving the bid, but she set out to win either way. Omaha was a less conventional location for the World Cup Finals, and there were many people that had their doubts early on about the city’s ability to host this international championship. Instead of ignoring criticism, Roskens credited the critics with helping her to succeed. In fact, she recommended when tackling a big idea to engage those who are the biggest critics and listen to the feedback. She encouraged the audience to talk to as many people as possible about an idea, because, she said, “You need to find out what you don’t know Lisa Roskens’ engaging keynote speech focused on to be successful.” building an equestrian community. Annual Meeting Edition

Once the idea was fully vetted, Roskens said you have to break the project up into manageable pieces, and then build the right team to get the job done. She explained that she surrounded herself with the best people in a variety of areas, and then she supported them to help accomplish the common goal. Roskens noted that in Omaha there are many equestrian communities, and part of their success was in unifying them. But she said that looking ahead to building an equestrian community on a larger scale is more about “growing the pie” than getting a larger slice of it. She encouraged the audience to get involved and take chances to be part of building a great idea or opportunity for the entire sport.

Knowledge Is Power For the second consecutive year, Dr. Lola Chambless, assistant professor of Neurological Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Tennessee), presented eye-opening research and guidance regarding concussions in equestrian sport. This year, she was joined by Roy Burek, managing director of Charles Owen, the continued January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Annual Meeting continued

official helmet of the USHJA, who also shared the latest research that the helmet company uses to help guide its product development. Perhaps the most striking statistic is that of the 18,000 sports-related traumatic brain injury admissions to trauma centers in the United States each year, 45 percent are from equestrian sports. This is more than double those seen in full-contact sports such as football, or any other single category of sports studied. Chambless provided guidance on return-to-play and why the conventional thinking of “get right back on the horse” isn’t the best approach. Instead, she recommended that athletes be given a short screening exam before being permitted to get back on a horse. She explained that oftentimes, someone with a concussion may not display symptoms immediately afterward—and while many people think that to have suffered a concussion, one must have lost consciousness, quite the opposite is true. Loss of consciousness occurs in very few instances of concussion. Chambless also explained that concussions aren’t graded, so the idea of a “mild concussion” is simply a myth. The biggest concern is the number of concussions an individual has had. People who have had multiple concussions are at greater risk for longer-lasting symptoms and more


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Joe Dotoli took the microphone during the Zone Education Seminar, with USHJA President Mary Babick at the podium.

severe injury from a concussion in the future. An athlete who sustains a concussion one time is four to six times more likely to sustain a second one. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a concussion are really important. In fact, someone displaying even just one of the symptoms Chambless highlighted should be considered to have sustained a concussion. She explained that the only healers

Annual Meeting Edition

of a concussion are time and rest. For athletes who want to return to competition, healing can be a challenge, but Chambless stressed that taking the time to heal is critical to the long-term recovery of a patient. Burek dug into additional research that underscored a greater propensity for concussions among women than men. In addition to the research that guides the

Traumatic Brain Injury Admissions to Trauma Centers

“The idea of a ‘mild concussion’ is simply a myth.”



helmet manufacturer’s technological advancements, Burek explained that obtaining the right fit is vitally important for helmets to work effectively. Both Burek and Chambless emphasized the important role that helmets play in protecting athletes from traumatic brain injury. Chambless noted that studies show a 50 percent reduction in traumatic brain injury when a helmet is worn. The problem is, however, that only 25 percent of equestrians wear helmets. While that 25 percent is across all breeds and disciplines, the simple fact that so few equestrians are wearing helmets may explain the high number of traumatic brain injuries coming into emergency rooms. The message was simple: Wear a helmet— every rider, every ride.

A New Kind of Championship The attendees at the Annual Meeting

Aquatic Sports.................................. 4% Skiing/Snowboarding........................ 12% Roller Sports..................................... 19% Falls/Interpersonal Contact (includes football).............................. 20% Equestrian Sport.............................. 45%

Signs and Symtoms of Concussion received an update from show managers Tom Struzierri and Pat Boyle about the USHJA’s plans to hold a National Championship in 2018. They said that the championship event is being planned for November 13-18 in conjunction with the Las Vegas National Horse Show in Nevada. Plans include Hunter, Jumper and Equitation sections to be offered at the event, from Pony Hunters to 1.40m Jumpers. The event would run alongside the FEI World Cup Qualifier offered at the Las Vegas National Horse Show. Details are still being finalized as the US Equestrian Federation Board of Directors considers the championship concept at its annual meeting in January, but the USHJA team is moving full-steam ahead to ensure that once approval is given, the event planning can move forward quickly.

Annual Meeting Edition

SIGNS • Appears dazed or stunned • Confused about competition • Moves clumsily • Answers questions slowly • Shows behavior or personality change • Forgets events before injury (retrograde amnesia) • Forgets events after injury (anterograde amnesia) SYMPTOMS • Headache • Nausea • Balance problems or dizziness • Double vision • Sensitivity to light or noise • Feeling sluggish/foggy/sleepy • Concentrations or memory problems • Change in sleep pattern

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Annual Meeting Digital Edition

Surprises Abound at USHJA Evening of Equestrians The USHJA salutes volunteers and members for their ongoing dedication to our sport. By Tricia Booker and Marla Holt Photos by Tricia Booker One of the best-kept secrets during the USHJA Annual Meeting, presented by World Equestrian Center, is always the recipient of the coveted USHJA Volunteer of the Year Award. But this year it was especially challenging because the award winner, Cheryl Rubenstein, happens to be the chair of the USHJA Awards Committee. Thanks to the efforts of Marla Holt, USHJA Managing Director of Awards and other USHJA staff members, Rubenstein was caught by surprise during the USHJA Evening of Equestrians, presented by USHJA Zone 7, on December 12. As emcee Brian Lookabill read the many reasons she was selected for the honor, it was only then that she figured it out. “They say that great things come in small packages, and that certainly rings true for this year’s recipient,” read Lookabill. “She’s served on a variety of USHJA committees over the years and is committed in everything she undertakes. In addition to currently serving as a USHJA Board Member, she’s on the USHJA Executive Committee, the USHJA Foundation Board and the Audit Committee.” “First of all, I’m honored and was totally surprised,” said Rubenstein, smiling. “I’ve been asked a few times, ‘How was that pulled off on the chair of the Awards Committee?’ Obviously, quite beautifully! “But it makes me wonder what else is


