THANK YOU FRIDAY!

Thanks to you, our fellow eventers, Giving Tuesday was a success! A huge thank you to everyone. And lest you ask, we consider you an eventer whatever your involvement in the sport may be. If you love the sport you are an eventer.

At the upcoming USEA Annual Meeting and Convention the Board of Governors will be devoting some time to consideration of each program and prioritizing where your donations will be best invested to improve our education and safety initiatives. Be assured that every one of your precious dollars gifted to the USEA Foundation and the USEA will be used wisely to further the sport we all love.

Thank you to one and all. Hope to see you next week in New Orleans and on course in 2019.

TODAY IS GIVING TUESDAY - Please Consider Supporting the Programs of the USEA!

#GivingTuesday is a world-wide day of giving fueled by the power of collaboration and social media. Celebrated the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the season of giving by tuning the minds of the world community towards donating to the charities nearest and dearest to their hearts and minds.

This year, the USEA Foundation is asking for your support of the USEA Educational Programs and Safety Studies. By supporting the USEA's Educational Programs, including the Instructors' Certification Program, the Roger Haller Education Fund and Scholarship for the Education of Eventing Officials, and the USEA Young and Future Event Horse Programs, and the Safety Studies, including the Equine Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research Study and the Frangible Fence Technology Study, you help ensure the future of these programs and the sport of eventing.

Last year, you helped the USEA Foundation meet a $25,000 matching challenge set by an anonymous donor to support the continued education of eventing officials through the Roger Haller Education Scholarship for Eventing Officials. At the 2017 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, two course designers were awarded grants that have allowed them to continue their course design education and increase their knowledge and skill. Every rider in the sport will benefit from their expertise in the years to come and we thank you for supporting this important program.

A heartfelt thank you for your kindness. We hope you know how much the sport and the USEA values each and every single one of you.

USEA Foundation and ERA of NA — Building the Endowment for the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom's Award

The USEA Foundation and The Eventing Riders Association of North America have the opportunity to guarantee the long-term future of the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award thanks to a pledge from the Lufkin Family Foundation. The late Liz Cochran spent many years ensuring that Abigail Lufkin’s horses were turned out to perfection and she became one of Abigail’s closest friends. Liz passed away far too young after a battle with illness and it was Abigail’s desire to keep her memory alive that led to the creation of the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award. All donations to the fund will be matched dollar for dollar by the Lufkin Family Foundation up to $50,000 securing the availability of the award for many years to come.

Eventing grooms are the backbone of every rider’s support team and without them the chances of success are greatly reduced. Endowing this award will guarantee that these very special professionals will continue to be recognized annually for years to come. You can show your support for Eventing’s grooms by donating to the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award fund here. Thank you!

ERA of NA Accepting Nominations for Year-End Awards

 The Eventing Riders Association of North America (ERA of NA) is now accepting nominations for the 2018 ERA of NA Year End Awards. Individuals who have had an outstanding and profound effect on the sport of eventing will be recognized at the ERA of NA Awards Reception during the USEA Convention Friday, December 7, 2018. The nomination period for the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award, As You Like It Owner’s Award, Seema Sonnad Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award and Amateur Impact Award will run through November 10, 2018.

The Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award recognizes an outstanding groom who has had a large influence on their rider’s career and the health and well-being of the horses under their care. Nominees should epitomize the example set forth by Liz Cochran in setting the standard for a professional groom.

The As You Like It Owner’s Award is awarded to an outstanding owner who has had a large influence on a rider’s career. Additionally, nominees will also be recognized for having made an exceptional contribution to the sport of eventing.

The Seema Sonnad Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award is offered to an event organizer, secretary, volunteer or other staff members who throughout the year went “above and beyond”. Nominees will have carried out their work in a manner that notably improved the experience for those attending the event as competitors, owners, grooms, sponsors, volunteers or spectators.

The Amateur Impact Award recognizes an Adult Amateur that embodies dedication to the sport of eventing, outstanding sportsmanship and has made a direct impact on eventing in North America. The recipient of the Amateur Impact Award is an individual that is highly respected by their peers, has demonstrated leadership within the sport and seeks to see eventing continue to grow and flourish.

Please send a detailed submission, including examples, regarding why an individual should receive an award to Helen Murray at hmurray@eraofna.com by November 10, 2018.

Additionally, the ERA of NA continues to fundraise to endow the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award and those wishing to contribute may donate via check made out to the USEA Foundation with “Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award” noted in the memo line. Please mail your gift to ERA of NA, 129 Delmont Dr, Lexington, KY 40504. For those looking to contribute online, a donation can be made here.

