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Safe Sport Leads the Discussion at US Equestrian Mid-Year Meeting

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jun 14, 2018, 2:54 PM EST

Lexington, KY. - US Equestrian’s Board of Directors held their Mid-Year Meeting on June 11 and 12.  In addition to the standard administrative topics, the Board addressed several issues affecting the entire family of breeds and disciplines under the umbrella of US Equestrian. In particular, the Board focused their discussion on the Safe Sport Initiative and athlete safety and protection; building a stronger base of coaches/trainers/instructors; growing participation in equestrian sport at all levels, including grassroots engagement; increasing awareness of equestrian sport and USEF’s benefits to members and affiliates; and resource allocation.

The 2018 US Equestrian Mid-Year Meeting opened with a “first-and-foremost” emphasis on Safe Sport and how to protect and educate the athletes, coaches, parents, officials, and support staff who make up the membership of US Equestrian.

 “I can’t think of anything more important for this Board than to do our part in the global effort to help keep our children safe,” said US Equestrian President Murray Kessler in his opening remarks at the meeting. Kessler prompted the Board to action with an inspiring message from Olympic show jumper Anne Kursinski.

“As you know, Anne bravely and voluntarily stepped forward to help prevent the kind of abuse she suffered from happening to others,” Kessler continued. “She is the coach of our developing show jumping team, a three-time Olympian, and has been a member of this Board of Directors several times as an athlete representative. She is an amazing woman, and I’d like you to listen to what she has to say.”

 

Anne Kursinski on Safe Sport

 

The US Equestrian Board unanimously approved a resolution directing USEF General Counsel Sonja Keating to present a rule change at the August board meeting that will expand the requirements for Safe Sport training beyond the currently designated persons to encompass those persons acting as coach, trainer, or instructor and those who have regular contact with minors as defined in the Safe Sport Code.

Keating followed up on Kessler’s comments with a presentation that provided an overview of the Safe Sport movement in the U.S., a history of US Equestrian’s Safe Sport Initiative, and current Safe Sport training and criminal background check requirements, which clarified the jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for SafeSport and US Equestrian with regards to cases.
 

Key Take-Away Points from the presentation included:

  • In 2013 and prior to the establishment of the Center, US Equestrian introduced a Safe Sport Policy that prohibited sexual and non-sexual (emotional, physical, bullying, harassment, hazing) misconduct and established a system for training and education, enforced criminal background checks for staff, the board of directors, licensed officials, and team Chefs d’Equipe and coaches, and outlined means to report and enforce.
  • The U.S. Center for SafeSport (Center) opened in March of 2017 and US Equestrian worked with the USOC through their working groups by giving feedback before the Center was established.
  • Sexual misconduct of any nature must be reported to the Center.
  • All non-sexual misconduct is reported to US Equestrian and will go through the applicable regulatory process.
  • US Equestrian will reciprocate enforcement of sanctions imposed by the Center for sexual misconduct.

 

US Equestrian continues to examine and develop policies that would limit one-on-one interaction of adults with minors, continues to spread awareness and education about Safe Sport, and continues to expand US Equestrian Safe Sport training requirements.

Protecting our athletes is the responsibility of all of us, and US Equestrian wants every athlete, parent, coach, groom, support staff, and trainer to know: if you are a victim of abuse or suspect abuse of any kind, there are resources and people to help. Horse sports are a source of strength for so many people, and it is incumbent upon all of us who love this amazing sport to protect young athletes.
 

Safe Sport Resources

U.S. Center for SafeSport
US Equestrian Safe Sport
Safe Sport sanctions

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Watch your inbox for an official member letter from US Equestrian President Murray Kessler and CEO Bill Moroney with information on the other topics from the Mid-Year Meeting.