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going on that I don’t know about,” she joked. “Cheryl gives 110 percent to each of the committees on which she serves, performing her tasks with passion and enthusiasm,” said USHJA President Mary Babick of Rubenstein. “She truly goes above and beyond in her commitment to serving the organization, as well as our members.” In her first USHJA Annual Meeting serving as president, Babick also had the opportunity to recognize key individuals who have excelled this year in their duties as volunteers, going beyond the call of duty with the President’s Distinguished Service Awards: Diane Carney, Rachel Kennedy, DiAnn Langer, Kimmy Risser and Terri Young. Rubenstein, of Memphis, Tennessee, also a past recipient of the President’s Distinguished Serve Award, said her volunteer highlights of 2017 included being part of Babick’s transition team and continuing to put into place the initiatives of the Awards Committee. “This committee is still in its infancy, and I still joke that we use the old nomenclature—it’s a Pre-Green Hunter that just passed out of its Baby Green year,” she said. “We continue to reevaluate and tweak the specs of the nomination-based awards, and we’re evaluating ways to reinstate the AffiliAnnual Meeting Edition

ate Excellence Awards. We’re also exploring a Jumper recognition program based on some exceptional feedback and instructive comments we’ve gotten. “This past year, the Awards Committee members fully took over nominating and carrying through the USHJA nominations for the Pegasus Award winners that had been administrated before by USHJA staff,” Rubenstein added. “The staff and the USHJA Executive Committee instituted a process that also took the awards nominations through the various committees to get broader input as to who and how those names came about.” Rubenstein also thanked her husband, Michael, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sydney, for giving up some time with her so she could pursue her volunteer work in earnest. “My daughter may be too young to understand, but I know my husband can completely appreciate what this award means—to be recognized by your peers in this way is so meaningful,” she said. “It’s very nice to take it home and say to them that the time sacrificed to you has been recognized, and there’s something incredibly special about an award like this.”

Wise Beyond Their Years Two special awards recognize the achievements of the young riders in our

USHJA Volunteer of the Year Cheryl Rubenstein is welcomed to the stage by Marla Holt, center, and Mary Babick.

sport, those who are wise beyond their years, see the bigger picture and want to lead by example. And for them the USHJA presents the USEF Youth Sportsmen’s and USHJA Youth Leadership awards, which not only reward standout youth, but also are voted upon by their peers. Each year, the USHJA nominates a representative from the Hunter/Jumper sport to be considered for the USEF Youth Sportsmen’s Award, sponsored by Charles Owen. The winner is eligible for a commemorative trophy, grants to further his or her education, a USEF lifetime membership and the possibility of being named USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year. Dedication to promoting our sport, being a role model to one’s peers, being active in the community, and exemplifying the spirit of sportsmanship are all required for nomination. This year’s nominee, Madelyne Brymesser, 14, of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, began riding at age 5 and now partici-

pates in the Children’s Hunter, 14 and under, section with Hollyhurst Farm. Along the way, she’s displayed all of the hallmarks of sportsmanship, fairness and respect for opponents and even generosity for them. She’s also a great role model, inside and outside of the sport horse world. For instance, she’s currently in the top half of her class, with a 92+ GPA on a 100-point scale. Beyond her drive to earn excellent grades, she’s self-motivated to volunteer, helping her teachers, trainers and fellow riders. Trainers have observed her willingness to take responsibility for her own mistakes while praising her mounts for their efforts, no matter the results. They also said she’s infinitely available to exercise horses, help fellow riders prepare and cheer them on. Brymesser has accomplished all of this while also dealing with chronic anxiety, which led to an eating disorder. She acknowledged that horses have been her salvation, allowing her Annual Meeting Edition

to keep a positive outlook and focus on coping strategies and proper nutrition to overcome her illness. In fact, she plans to parlay her experience into mentoring others who struggle with similar issues. She’s already had experience as a counselor at her barn’s summer camp and after-school program, teaching children to ride, groom, take care of the barn and understand horses. Along with her love for horses, Brymesser enjoys her dogs, volunteering, helping on the family’s dairy farm, baking and photography. In some way, she’d like to incorporate continued January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


USJHA Awards Evening continued some of these passions into a career that makes other people happy. Avery Lambert, 12, of San Jose, California, the recipient of the USHJA Youth Leadership Award, also gives us confidence that when our current crop of horsemen, committee members and leaders want to pass the torch, there’s a willing and capable hand ready to receive it. Lambert shows in California along with her fellow riders at Millennium Farm in Portola Valley. Last year, she rode the NorCal reserve champion Medium Pony Lakeview Pickpocket and the NorCal champion and Zone 10 reserve champion Children’s Pony, Cruzin’. She’s also earned USHJA Pony Derby wins and attended her first US Pony Finals in 2017, finishing in the top 25 over fences and 26th overall in the Large Pony Hunter section. While there, she showed the dedication for which she’s known when she fell and broke her arm but continued to show her pony. Lambert is a straight-A student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Her teachers described her as positive and enthusiastic, continually focused on improving. She also participates in her school plays and school service groups, which travel monthly to help people in soup kitchens and homeless shelters, as well as assisted living centers. As such, it’s fitting that she serves as a school ambassador, giving tours and introducing new students to new friends. Lambert was also proud to help raise more than $5,000 for Giant Steps Therapeutic Riding Program. “I try to focus on doing things I love. I really love learning and riding and working in my local community,” she said. “That doesn’t mean it’s always easy … for me, it means doing a lot of my homework in the car on the way home from the barn, and sometimes it means sacrificing some fun things, like a friend’s birthday party. But there’s always time if we really want to excel at something … we just have to look for it harder.” Trainer Jill Hamilton also appreciates the enthusiasm and passion that Lambert shares with fellow riders in the barn, inspiring the same in them. As such, it’s no surprise that she was appointed captain