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2018 Eventing Officials’ Scholarship Now Open for Applications

The USEA has established an educational scholarship in memory of the late Roger Haller. Designed to provide financial assistance to a licensed official who is working towards promotion to the “R” license, the “S” license or the FEI licenses. The Roger Haller Scholarship may be used to offset the costs involved in attending the necessary seminars and obtaining the practical experience required to attain promotion to the next level of licensing. The USEA will award a scholarship of $5,000 to a qualified individual in 2018. The sport is in urgent need of well trained and committed officials who can serve at the highest international levels of the sport, a need that Roger was aware of and one that concerned him greatly. Increasing the pool of eventing officials was one of the reasons he devoted so much of his time to addressing the shortfall by developing the USEA’s educational programs for officials. We sincerely hope that this annual scholarship bearing Roger Haller’s name will help increase the number of eventing judges and technical delegates qualified to officiate internationally and so ensure the health of the sport for the future.

All those who meet the eligibility requirements listed below are invited to complete the scholarship application.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE USEA Eventing Officials Scholarship
1. Applicants must be current members in good standing with the USEA & USEF.
2. Applicants must be current USEF Licensed Officials and at a minimum hold the “r” Status as an Eventing Judge or Technical Delegate.
3. Applicants should demonstrate their commitment and plans to upgrade their license to USEF “R”, USEF “S” or FEI 1/2*, FEI 3/4*

The deadline for applications is November 12th and the successful applicant will be awarded the scholarship at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in December in New Orleans, Louisiana. Click here to apply.

Essex Horse Trials and Seema Sonnad Junior Young Rider's Grants

The USEA Foundation is now accepting applications for the Essex Horse Trials Grant and the Seema Sonnad Junior Rider's Grant. Apply now by completing the online applications here: https://useafoundation.org/grants/. Scroll to the grant you want to apply for and click on the live "click here to apply" link. Don't forget to upload videos of your competitions--all three phases please! The deadline is October 15. Good luck to everyone!

Recipients of the 2018 Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Travel Grants Announced

Authored By: Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff

Alexis Helffrich and London Town competing at the 2017 Rebecca Farm CIC3*. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Alexis Helffrich and London Town competing at the 2017 Rebecca Farm CIC3*. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Each year three types of Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grants are awarded: Travel Grants, the National Developing Rider Grant ($10,0000), and the International Developing Rider Grant ($50,000). The Travel Grants are awarded to multiple riders who display the potential qualities of an international rider. These grants are used to offset some of the travel expenses to compete at The Event at Rebecca Farm CCI3* and/or CIC3* held from July 18-22 in Kalispell, Montana.

With The Event at Rebecca Farm just a few short weeks away, the USEA Foundation’s Rebecca Broussard International Developing Riders Committee has been hard at work assessing applications from riders from all over the United States who are eligible to receive the 2018 Rebecca Broussard Developing Riders Travel Grants.

The Committee has selected the following riders to receive 2018 Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Travel Grants:

Andrea Baxter
Maya Black
Kristen Bond
Helen Bouscaren
Ellen Doughty-Hume
Matthew Flynn
Ashley Hays
Alexis Helffrich
Alexandra Knowles
Emilee Libby
Jordan Linstedt
Caroline Martin
Jennifer McFall
Bobby Meyerhoff
Hillary Moses
Katherine Rivera
Frankie Thieriot Stutes
Chris Talley

Prior to the start of the event, recipients of the Travel Grants will participate in interviews that will further assist the committee when making the final decision in November on which riders will receive the International Developing Rider Grant and the National Developing Rider Grant. The two year-end grants will be presented at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention on December 5-9, 2018 in New Orleans.

All those listed (and any level FEI competitor at The Event at Rebecca Farm) are invited to take part in the interview process at the event.

The grants are made available by Jerome Broussard and his family in memory of his wife Rebecca, whose greatest wish was to help riders attain their dream of competing on a U.S. Eventing Team at the Olympic, World, and Pan American Games.

Congratulations to all the riders who have worked so hard to prepare for the competition at The Event at Rebecca Farm. Travel safely!

Villains and Victories Throughout My Fairytale

Ari (P.S. Arianna) and Madeline at Belton

Ari (P.S. Arianna) and Madeline at Belton

Part Three of Madeline's English Eventing Experiences.

