Letter from the USEF to its Members

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January 20, 2015--Dear Fellow USEF Members,

The USEF Board has recently approved that Bill Moroney step in as interim CEO to lead its staff in the wake of Chris Welton's departure. They expressed their full confidence in Bill's experience and expertise in equestrian governance. Bill is very excited by this challenge and he is looking forward to working with you to advance our sport.

The Federation was built on the backs of our members and staff working collaboratively. We all have great respect for our many breeds and disciplines and believe that we can pull together to get our sport on track despite the challenges we face. Our common interests of fair play, horse welfare and industry growth unite us more than our specialized pursuits divide us. We are stronger as a group when we pool our vast experience and knowledge. We invite each of you to help fuel this powerful machine with your unique talents and abilities.

Our organization made remarkable strides at the Annual Meeting by approving sport-changing initiatives so the Federation's values align with those of the membership. Here are some highlights:

1. The complete rewrite of Chapter Three of the rulebook. Competition Licensing is an example of how much can be accomplished when we work together. Co-Chaired by Elisabeth Goth (Saddlebred) and Bill, the Mileage Rule Revision Task Force (MRRTF) worked closely with our affiliates and competition management committees to bring forth a transparent, fair and logical process of licensing competitions and managing the competition calendar. The MRRTF will continue to refine the tools available to our competition organizers in our common goal to make this process more efficient.

2. The need to positively identify horses has never been more important. Approval of microchipping in the hunter/jumper discipline is a tremendous step forward toward building consumer confidence and maintaining a level playing field. The program will begin in steps, giving members time to learn the rules and allowing the Federation to develop the infrastructure needed to support this program. The ability for owners, breeders, trainers and the public to know every horse's true identity and track it's accomplishments throughout its career will propel our sport forward in ways unimagined just a few short years ago.

3. Forums on clean sport, coaching and safe sport have brought important topics to the forefront. Discussions on these topics have been robust to say the least! The message from our members was loud and clear: FIX OUR SPORT AND GET US ON THE RIGHT TRACK. Members support advancements in regulation including publishing enhanced hearing findings (provide more insight into the reasoning behind penalties), listing of penalty guidelines (explain the consequences of drug rule infractions) and suspension of the horse involved in the rule infraction. This last regulation is currently being analyzed by the Hearing Committee. They will provide a recommendation to the Board of Directors. Discussions surrounding coaching created a lot of enthusiasm across our breeds and disciplines; those who have current programs welcomed the Federation's support for their programs. We are working together to develop and implement a national coaching platform. Safe Sport is now recognized as an essential component to all sport governance. Times have changed and Safe Sport is on the world radar. USEF must and will become proficient at policing ourselves and confronting issues according to USOC regulation for the good of all our members, especially children.

4. An Affiliate roundtable allowed sharing of ideas and solutions. Opportunities like this make us stronger. The candid discussions about the issues facing the many breeds and disciplines exposed a commonality of these issues across the Federation. Clearly, once our affiliate agreements are in place, our organizations will understand their roles and responsibilities, and become empowered for the betterment of our sport.

5. The Board of Directors held its own retreat dedicated to strategic planning. They invited the Senior Staff to join them as a professional leadership specialist trained them to listen, analyze and communicate better. The energy and enthusiasm of this group was amazing. We can expect some dynamic goals and strategies from them in the future.

Led by the President and Board of Directors with the support of dedicated volunteers, staff and members, the USEF will achieve our common goals and establish an organization that is focused on stability, fairness, accountability, transparency and growth/performance. Please join us on the journey.

Thank you for your membership in the Federation and for your support.

Chrystine J. Tauber, President Bill Moroney, Interim CEO