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I admire. It was amazing to see everything that goes on behind the scenes and attend some of the committee meetings where they were working on ideas for next year.” Lambert also believes that attitude makes a big difference in one’s life. “For example, when I broke my arm halfway through Pony Finals, I was really sad, shocked, disappointed and in pain at first,” she recalled. “I really did feel sorry for myself for a little while, and I think that’s normal. However, I also realized pretty quickly that most riders never get the opportunity to even attend Pony —CHERYL RUBENSTEIN Finals, and that I couldn’t waste my time worrying about what I had lost and miss of her Junior High Interscholastic Eques- the opportunity that I still had in front trian Association team, or that she was of me. selected as a Paisley Pony magazine ambas“So I decided to get as much out of the sador, to be featured in their “Road to the last few days of Pony Finals as I could. I Pony Finals” coverage. found a way to model my medium pony “I was so honored to be recognized by and even do the flat, but I was mostly the USHJA as the recipient of this year’s shocked to see just how much I could Youth Leadership Award. There are so learn while not even riding. As much as I many amazing kids I’ve met in the sport, enjoyed showing my large pony well early so being singled out felt really special,” in the week, my best memories of the she said. “It was really fun to be in San show are actually what happened with my Antonio and meet so many professionals friends and trainers outside the ring.”

“I’ve been asked a few times, ‘How was that pulled off on the chair of the Awards Committee?’ Obviously, quite beautifully!”

Douglas and Jackson Wheeler accepted the Mrs. A.C. Randolph Owner’s Legacy Award on behalf of the Wheeler family from, left to right, Marla Holt, E. Sue Bopp and Martha Hall. Annual Meeting Edition

Committed to the Sport This year’s recipient of the Mrs. A.C. Randolph Owner’s Legacy Award has a long history of giving to our sports. The Kenneth and Sallie Wheeler family has built a life around a passion for horses. Not only have they trained and ridden Hunters, American Saddlebreds and Hackney ponies to countless championships and awards, but also they’ve worked tirelessly to support the industry through their generosity. Lifelong horsemen Sallie and Kenny Wheeler built an equestrian dynasty over more than six decades, receiving countless accolades, including the American Horse Shows Association’s Lifetime Achievement award in 1999. Their contributions go far beyond their own success in the show ring, however. They often provided opportunities for young professionals, including Charlie Weaver, Tommy Serio, Olin Armstrong and Hunt Tosh. In addition, their commitment to the growth of the sport and maintaining its traditions is unparalleled. The Wheelers passed on their love of the animals and dedication to the sport to their children. “There are so many people who came together to make this a special evening,” said Douglas, who with his son Jackson accepted the award. “And my Dad could not make it here tonight, but he wanted to make sure that everyone knew how proud and grateful and honored he was to receive this award. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years now since my mom has passed,” Douglas continued. “And those who knew them as a couple knew they were incredibly dedicated to the horse industry and they loved every, every minute of it. I know if my mom were here tonight, if they were both here tonight, I know my mom would say to all of us: ‘Raise a glass and toast all of the horses, the friends and family that make this so great and fun for all of us.’ ” Kenny Wheeler, who resides at his family’s Cismont Manor Farm in Keswick, Virginia, continues to actively train horses and has earned more than 115 AHSA/ USEF Horse of the Year national championships and grand championships; nine

Marla Holt, left, and Roy Burek presented the USHJA Nominee for the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award to Madelyne Brymesser, above, and the Youth Leadership Award to Avery Lambert.

grand championships at the National Horse Show; 16 championships and four grand championships at the Pennsylvania National; 12 Hunter grand championships at Devon; and Best Young Horse at Devon for 34 years in a row.

Vital Support Just as horses make the horsemen, show staff makes the show. For that reason, the USHJA presents the Vital Horse Show Staff Award, in which one staff member from each half of the country is honored every year. These recipients provide the support that makes showing, judging and managing competitions and participating in educational events something to enjoy. Annual Meeting Edition

Kristen Vale-Mosack is one of the most recognizable names in the HITS show office. Vale-Mosack is actually carrying on a family tradition, as her mother Donna Vale is not only well known, but also integral to the early and now continued success of the HITS series. Vale-Mosack has now assumed the duty of office manager, overseeing secretaries from her home show in Saugerties, New York to Ocala, Florida, Thermal, California and Culpeper, Virginia. She also creates judges’ schedules (a job that’s not nearly as easy as it sounds). She’s involved in most aspects of running the show and is truly considered show manager Tom continued January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


USJHA Awards Evening continued Struzzieri’s right hand. Nancee Tepley, of Newhall, California, is cited as one of the most organized secretaries in the business. Tepley is responsible for preparing judge and staff paperwork before the start of the show, recording results, assisting stewards with reporting duties, collecting staff pay information and much more. She’s been a go-to team member of Blenheim Equisports for years. If you know the level of quality demanded by show managers Stephanie Wheeler and Robert Ridland, that is testament in itself to how vital she is to one of the industry’s most respected management groups. Kelly DeSaye, of Farmingdale, New Jersey, and a competitor from Zone 2, received the Amateur Sportsmanship Award and the June Kaneti Perpetual Trophy donated by Marianne Kutner and Yvetta Rechler-Newman. Starting with her smile and positive attitude, DeSaye makes everyone around her feel welcome and encouraged, whether they’re fellow amateurs, young riders or show staff. In fact, while participating in a particularly cold event, where event staff members were caught without warm clothing, DeSaye offered her coat and gloves to staff. Even when not competing, she’ll show up to support friends or the

Donna Martin received a Jane Marshall Dillon Award from Marla Holt.

show itself by volunteering. She supports many causes by soliciting auction items and running raffles, giving of her time, money and action. DeSaye’s belief in animal rescue is evident through her adoption of several

orphaned dogs, pigs and a goat. She’s also been active in the support of drug recovery programs and directly helping those who struggle with the issue daily. The Jane Marshall Dillon Award is about giving the next generation a chance

Marla Holt presented a Jane Marshall Dillon Award to Misty Morgan, left, and the President’s Distinguished Service Awards to, from left, Terri Young, Diane Carney, DiAnn Langer, Kimmy Risser with USHJA President Mary Babick.


