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USEF Board of Directors Approves 2024 Budget, New Initiative Developments, and Extraordinary Rule Changes During November Board Meeting

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Nov 17, 2023, 12:57 PM

An edit was made in the original release. Under “GR108 – Defining Coach Status,” there is a list of “Important Information for Rule Impementation.”  The second bullet now reads “A coach signing the entry blank must be a USEF Senior Active Member."

Lexington, Ky. - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) held a Board of Directors meeting Monday, Nov. 13. During the meeting, the Directors heard updates from around the sport and made several important decisions that directly impact USEF members and their horses.

The board approved the $37.2mm balanced budget for 2024 projecting continued modest growth in the membership and competition fees based on prior trends and a $1mm increased contribution by USET Foundation to help fund the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games. 

The board also approved investments in two strategic initiatives. The first initiative is the development of a USEF universal competition entry system designed to benefit all members, competition organizers, competition office staff, USEF, and equestrian sport. The entry system benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing a seamless and efficient user experience.
  • Reducing competition office workloads by automating several processes including eligibility verification.
  • Ability to effectively interface with third-party show management software.
  • Increasing accuracy of entry information and records.
  • Shortening submission and verification timelines for results.
  • Supporting USEF risk management initiatives, including secure, cloud-based storage of entry blanks, participant waivers, and equine health documents.

Project development will involve user input, research, and testing including show staff.

The second strategic initiative focuses on data analytics in partnership with EquiRatings, an international leader in equestrian data mining and metrics.  This project will help to ensure the safety and well-being of our members and their equine partners and increase sustainability and strengthen the social license of equestrian sport through improved data capture and analysis.  EquiRatings will develop a USEF-owned data platform that will assist in monitoring equine and human safety and welfare, creating fan and member engagement, analyzing competitor participation trends and migration patterns as well as equine and human performance, and much more.

Finally, the Board acted on a round of extraordinary rule changes at the November meeting. Below you will find a few of the highlighted rule changes, all of which take effect December 1, 2023.

Equine Safety & Wellbeing

GR838.4 – Cruelty to and Abuse of a Horse

The scope of the rule change amends responsible persons to include “any person” rather than just “a competitor.” It also modifies the rule to include evidence of actions considered excessive which may include raw, bleeding, or irritated skin, or welts consistent with excessive use or inappropriate use of equipment

GR901.8 – Veterinarian Contact Information

To ensure USEF veterinarians can quickly reach competition veterinarians for biosecurity and other concerns, the amendments above require competition organizers to submit the name of the designated competition veterinarian or veterinary practice to USEF using the USEF Competition Dashboard no less than seven days before the start of the competition and update with changes as necessary.

Coach Identification

GR 108 – Defining Coach Status

This amends the previous rule to remove remuneration as part of the definition of coach, focusing on persons who have or share responsibility for instructing, teaching, schooling, or advising a rider, driver, handler, or vaulter in equestrian skills. Per GR908, all coaches must sign the entry blank.

  • Important Information for Rule Implementation:
    • This is a personal responsibility rule, and it is the personal responsibility of anyone acting as a coach to sign the entry blank.
    • A coach signing the entry blank must be a USEF Senior Active Member.
    • Signing an entry blank as a coach does not automatically impact amateur status.
    • It is not the responsibility of the competition officials or organizing teams to police and enforce this rule unless they have knowledge of non-compliance and choose to willfully ignore that knowledge.
    • By definition, a coach does not have responsibility for the care, training, custody, or performance of a horse and would not assume that responsibility by signing the entry blank as coach. 
    • If the coach is acting in a manner that indicates they have the responsibility for the care, training, custody, or performance of a horse, then that coach falls under the definition of a trainer.
    • The coach is required to sign the entry blank before the competition ends.

Competition Management

GR 310.1 – Local and USEF Lite Competition Prize Money

This amendment allows for local and USEF Lite competitions to award more than the previous $500 maximum prize money with USEF approval. This provides more incentive and flexibility for smaller competitions to license or continue to license with USEF.

Hunter Competition Management

HU 160.2 – Hunter Prize Money

These amendments clarify that only cash prize money can be used to meet the minimum prize money paid as required by the relevant Hunter Rating. Additionally, the combined total of cash prize money and in-kind prizes cannot exceed the maximum prize money permitted in the relevant Hunter Rating.


Click here to view all rule changes approved at the 2023 November Board meeting. For more information on USEF Rules, click here.