Major Rule Changes: News to Know Panel Reviews Proposed Rule Changes
US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney and US Equestrian General Counsel Sonja Keating led the Major Rule Changes: News to Know panel to go over the 13 proposed rule changes on the voting calendar moving forward to Saturday’s Board of Directors meeting.
Temporary suspensions rule changes in GR609, GR615, GR706 clarify situations involving FEI provisional suspensions and SafeSport temporary suspensions to ensure that US Equestrian reciprocates the suspensions. In situations involving SafeSport penalties, the legal department recommends amending the proposal to GR 615.5 to say, “All final and non-appealable suspensions and bans shall be imposed upon the listed individual and all horses completely or in part owned by the listed individual,” to address the concerns expressed by committees.
Permanent ineligibility rule changes in GR703 and GR704 will better define permanent ineligibility and prevent such individuals from participating in US Equestrian activities. The legal department recommends removing the following proposed language in GR704.8 to address concerns expressed by committees: “Federation Participants, as defined in GR1303, are prohibited from being coached or trained by any individual deemed ineligible by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport within thirty (30) days prior to or thirty (30) days after Federation Licensed or endorsed competitions. Exception: If this ineligibility is imposed within the thirty (30) days prior to or during a Federation Licensed or endorsed competition, this rule shall not apply to said competition.”
Due to concerns surrounding motorized vehicles and devices at competition venues, GR1301.7 adjusts a rule on minors operating vehicles, while GR1301.8 covers motorized devices such as hoverboards, segways, and motorized scooters only being operated on roadways and golf cart paths and not in barn areas, VIP tents, spectator areas, and on horse paths. Wheelchairs and other mobility assistance devices for individuals with disabilities are exempt for this rule. GR1301.8 currently states “motorized devices marketed to minors,” but discussions during the panel session suggested “marketed to minors” be removed to ensure people do not assume the rule only applies to minors.
The use of electronic devices has become more prevalent over the years, and it has become a safety concern in schooling areas at hunter/jumper competitions. EQ105.7, HU Appendix, JP103.9, and JP103.9 propose language stating, “The unsafe use of electronic devices, including cell phones, with or without earphones/buds while mounted is prohibited in all areas designated for schooling.” The International Disciplines Council recommended that the word unsafe be removed, but discussion during the panel suggested that unsafe remains in the language.
A few proposed rule changes focus on hunter/jumper competitions. Rule changes associated with HJ102 aim to more clearly define the specific standards required for hunter/jumper or hunter/jumper-licensed competitions and to remove any confusion due to ambiguity and the options list. The proposed GR846.2 rule change focuses on updating accident preparedness plans for improved safety at competitions, while GR901.8 moves to have mileages to the nearest hospital with emergency care and Level 1 Trauma Center included in prize lists.
The Western dressage discipline has had “exceptional riders,” who are individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations, interested in competing. WD102 proposes allowing those individuals to compete, but the legal department has concerns that this rule change has the potential for inconsistent application across different competitions, creates potential liability issues, and does not ensure a level playing field. They recommend that the national office manages the requests in the same way other dispensation requests are handled.
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