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Annual Meeting Edition

to do better, starting while they’re young. This year’s East award recipient, Donna Martin, of Pottersville, New Jersey, holds many distinctions. The most applicable in this case is that she rode with Dillon, which makes it no surprise that she’d carry on her values. Like Dillon, Martin believes in a strong foundation of riding basics and groundwork, self-care of horses and impeccable turnout, prompted by Dillon’s teaching. But you might not be reading her name now if she hadn’t experienced the cruel fate of contracting polio. Because the disease left her unable to walk for a year, Martin was enrolled in riding lessons with Clarence Nagro as therapy. After regaining mobility, Martin became dedicated to the sport. She earned championships in the Hunters and regular wins in the Equitation classes before becoming a Purnell School riding instructor at the age of 20. To this day, Martin is involved with that program as a liaison and fundraiser. Over time, Martin has earned a reputation for being fair, sensitive and understanding. But she’s also known as a no-nonsense trainer, expecting students, including her own daughter and granddaughters, to be prompt and well turned

out. She believes in well-rounded involvement with the horse world, having been a respected Hunter, Equitation and Jumper judge for the same 50 years as she’s been turning out talent. Ask anyone who knows Misty Morgan, the recipient of the West award, and you’ll hear about a coach who has dedicated more than 40 years to building a community of riders educated in horsemanship. She’s described as easy-going, sensitive, understanding and generous to a fault. Above all, you’ll hear about her love of horses and her commitment to share that love with riders from all disciplines. She’s taught many riders who have gone on to win national awards and served as the assistant chef d’equipe for the Zone 7 Children’s and Adult Amateur Hunter and Jumper teams in Oklahoma City. In addition, she is described as an excellent, fair and knowledgeable USEF-licensed judge. Morgan, of Little Rock, Arkansas, also works diligently to integrate USHJA programs into her local organization. She was an instrumental member of the “Kitchen Task Force,” which was responsible for soliciting volunteers and reorganizing a struggling local Hunter/Jumper

Dianne Johnson’s dedication to the sport was recognized with a USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award from Marla Holt.

organization. This resulted in the merger of two small, local groups to form the Arkansas Hunter Jumper Association, now more than 80 members strong and a USHJA Affiliate. Morgan is president of AHJA and when not teaching her students, can be found ordering ribbons, organizing the dinner and awards for the AHJA banquet, or hauling jumps to the horse show. continued

Alvin Topping—Inaugural Director Emeritus When the United States Hunter Jumper Association was named the national Hunter/Jumper affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation, Alvin Topping was instrumental in the association’s success, as well as igniting the spark that started the USHJA. Topping’s service to the sport through the USHJA and USEF is remarkable. He’s served on more than a dozen committees, task forces and the boards of both organizations. From the Planning Committee to Hearing Committee to Pony and Exhibitor committees, he’s been involved in virtually every aspect of governance to shape the future of our sport. For nearly 50 years, he and his wife Patsy have owned and operated Swan

Creek Farm, where he taught riders who earned top honors at some of the country’s best horse shows. He’s a horseman and a teacher through and through, and he often described his great sense of satisfaction in seeing the young adults his riders came to be. During the USHJA Evening of Equestrians, Topping was named the first USHJA Director Emeritus for the invaluable role he’s played in not only the creation―but also the ultimate success―of the organization. Bill Moroney, CEO of the United States Equestrian Federation and former USHJA president, had the pleasure of announcing that Topping, of Sagaponack, New York, was the USHJA's first director emeritus. Annual Meeting Edition

"Behind every life-changing event, you’ll find a person who had a brilliant idea and a vision to make it happen," said Moroney. "A consummate horseman, teacher and true gentleman, Alvin Topping has selflessly served our community." January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


USJHA Awards Evening continued

Distinguished Service USHJA President Mary Babick recognized key individuals who have excelled this past year in their duties as volunteers with the President’s Distinguished Service Awards: Diane Carney, of Algonquin, Illinois, longtime member of the Zone 5 Committee and USHJA Board member, has been an influential part of the Emerging Jumper Rider Task Force. She’s also been an integral part of organizing the inaugural Gold Star Clinic, from securing host locations, contacting clinicians and creating excitement for the Gold Star program. Rachel Kennedy, of Brookeville, Maryland, organized all of the horses used for the WCHR Professional Finals horses for the Capital Challenge and assisted in the running of the class. DiAnn Langer, of Johnston, South Carolina, has gone above and beyond in helping launch the Emerging Jumper Rider Program and assisted with the implementation of the new height sections within the Zone Jumper Team Championships. She also attended four

Cashing In

Andrea Simpson earned the Dash For Cash Trophy, sponsored by The Classic Company, with winnings of $108,600 while competing in Grand Prix events between $25,000 to $40,000. The Classic Company’s Bob Bell and Tom Neuman of Revitavet were on hand to salute her victory.


