Conjecture: an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

Also a good name for a horse.

This year has provided an enormous amount of opportunities for conjecture. We have seen more interest from members to participate, we have seen efforts to get to know who is in these positions, because they are all among us, competing, training, judging, and we know their names. Maybe that is part of the problem. We know too much. We connect with too many people, and the double edge sword is now we cannot dismiss their opinions because we KNOW who is holding those opinions, and it is painful.

The USHJA comes with a boatload of problems, but that is simply the way it is. Ironing out the problems. Constantly. There is no dismissing the organization to branch off and create a new association without dropping the Olympic Games from Equestrian Sport. The Ted Stevens Act specifically prevents more than one governing body for each sport partaking in the Olympics, which is why we pay the US Equestrian one fee, and the USHJA another fee. Our money goes to the Olympic path on one side (so we can watch McLain Ward), and the accessible programs we all support on the other side (so we can participate in Championships, EAP,  Derby Finals etc.).

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In order to keep Equestrian in the Olympic, Paralympic, or Pan American Games, there must be only ONE National Governing Body to oversee all recognized equestrian sport.

You can read the By-laws here for the USOC.

If you want the hunter discipline removed from recognized competition and out of the umbrella of the US Equestrian, sure, you can do this by forming a new organization and simply compete locally or unrecognized. That means, short stirrup all the way up to International Hunter Derby would be unrecognized. On the local level only. Nothing in the hunter disciplines would be recognized by any National Governing Body. Maybe each state could have a Governing organization, but it couldn’t be national. Only Show Jumping, Dressage, Vaulting, Reining, Driving, Para- Eq, Endurance, and Eventing would be recognized on a national/International level, like in all other countries. But you CANNOT have two National Governing Bodies overseeing equestrian sport and still have the United States be eligible for the Olympic Games.

So, do we want to drop out of the Olympics?


Do you want Hunter to be removed from US Equestrian and those classes be recognized on the local/regional level only?

Where would Equitation go? Recognized or unrecognized?

How would horse shows work?

The United States Hunter Jumper Association.

Dressage riders pay the USDF, event riders pay the USEA, Reiners pay the NRHA, etc. And we pay the USHJA.

But do we need the USHJA?


Supporters of the EAP (Emerging Athletes Program) will say yes, because the EAP will not exist without the USHJA.  Supporters of the education (H Quiz) will say yes, our kids know nothing, we need USHJA. Do we NEED the Incentive Finals? Supporters will say yes. Do we NEED the Derby Finals? Supporters will say yes. So these classes and programs cannot exist without the USHJA? Current status dictates yes. The US Equestrian is not likely to take over these programs are they? So, of course, we NEED the USHJA.

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The conflict with the USHJA Foundation is another situation which has to be ironed out, somehow. Most of us can only speculate about the conflict, and the ones involved are restricted over possible litigation.

The Association wanted a level of control that we were advised by legal counsel was not required and in our opinion was not in the best interest of the Foundation, it’s donors, or mission. The potential of litigation prevents me from discussing the subject further. Thank you.   —– Geoff Teall

The speculation over what caused the conflict has included everything from appropriation of funds, to breaking away from the USHJA all together and somehow running as a stand alone operation. We don’t know. We got a sort of lame press release which left a lot of questions (no offense, but really). We have to hope what DID happen is correct enough to move forward, and thankfully no scholarships or grants will be affected. Arguments for both sides might be valid arguments, but how does one declare the winner? Not possible, and worse, we know, love and respect all the people on both sides of the argument. How awful to watch this happen. Even more awful to be inside the walls trying to figure it out.

I think two things about that situation. 1, we elected Mary Babick to make the most difficult decisions possible, and she does, and 2, if  those 11 dedicated board members envisioned something together, then they shouldn’t give up on it’s creation. This is America, it is a large country, and any motivation for a way to give back to our horse show community will ultimately prevail.


Litigation is hard. It prevents the desired transparency we all seek. I’m married to this, so I know when conversations come to a dead halt over a private matter, or worse, can’t even start because of the subject. Litigation is there to protect us and hinder us all at the same time. I despise potential litigation, but am one of the people who will probably need it the most in my lifetime.

What you can do is be as knowledgeable about the organizations as possible and not turn your back on them. Know enough of what is going on so that you may be called upon for your service, advice, or input down the road.

Read the rulebook, read the bylaws. Listen to the podcasts, whatever it takes to NOT TURN YOUR BACK. Whatever it takes to absorb the information, think about it and maybe even be part of the solution.


The US Equestrian is a riding club. The rest of the world views it as a riding club. If you don’t like the riding club’s rules, then become part of governance and change the rules, or leave the riding club. However, ripping apart the organization with litigation because they are not  following YOUR OWN RULES is hardly constructive. Yay, you are suing. Again. Great, now we can all pay for that litigation while we were sitting here playing by the rules and you are not.   I can’t believe people can justify cheating by tearing into the process, and I can’t believe the process is so broken we need someone to tear it to pieces to get it to change.

We are literally watching two wrongs making a right. How did we get HERE? it is 2017.

Maybe a new board of directors is a good idea, but how in the world is that even an option? Who would want that job? Admit it, it’s an awful job. We are gonna have to work with what we have for now.

Maybe recreating the testing process is the only way to go, but where do you even begin? Even the FEI isn’t really getting it right, with suspensions handed out regularly for random crap found in WEEDS which make their way into the food source and cannot possibly be prevented from entering the horse’s system. wtf? I don’t know, the world is a mess, with only a few exceptional leaders out there to navigate the muddy waters the rest of us don’t want to wade through, but maybe it is time for more people to get down and dirty to really think about what is best for the entire group, and not just best for an individual. Embrace the setbacks somehow, so our group can move forward. But of course, this is all remains conjecture.


USHJA By-laws.

USHJA Foundation By-laws

USOC By-laws

US Equestrian By-laws.



4 thoughts on “Conjecture

  1. I’m curious about this sentence; ” Litigation is there to protect us and hinder us all at the same time. I despise potential litigation, but am one of the people who will probably need it the most in my lifetime.” Why will you need litigation most? I work in HR and deal with threats of litigation all the time, but thankfully it very seldom comes to fruition.


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