Celebrate your sport
The USEA annual meeting is looming ahead in December. As I write this our hard working USEA staff led by CEO Jo Whitehouse is deep into event preparation. Of course to most of our members this monumental effort will largely go unnoticed as each attending member typically has a focal point as to why they come to the annual meeting. That focal point can at times blind our participating members to the other very important activities going on at the meeting. Bottom line, we as a group are all in the same sport but we tend toward very myopic views of what is valuable at any one point in our lives. And, if it’s not important to us…it apparently should not be important to anyone. Last year after what I thought was a really inclusive and educational Annual Meeting I was sent a copy of the meeting schedule in the mail with red lettered “irrelevant” scrawled over 90% of the activities listed as an explanation for why they would not be attending. Wow, my first real “hate mail”! That was an eye opener. If I had feelings they would have been hurt. When I was being interviewed by our USEA Nominating Committee for the position of President, Malcolm Hook asked a very interesting question. He asked “How do you feel about the people who don’t like you?” At the time I was a bit surprised by the question. I don’t remember now how I answered but I now understand why he asked it. Of course, with thousands of members and a huge country the USEA cannot make all the people happy all the time. Personally, I feel the Board of Governors and our fantastic staff do a great job balancing our responsibilities to the entire sport of eventing. In fact when we discuss what to include in our annual meeting schedule we realize that everything is relevant to someone! I know I am going to learn as much as I can, attend every meeting I can and meet as many great people in our sport as I can.
This year’s meeting will be even better than the last or in some cases even more irrelevant depending on your perspective. We will be celebrating new inductees into the USEA Hall of Fame which only happens every three years and happens to be my personal favorite as I admire these horses and equestrian heroes so much. There will be a fantastic awards ceremony handing out Trophies (and a ton of money) honoring horses, riders, trainers, owners, organizers and volunteers from all aspects of the sport. We will be educated by having a Show Jumping course design seminar with Richard Jeffries, Forums on Horsemanship, Instruction and other educational topics will fill the rooms daily. Open Committee meetings will be held on every subject that is encompassed by our sport ranging from Future Event Horses to Classic Events. We will argue about rule changes, ponder deep and mysterious FEI matters and dive headlong into the USEF and our Team USA’s future during a round table with Coach David O’Conner. And, for our educational dessert we will be privileged to hear Mary King one of the sport’s most interesting people speak. Enough Perspectives for everyone!
I have heard and read in books that in life and business Perspective is Everything. At least I think I read that. Or, was it Attitude is Everything? Attitude is indeed Everything! Or maybe in our sport that won’t fit. Perhaps it was that the sage opinions of _______ (Insert name of your favorite current or past rider yourself) is Everything. Shoot, maybe that wasn’t it either. Let me think a moment…I remember now…Winning is Everything. No, no it was Sportsmanship, no… Family, no…Ponies, no…Lower Level Riders…no…Upper Level Riders…no…Young Event Horses? No, that’s not right…obviously it’s Future Event Horses that are Everything! Well actually, upon reflection… it’s Amateurs that are Everything or is it Professionals, no…Olympians…no! Of course not…it’s Classic Beginner Novice Three Day Riders! Right? Shoot, it gets so darn confusing! Wait, wait I’ve got it!! Prize Money is everything…or was it Horsemanship?? No…if you really think about it its Organizers that are Everything…or was it Officials? Judges, Stewards, Land Owners, yes that’s it, Land Owners! No wait! Hold on…hold the presses!! Of course, I finally see it! It’s Horse Owners…yep, Horse Owners are Everything? Or was it the Sponsors…yes, yes they are Everything. Or, could it be just this… EVENTING…EVENTING IS EVERYTHING!! At least it was…right now…dinners waiting.