AHSA Changes Name to USA Equestrian

July 12, 2001 -- Alphabet soup: AHSA becomes USAE, while AQHA and NRHA rein in Spain.
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July 12, 2001 -- Alphabet soup: AHSA becomes USAE, while AQHA and NRHA rein in Spain.

Quick! Are you a member of the American Horse Shows Association?

Wrong! You may have paid your dues to the AHSA, but now you're a member of USA Equestrian Inc. The board of directors adopted the name at their midyear marathon meeting (six hours!) on Tuesday. Although technically both names can be used until Dec. 1, if you called the group's Lexington, Kentucky, headquarters yesterday, they already were answering the phone, "USA Equestrian." USA Equestrian came as a surprise, however, because AHSA leaders originally wanted to rename the organization the U.S. Equestrian Federation. But the U.S. Equestrian Team, which has filed a formal challenge with the U.S. Olympic Committee to unseat the AHSA--whoops, USA Equestrian--as the national governing body, felt USEF was a little too close to USET and suggested that the association should try something else.

The new name (along with a redesigned logo) is thought to be better from a marketing standpoint. But the impetus for the change, as we told you last time in this spot, was to clear up the misapprehension among the public and the U.S. Olympic Committee that the AHSA might be an association of horse shows. It once was, but it became an association of members more than two decades ago.

We were told that on second reference, USA Equestrian should be called, "the federation." But as U.S. Dressage Federation President Sam Barish pointed out, "that's five syllables." So I'm calling it USAE, since my writing space here is at a premium.

The directors did a lot of other things. You'd need the Cliff Notes version of the meeting to follow it all, especially the subtext of the USAE/USET conflict, and the tension between the National Hunter/Jumper Council and its parent group, the USAE.