There is no such thing as a fairytale in the horse world. Many journeys to the top levels have their magical moments, but reality will quickly kick in. My story with my heart horse, PS Arianna, is pretty darn close to a fantasy though. Even if it may seem all unicorns and rainbows, I can assure you there have been many evils and villains along the way. I’m facing the toughest one now, and I’m learning to grow a thicker skin and ride the waves as they come in.

Ari, Madeline's best friend and groom Grace Simpson, and Madeline

Ari, Madeline's best friend and groom Grace Simpson, and Madeline

I’ve been in the UK, based with Austin O’Connor at Attington Stud since March. Last year, I wouldn’t have ever dreamed I’d be able to be in England, let alone with not one, but two horses. This amazing feat is a massive thanks to the Wilton Fair Grant and the Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant. In four months, I’ve already learned so much, and that is not by any means because everything has gone smoothly. I’ve made friends and connections that I will never forget, made many mistakes, and have had many days of laughter and success, as well as days of homesickness and stress (shoutout to my wonderful family for their endless support through my many panicked phone calls). 

In my mind, I had pictured nothing less than an amazing season. Completing another one, possibly two 4* events with Ari, and bringing along my second horse, PS On Top of the World (Vinnie) to the Intermediate/2* level. The start of the season was super. I completed two advanced horse trials on Ari in the crazy England spring mud as my preparation for Badminton. I learned the British entry system and what Eventing is like over here. 

Before I knew it, it was Badminton week. The saying goes it takes a village, and it really does on the good days. On the not so good days, it takes even more. And I’m grateful for everyone’s support through a disappointing weekend, and my best friend and groom, Grace Simpson, for coming out to be there for Ari and me. It was still a magical experience, but having a fall at fence 10 jerked me back to reality. Luckily it was only a small tumble, and we were both fine. Plan B quickly came into effect. Since Ari had only run to fence ten before I messed it up, I gave her a week off and then geared up for the CCI 3* at Bramham International.

P.S. Arianna soars over Fence 8 in front of Badminton House.

P.S. Arianna soars over Fence 8 in front of Badminton House.

In the two weeks leading up to it, everything seemed to go awry. To start, Vinnie was rushed in for colic surgery. I had just entered him in his first UK event after he was cleared from a minor injury he had last fall. He was really improving in the program here and felt great, so it was really scary and gutting to watch him go through a complicated colic. To top off my week, Ari began not to feel herself. I chose to withdraw from Bramham, and not risk anything. I still went and helped Austin with his three* horses and cheered on the American riders. It’s a beautiful venue and an amazing competition, but it’s never fun going to an event you were supposed to be competing in. With both my horses out, I found myself questioning everything. Ari is 17 this year, and it’s my responsibility to listen to her and not push her past her love of the sport just for my sake after all she has given me. And Vinnie is making a good, but slow comeback. In these times it’s difficult to stay positive about things, and easy to imagine the worst-case scenarios. And being so far away from home doesn’t make it easier, even with all the wonderful people here who have been so kind and helped me through this situation. I am so grateful to the O’Connors, my British family, and everyone here who graciously got me back and forth from the vet clinic to visit Vinnie, and let me borrow a lorry to transport him—I now know I can successfully drive over here! For now, I’ll be taking a step back to regroup, and will be competing other horses here and still making the most of this trip - the learning never stops, and I’m not about to let this set back define this amazing adventure. 

Austin O'Connor and Lucky Contender wait their turn at the trot-up.

Austin O'Connor and Lucky Contender wait their turn at the trot-up.

I’m not writing this to make people sad for what’s happened, because I know I am still extremely lucky to be living this life, rather I think it’s important to put out there all the challenges we face as horse people. Social media is filled with superficial perfection (which I am a culprit of as well). It is nice to see, but you also rarely see the behind the scene struggles, and the trials and tribulations it takes to get to those flawless days. So post all your success stories and show off the perfect pictures so you can remember them, but on the bad days, don’t forget that everyone has been there too. It’s a tough sport and we all need to cheer each other on, and be grateful we can share our lives with our incredible horses. The bad days only make the good days that much better. And we are SO lucky to be doing what we love, even if on some days that love makes you feel a little manic. After all, we don’t continue this sport day after day just because. It’s a fiery passion that drives us to team up with our equine partners and be ruthless in chasing our dreams together. Whenever I feel myself wavering from that, I think back to when I was five years old and fantasizing about being among the top riders in the world as I played my equestrian computer games or rode on my stick horse, imagining I was riding around Kentucky, Badminton, and Burghley. Well, here I am, and I plan to do my best to keep calm and kick on.