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Kelly DeSaye, second from left, was presented the USHJA Amateur Sportsmanship Award with, from left, Marla Holt, Marianne Kutner and Yvetta RechlerNewman.

of the five championships. She’s helped to create teams, assisted at the riders’ meetings, dressed horses for awards, and spent countless hours formatting and reformatting the 2018 Zone Jumper Team specs. Kimmy Risser, of Paris, Kentucky, has worked tirelessly on the Hunter Breeding and Young Horse Development programs. She was an integral part of continuing the tradition and growth of the Sallie B. Wheeler Hunter Breeding National Championship, taking a lead role. Terri Young, of Leesburg, Virginia, has inspired members to volunteer and helped coordinate the USHJA Zone 3 Equitation Championships. She took on the role as chair of the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Committee and attended the Nationals.

most of all, it’s their lifetimes of dedication to this sport and the records they’ve achieved that brought them to the top. Johnson, of Kirkland, Washington, has been a board member for the USHJA and the USEF, and continues as an officer of the USHJA, having served as treasurer and now vice president. She has been a member of many USHJA committees, now leading the Hunter Working Group. She was the 2011 recipient of the Jane Marshall Dillon Award and has managed numerous shows in the Pacific Northwest. Johnson started riding at the age of 15 and later began teaching lessons and training, where her discipline, work ethic and infectious energy assisted her in becoming a top trainer in Washington state. Dianne, along with her husband, Johnny Johnson, opened Sterling Stables, which became a top Hunter/Jumper A Lifetime of Achievements training barn in the Northwest. Dianne Dianne Johnson and Philip A. DeVita and Johnny created a true community will now be added to a prestigious list of at Sterling Stables, full of support. And horsemen and horsewomen whose names although they enjoyed success in the adorn the Eugene R. Mische Lifetime show ring where Dianne’s students comAchievement Trophy. peted on a regional and national level, Like Mische himself, who was well winning numerous championships, this known for his involvement throughout the was always second to life lessons learned. horse world, these two have become widely They instilled the qualities of integrity, known for their knowledge and skill—as perseverance and kindness in all their well as their colorful personalities. But students. Annual Meeting Edition

Stephanie Wheeler, right, accepted the USHJA Vital Staff Award on behalf of Nancee Tepley from, left to right, Marla Holt and Larry and Marnye Langer. Right: USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Phillip A. DeVita and Marla Holt.

Dianne had a profound impact on the lives of the many young riders who came through her barn, and though she’s now retired from her training career, she continues to urge younger generations of equestrians to get involved in the governance of the sport. She also serves as a prime example to those hoping to make horses a career. To view Dianne Johnson’s tribute video, please click here. To read more about Johnson and her accomplishments, please see the January 2018 print issue of USHJA In Stride magazine. DeVita has judged Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation for more than 50 years and had a long career as a trainer. He lent Margie Goldstein Engle a wonderful horse named Carnaby Street to ride in the Florida Equitation Finals, and she won. Engle said it was clearly the nicest horse she’d ever ridden. This gesture was especially meaningful because, at the time, most people gave her catch rides on difficult ponies or horses. Engle said she

didn’t even think he knew her name, as he always called her “Smiley” around the shows. DeVita was one of the first to create the concept of taking sale horses to shows as opposed to only horses of clients. He supplied many young horses to Carl Knee and other professionals throughout the country. Rodney Jenkins showed many of DeVita’s horses, including Alabama and Colombo, to name a few. DeVita was an early supporter of Jimmy Torano and Engle, now top professional riders and trainers. According to both of them, when they or someone else needed a horse for a Medal or an ASPCA Maclay class, he didn’t just give them a horse to ride, he gave them his best horse to ride. DeVita was one of the early pioneers in promoting Midwest horse shows. He attended the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Texas and other shows west of Annual Meeting Edition

the Mississippi River to expand horse sports, camaraderie and business opportunities beyond the East Coast and Florida markets. DeVita is best known for being the first to bring semi-trailer horse transports to South Florida, including the first 15-horse Streamliner that he had built in 1972. He later decided to start building and designing them with the Bellamy Brothers. To view Philip A. DeVita’s tribute video, please click here. DeVita will also be featured in the March 2018 print issue of USHJA In Stride magazine. January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Annual Meeting Digital Edition

USHJA Continues to Focus on Safety, Fairness and Community at Annual Meeting

Hunter/Jumper leaders and members delve into further work and proposed changes to improve the sport. By Tricia Booker Photos by USHJA staff Last year’s USHJA Annual Meeting put safety first, and the theme remained during the 2017 Annual Meeting, presented by World Equestrian Center and held December 10-14 in San Antonio, Texas. With keynote speakers Daniel Stewart and Lisa Roskens (see p. 8) providing an enthusiastic start to building and strengthening our Hunter/Jumper community, those attending the forums and meetings continued that momentum. While there were certainly heated debates and discussions throughout the week on a variety of topics and rule change proposals (RCPs), members also met in the middle many times. During the final session of the USHJA Board of Directors meeting on December 14, the members voted on 78 RCPs. Their recommendations will be considered by the United States Equestrian Federation Board of Directors for a final vote during that organization’s Annual Meeting, to be held January 17-20 in Lexington, Kentucky. The USHJA Board recommended the approval of 44 RCPs, disapproved 21 and


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

referred 17 to the January USHJA Board of Directors meeting for further revision prior to a vote at that meeting. Their meeting via conference call on January 2 resulted in 12 additional approvals after RCP revisions, with one disapproved, three tabled and one withdrawn. Additionally, the Board considered an updated draft of a USEF-proposed RCP that moved USEF Hunter Seat Medal specs to the website (Tracking #223-17) that it had originally disapproved. Since the new draft incorporated the recommendations suggested by the Board during its December 14 meeting, Board members voted in favor of it.

Safety First While horse welfare has been in the forefront in recent years and is still an ongoing focus, the USHJA Amateur Task Force members emphasized rider safety during this meeting. Guest speaker Dr. Laurel Blakemore, an orthopedic surgeon and equestrian, discussed “Improving Injury Response at Annual Meeting Edition

USEF/USHJA Certified Competitions.” Her PowerPoint presentation outlined the Task Force’s goal to improve the safety and injury outcomes for injured competitors by improving medical coverage at licensed competitions. (To access Blakemore’s PowerPoint and others presented through the week, please click here.) “Previous rules required an ambulance on the grounds during licensed competition,” stated Blakemore. “Then the rules changed to ‘qualified medical personnel,’ which includes EMTs, paramedics, RNs or MDs, and an ambulance on the grounds or on call. ‘On call’ is not defined.” In a packed meeting room, Dana Waters read a heartbreaking story about her close friend, amateur jumper rider Laura Linback. Linback was severely injured in 2016 when her horse collapsed and died after suffering an aneurysm, and Linback’s delayed treatment was well documented. She continues to recover from a traumatic brain injury almost two years later, but many people wonder whether a faster response time could have mitigated her injuries.

