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J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show Is Exhibitor-Friendly Thanks to the USEF Lite Program

by Leslie Potter/US Equestrian | Apr 10, 2024, 1:00 PM

South Carolina’s J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show will celebrate its 90th year with the 2024 edition, making it one of the longest-running horse shows in the country. With classes for American Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Morgans, roadsters, saddle seat equitation, and academy, this historic event held at Clemson University’s T. Ed Garrison Arena is an exciting early-season draw for the show horse community. This year, J.D. Massey will be livestreamed to a worldwide audience on USEF Network for the first time.

Saddle seat competitor at the JD Massey Classic Horse Show
The J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show is a USEF Lite competition and will be livestreamed on USEF Network. ©Sarah Bennett Peerce

The Benefits of USEF Lite

For 2024, J.D. Massey is a US Equestrian-licensed show through the USEF Lite program, which offers many of the benefits of a full USEF license with lower costs for exhibitors and organizers.

“People want [horse shows] to be safe, fun, and fair, and I think that the framework that USEF provides for sport in the equine world helps to make it safe and fair,” said Allen Bosworth, President of the J.D. Massey Board of Directors. “I like frameworks. I like to know what I’m working with and that the rules are consistent and made with input from the membership.”

Operating under a lite license allows shows like J.D. Massey to benefit from the established rules and procedures that apply to all USEF-licensed competitions with a lower barrier to entry for exhibitors.

“[Exhibitors] don’t have to be a USEF member, and they don’t have to pay the drug fee, so that saves them some money, and at the same time, I’m not giving up that framework of sport and the ability to be safe and fair,” said Bosworth. “I think the lite license works extremely well for certain types of shows. It gives you everything you’re looking for, but it removes some of the fees for people who are just wanting to attend regional shows and not really attending the national shows.”

Katlynn Wilbers, Director of Competition Operations for US Equestrian, explained that the lite license offers numerous benefits for competition managers as well.

“USEF Lite provides organizers with an opportunity to offer an entry-level competition with lower overhead costs,” said Wilbers. “Competition managers have access to the benefits of USEF competition, like USEF rules and rules enforcement, and they can also offer classes that earn points for USEF year-end awards. There’s also a grant program in place to assist competition organizers who choose to utilize an Applicant Steward or Applicant TD to officiate at their competition. Additionally, the cost to apply for a USEF Lite license has been waived for the 2024 competition year.”

Beyond providing competition rules and structure, having the backing of the federation can provide competition managers with some peace of mind.

“If you’re at an open show, you could have a USEF steward, but they don’t have the force of the organization backing them up,” said Bosworth. “From a governing standpoint, having that organization to back you up helps the officials because they feel reinforced. The paperwork is vetted and has been through legal review. It helps you when you’re applying for insurance for your show because they understand that you’re backed up by a large organization. There are many benefits for the administration of the show.”

How to Obtain a USEF Lite License

With the USEF Lite license fee waived for the 2024 season, it’s a great opportunity for competition organizers to begin the process of obtaining a lite license.

“Competition managers interested in hosting a USEF Lite competition should visit the competition licensing information page on usef.org to review the resources available,” said Wilbers. “Questions regarding the licensing process can be sent to [email protected], and a member of the USEF Competition Licensing team will be glad to assist any manager through the process of licensing their event.”

Watch the 2024 J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show Livestream

The 2024 J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show begins on Wednesday, April 10, at 6 p.m. ET and runs through the evening of Saturday, April 13. All classes will be available to watch live on USEF Network with a US Equestrian membership or free fan account.

Fans of saddle seat, American Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Morgans, and roadsters will have a full slate of classes to keep them entertained. Bosworth said that even newcomers to these breeds and disciplines can enjoy watching the classes if they know what to look for.

“Because it’s a judged sport, it’s a little bit harder to understand than [objective] sports like show jumping,” he said. “I liken it to figure skating, if all the skaters were on the ice at the same time. There are things you have to do that are compulsory, but you have to do them with beauty and artistry, and you have to have the ring strategy to be seen by the judges. If the best figure skater in the world sticks to the middle of the ring and never gets seen, then that person isn’t going to win.”

Bosworth recommends visiting the breed and discipline affiliate organizations’ websites to learn more about classes featured at the J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show:

For more information, including prize list and class schedule, visit www.jdmasseyclassic.com.

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