The General Forum was well attended and allowed members to voice their opinions on Rule Change Proposals.

Trainer Jimmy Torano also attended the meeting to promote the Task Force’s mission, in part because one of his clients was severely injured last summer at a horse show. “We all love the horses, but what about human welfare?” he asked. “My lady laid on the ground for almost an hour.” The USHJA Board later voted in support of the RCP expanding the pool of acceptable medical personnel who can work at horse shows to those with ALS (Advanced Life Support) training. However, they did so with the understanding that many want even tougher requirements for medical professionals to work at shows. The Amateur Task Force members plan to craft additional human safety rule change proposals for the 2018 USHJA Annual Meeting. Talks about horse safety and welfare segued from the discussion on rider safety. The topic of footing arose during the many discussions, which touched on everything from show standards and longeing to stewards and reporting.

A well-discussed rule change proposal mandates how many horses may be longed simultaneously within a defined space to ensure safety and welfare. The figures are based on each horse being longed in a 60-foot circle, which provides each horse with 3,600 square feet­—and signage must indicate maximum capacity.

“This is really step No. 1 in a very slow process to deal with the issues longeing causes in our sport.” —USHJA PRESIDENT MARY BABICK

Questions arose about the ability to enforce the rule, since longeing often takes place well before the horse show begins and stewards arrive. There were also Annual Meeting Edition

questions about the impact such limitations would have on footing maintenance and on barn staff, who would be anxiously vying for longeing spots each morning. “I have mixed feelings on this proposal,” said USHJA President Mary Babick. “This is really step No. 1 in a very slow process to deal with the issues longeing causes in our sport.” Board member Sissy Wickes agreed: “I still feel strongly that this is a movement toward horse welfare. Anyone who drives into a show predawn—we see the schooling area the first moment, and it’s hideous. We have got to start somewhere and vote for these horses. This conversation needs to happen today, next year and every day. It’s not an accident waiting to happen; it’s an accident that has happened and will happen again.” The RCP was referred to the January USHJA Board meeting. Despite a rewrite attempting to strengthen enforceability concerns, it was ultimately disapproved on January 2 after a roll-call vote. Alcontinued January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


USJHA Rule Changes


The Jumper Working Group’s presentation on the Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, above, was popular. Member Deloise Noble-Strong of Maryland, right, took the microphone multiple times to ask questions during the meetings.

though the Board is strongly in favor of improving the longeing environment and committed to horse welfare and safety, more time is needed to develop a mechanism for providing such. The Board members believe the process might likely involve drafting a future RCP, but one that will better deliver on enforcement. A set of rule changes was proposed by an ad hoc committee composed of stewards and schooling supervisors to align schooling rules across the Hunter, Jumper and Equitation schooling rings at competitions. The intent is to eliminate confusion when horses school in different rings for different classes, as it is reportedly “difficult for schooling supervisors to know who is who.” The USHJA Board discussed these changes at length, and while it found many of the changes acceptable, Board members disagreed with the premise that the rules could be identical between the three disciplines. They noted that there were fundamental differences in how members prepare Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation horses. Therefore, they ultimately recommended approval of some changes to schooling rules, but the changes they recommended were different for each discipline. The Board also recommended approval of a set of RCPs that would require judges to notify the steward any time a horse


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

falls in a show ring. Further, the proposal requires that the details of the incident be included on the steward’s report to the Federation. The intent of the RCP is to document horse falls in the show ring and collect data in relation to show standards and footing quality. Another RCP requiring horses to be sidelined for 24 hours after a collapse was approved by the Board, although the members added in a comment that they preferred that the time out be lengthened. A set of USHJA- and Federation-proposed RCPs mandating use of Fédération Equestre International-approved safety cups to support the back rails of all spread obstacles in all Jumper warm-up/schooling areas was proposed and approved. The intent of the RCP is to improve safety in schooling areas and eliminate the use of wooden dowels, which are currently in use at some shows and considered by many a hazard.

“Neither side likes it, which is the essence of a compromise.” —USHJA PRESIDENT MARY BABICK

Annual Meeting Edition

The Federation RCP (#123-17) calls for the cups to be mandatory effective December 1, 2018. The USHJA’s RCPs (EQ#192-17, HU#174-17 and JP#17117) have an effective date of December 1, 2019, so the final decision on the effective dates for each discipline will be made at the USEF Annual Meeting.

Special Competitions A USEF RCP that redefines special competitions and the application process generated much concern throughout the Annual Meeting. The rule defines “special competitions,” which are exempt from the mileage rules, as the World Equestrian Games, the World Cup Finals or qualifiers, the Pan American Games, the Olympic Games, Nations Cups and the Nations Cup Finals, Federation national championships and “additional competitions as determined by the Federation.”

Rule Change Tidbits • A proposal to use open numerical scoring for all Hunter sections that jog was narrowly voted down after much discussion. Proponents believe it would encourage better understanding and spectator support, while others prefer to leave open numerical scoring to special classes such as WCHR shows and Hunter Derbies. Thursday’s Final Board meeting included an audience of members who saw the process from start to finish.

This RCP brought to light the fact that many standalone USHJA Hunter Derby competitions, such as the Chicago Hunter Derby, use the special competitions process to receive USEF licensing. As a safety net, the USEF National Hunter Committee drafted a proposal of its own to allow for a licensing process applicable solely to standalone Derby competitions. Both were referred to the January 2 meeting for additional revisions and to await further updates from the USEF on its RCP. During that meeting, the two RCPs were tabled so the USHJA Board could review the amended Special Competition RCP from the USEF prior to the start of the USEF Annual Meeting. While Derby proponents believe eliminating standalone Hunter Derbies from special competitions consideration might be crippling to the program, others see it differently and don’t want the special competitions rule used to bypass the mileage rule and infringe on established competitions.

Policy Changes A set of USEF RCPs that would move the policies of licensing officials out of the USEF Rule Book and into a USEF Policies and Procedures document also caused concern about the loss of Affiliate input. It was disapproved by the Board.

“There are two different proposals they’ve morphed into one,” said Board member Tom Brennan. It’s confusing. The second time I read it was the first time I noticed that one proposal moves it out of the Rule Book, and the piece of that proposal that concerns me not only does remove it but also strikes peer evaluations. There’s a value in people who are already doing the job saying [the applicants] are competent in the job. They must have a reason for doing this and parts that are broken, but we’re not aware.”

Agree to Disagree Arguably, Hunter Breeding may not be the most popular section at the horse shows, but at the Annual Meeting it commanded the spotlight. A rule change proposed by the Hunter Breeding Task Force and approved unanimously by its members would have prevented a handler from showing more than one horse per class. Over the past several years, handling multiple horses in one class has become a growing trend in some areas of the country. Some people believe that the practice allows more horses to show in a dwindling section, while others believe it discourages new handlers from entering the ring. The RCP went viral on social media, generating the most feedback and continued Annual Meeting Edition

• A proposal to allow juniors to ride stallions in 3’6”″Equitation classes was disapproved by the Board after generating strong negative feedback. (Juniors may currently ride stallions in the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search.) Members worried about the unpredictable nature of stallions, which could affect their riders and the riders around them. Joe Dotoli said, “I disapprove as a manager, trainer, father and grandfather. We do not need more stallions hanging around the in-gate.” • A rule clarifying the definition of “catch-rider” passed and further identifies who is a catch-rider and not in charge of the care and training of the horse. • An approved proposal calls for adding language in the General rules section that would make it a violation to know about cruelty or abuse of a horse at a licensed competition and not report it. • A proposal to add nose nets to the approved list of Hunter tack was withdrawn and may be reconsidered in the future. • The requirement to jog 3’ and 3’3” Green Hunters and 3’3” Performance Hunters continued to be debated, and a proposal to check for soundness while trotting prior to beginning the course and prior to leaving the ring was disapproved.

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


USJHA Rule Changes


comments received by the USHJA during this year’s rule change cycle. At the Annual Meeting, both sides dug in to state their cases during the forums and committee meetings, finally squaring off during a Hunter Breeding Task Force Meeting where chair Betty Oare worked diligently to keep the order. In the end, Babick entered the room and instructed the Task Force members that they needed to make a decision to retain the RCP as written or amend it before the Board met. She suggested a compromise, which was ultimately passed by the Board. It states that at Premier- and National-rated competitions, a handler may not exhibit more than one horse in each Hunter Breeding class, while at Regional I- and Regional II-rated competitions, a handler may exhibit multiple horses in one class. “This was a great compromise, by the way,” said Babick in the final Board meeting. “Neither side likes it, which is the essence of a compromise.”

Fran and Joe Dotoli and Tom Struzierri enjoyed the General Rule Change Forum.

Competing Another important topic addressed throughout the Annual Meeting was the definition of “competing.” The Board recommended approval of a rule change proposal that states “a horse has completed an over-fences class when the horse completes the posted course and a score

“The business of people judging without cards has to end for lots of reasons. It’s a slap in the face for those who have worked hard to master their bookkeeping skills for a major class.” —JOE DOTOLI

is recorded on the judge’s card. A horse failing to complete the entire course is not eligible to receive points, awards or prize money, nor will it be counted in the number of entries necessary to fill a class or section. A horse has completed an undersaddle class when the horse has executed all the gaits required and remains in the ring until the class has lined up.” Further, the rule change proposal requires that championship points will not count unless a minimum of three entries complete at least two over-fences classes and one under-saddle class. The intent of the RCP was to “eliminate cheating” by those who enter horses with no intent to compete but instead

The USHJA Board of Directors voted on Rule Change Proposals during its final meeting on Thursday.


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Annual Meeting Edition

to have enough horses in the section so show managers must split it for additional points. The RCP would eliminate this loophole and only award half-points for sections that failed to finish with the required number of horses. Shelley Campf argued that in actuality, this RCP would penalize those who didn’t intend to cheat but came to compete. Her example was a section of Conformation Hunters with three competitors. The person whose horse was not in contention for championship or reserve after the first day could scratch the second day, thereby preventing the other two horses from receiving full points. Then, if there was a close race for Zone or Horse of the Year Honors or qualifying for indoors, such a situation could have major ramifications. A RCP that required judges to use additional marks on their cards to describe a horse’s finish in a class beyond “Did Not Place” was discussed at length in numerous forums and committee meetings. Currently, the “DNP” acronym is used on USEF competition reports, but proponents believe it doesn’t accurately describe a horse’s performance or results. Additional judges’ marks required by the RCP would track horses that went off course, scratched, were eliminated or were voluntarily withdrawn, for example. The proposal was referred to the January meeting for further discussion and to research software options. In the end, the RCP was approved with simplifications that current show software could accommodate, which include Did Not Place (DNP) and Did Not Compete (DNC) notations. Judges would be encouraged to provide additional information on their cards, however, for data collection. The “guest card” issue arose once again this year when a rule change was proposed to add the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final to the list of finals that would allow a guest judge to preside. It was disapproved, and with many comments. “I’m happy this came up, so we could address the whole problem,” said Board member Joe Dotoli. “I strongly feel we should reject this, and I think it’s appropriate the board write a letter to the Joint Equitation Task Force stating our displeasure for guest cards for any major national championship. “The Licensed Officials Education Committee is going to do it, as well,” he continued. “The business of people judging without cards has to end for lots of reasons. It’s a slap in the face for those who have worked hard to master their bookkeeping skills for a major class. We have background checks and Safe Sport training, and these folks come with no guarantee. We need to be proactive and bring this to an end.” continued

Influence Your Sport for the Better Last October, I saw an ad for the USHJA Annual Meeting and, with excitement, immediately texted my best friend, Caroline Ritter, and made plans to attend. A month later, we had arrangements set up and tickets purchased. Fast-forward to December 10, and we jumped in the truck and drove five hours to San Antonio, Texas. We were both a little nervous going in that first day, as we expected to be in the minority as younger attendees. But we were warmly welcomed by multiple USHJA staff members. The first keynote speaker was Daniel Stewart, who gave a fantastic and truly inspiring speech during the Zone Forum. My favorite advice he gave was to “do the thing you said you would, when the mood you said it in has gone.” That’s something I need to remember. We closed out the first day by meeting our Zone 7 Committee members and listening to their goals for 2018. It was great being able to talk face to face with the people who help to provide so much for our zone. Throughout the week we attended many forums and meetings on a wide range of topics, such as rule changes, the Hunter Working Group, the Jumper Working Group, concussion education, competition management, sport integrity, the Emerging Athletes Program (my favorite) and the USHJA Foundation. The different points of view and opinions we heard within the equestrian industry were interesting to hear as someone who has spent most of her equestrian career at smaller horse shows. What really struck me was the consistent topic that came up in every room: safety. Safety of rider and horse was a dominant issue. It seems like a large part of the equestrian industry has sadly fallen away from prioritizing the welfare of the horse. It’s up to all of us to turn that around through the help of the USHJA and the USEF. By attending this national meeting, I have a better understanding of some of the background work that goes on within the USHJA. It was a pleasure to meet so many wonderful USHJA staff members and professional trainers while in San Antonio. Each one was equally as excited as the last to see us there and offered Caroline and me help in any way needed, which truly meant the world to us. Whether they stopped and had a 10-minute conversation, sat next to us in a meeting or just said “Hey, girls” as we walked by, it made the experience that much better. What I would like for other riders my age to take away from this experience is that the USHJA is here to educate and help you. Don’t ever think that just because you’re younger, or in an area that isn’t heavily populated by Hunter/Jumper barns, that you can’t make a difference in what you believe in regarding this sport. I’ve been given so many wonderful opportunities through the USHJA and the USHJA Foundation, and wish for everyone to experience the passion that’s been instilled in me to influence our sport for the better. —Johanna Jessen, 18, of Lake Charles, Louisiana January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


USJHA Rule Changes


During the Rule Change Forums and committee meetings, members had the opportunity to express their opinions.

An Issue of Integrity After a full year of work, the USHJA Sport Integrity Task Force, chaired by Babick, arrived at the Annual Meeting with a variety of RCPs in hand. Babick also led a well-attended seminar to update members on the Task Force’s progress. One RCP, proposed by Babick, stated that in order to participate in any Federation-licensed competition, any person who is a professional or who acts as a trainer or coach as defined by the Federation rules will be required to pass a criminal background check, complete Federation-approved Safe Sport training and concussion training, and complete a Federation-approved test on Drugs and Medications basics. Following ample discussion, the topic was front and center at the final Board meeting. Many Board members supported the concept, while others were hesitant to make it mandatory and questioned the differences between the two different background checks required by the USEF and USHJA. The proposal was referred to the Jan-


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

uary meeting for further modification and discussion. There, new language was presented and it was approved. The RCP reads: “In order to participate in any Federation Licensed Competition, any Professional, as defined by the Federation rules, shall (i) comply with the Federation Safe Sport Policy, including successfully completing a criminal background check and Federation-approved Safe Sport training, in accordance with such Policy, and (ii) complete a Federation-approved concusAnnual Meeting Edition

sion training.” Click here to view all rule change proposals discussed during the 2017 USHJA Annual Meeting and the USHJA Board of Directors recommendations that will be considered when the U.S. Equestrian Federation Board of Directors votes on rule change proposals during its Annual Meeting in January. The 2018 USHJA Annual Meeting, presented by World Equestrian Center, will be held in Tampa, Florida, Dec. 9-13, 2018.

Annual Meeting Edition

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE



Katie Young, Ruth Wilburn and Christina Schlusemeyer

Jill Insko, Rick Cram and Vinnie Card Jennifer Osterman, Steve Rosenberg, Emily Matusak, Sarah Hartmann and Whitney Barnard

Valerie Garza, Misty Morgan and Lauryn Sanford


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Fran and Joe Dotoli and Betty Oare Annual Meeting Edition



Danae Fryman and Kelsey Shanley

Sandra Ruiz and Kim Land

Mary Babick

Katja Kallenberger, Otis Brown, Robin Rost and Robin Greenwood

Amy Center, Debbie DeTurk Peloso of Markel, Susan McKinley and Charlotte Skinner-Robson

Gay Talmey, Leslie Zock, Nancy Lewis and Penny Carpenter

Diane Seymour, Marianna Butler and Steve Rosenberg

Annual Meeting Edition

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE



USHJA staff members Danae Fryman, Sarah Hartmann, Emily Matusak, Whitney Barnard, Steve Rosenberg, Alina Brazzil, Louise Taylor and Jennifer Osterman

Didi Mackenzie, Lynn Walsh, Susie Baker and Tricia Booker Kevin Yruretagoyena and Dianne Johnson

Beth, Avery and Brian Lambert


USHJA IN STRIDE / January 2018

Jackson Wheeler, Jill Grant and Nancy Jones Annual Meeting Edition



Robin Rost and Otis Brown

Kevin Yruretagoyena, Katherine Wade-Easley, Debbie Jamsa, Jessica Vania, Pat Boyle and Matt Cyphert Andrea Schroeder and Nancy Lewis

Alvin Topping and Marla Holt

Amanda Eggleston, Kalea Maxwell, Sarah Trepagnier and Chelsy Snead

Linda Starkman and John French

Top row: Ralph Alfano, Didi and Kenny Mackenzie, Philip J. DeVita, Kelley Buringa and Matt Cyphert; bottom row: Jill and Philip DeVita and Susie Schoellkopf Annual Meeting Edition

January 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Profile for Active Interest Media-Boulder

Ushja - In Stride : January 2018  

This issue of USHJA In Stride magazine focuses on the 2017 USHJA Annual Meeting, with coverage of rule change proposals, meetings, presentat...

Ushja - In Stride : January 2018  

This issue of USHJA In Stride magazine focuses on the 2017 USHJA Annual Meeting, with coverage of rule change proposals, meetings, presentat...