Run… The 2018 USHJA Annual Meeting

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It was with great reluctance I chose to attend this years 2018 USHJA Annual Meeting in Tampa. I was so reluctant, I didn’t buy plane tickets, because even at the last minute I had to force myself to go. Leading up to it, I told everyone I was dreading it this year, the long days, long week, and incessant vocabulary lessons….. which words will 88% of the horse crazy population understand? What order to put them in? And how can we make this rule slightly less vague than a Sumo wrestler on the 4th of July? gahhhhh.

Even worse, a couple of months ago I took a really hard blow when Tom Brennan (on the USHJA BOD) called me early one morning to tell me he was stepping back from all duties within the USHJA to focus on his business and family. I was speechless. I had already declined my own invitation to the BOD (still not even sure who put my name up), and tried to process what he was saying to me, as I stood in a field and watched as water spilled over the lip of a trough I had been filling and run off into the pasture. I just let it run. I eventually found a voice to say “no, no you can’t leave, that’s not funny, you are WAY too needed, this is what you have been excelling at for the last few years, your attention to detail is sick, and the reason I took an interest in the first place! I have totally depended on your guidance….” (not that it should be about me) but he cut the call short, wished me luck, reminded me to read the by-laws if I was ever going to be serious about governance and hung up. I stared at my phone, stared at the overflowing trough, sighed, and walked over to turn the water off… I will never forget that morning. I felt ill.

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Tom Brennan might be the best analysist we have

I was so busy this fall, I basically squeezed a year’s worth of travel in the last three months before Christmas, and honestly, rule change proposals were so far from my mind after they originally came out, I was hoping my brain would deflate just long enough to allow some of that crap to sift back in and remind me what we were supposed to be talking about.

Instead of flying, I used the long drive to Florida to clear my mind of Russians and horse dealers, and instead concentrate on Zone specs and educational programs.

Sunday afternoon, hardly remembering how I got there, and following wicked rains and tornado warnings, I found myself walking through the doors of the Hilton hotel in downtown Tampa.

Our swag at registration included a giant orange beach bag filled with brochures, a few treasured pens, a calendar, instructions to download the meeting app, and sticky notes. Super, more sticky notes.

Zone education was up first, where we were listening to various Zone stories from around the country, complaints, more complaints, meanwhile being encouraged to give ideas to improve communication so more people understand who we are, what we do, etc, etc. People wanted shows to post signs which pointed out which exhibitors were there who were also Zone committee members. I rolled my eyes.

Shit, I thought, I am only here one hour and my eyes! my eyes!

Look, we have two early responsibilities as competing exhibitors. The first one (after you figure out which Zone you actually live in) is to properly identify your Zone Committee members. The second one is, IF you are a Zone Committee member, you need to broadcast that shit all over the place until people start to recognize you. Do NOT sit around and expect the shows or the USHJA to do your job. You signed up, and yes it is a sucky job sometimes, but please, for the love of all things poopy, I do NOT want to sit through one more meeting and listen to people who have NEVER even mentioned on Facebook that they are a Zone Committee member. Everyone has to get to the meeting each year, it is not a position you use on your resume and then do nothing, you have to work, create avenues for change, and organize Zone crap, which I love to do (don’t get me wrong), you have to be strong willed when you don’t want to be, and not let the chair person intimidate and bully you (which can happen, trust me) and you have to smile whenever an exhibitor mistakes you for a steward, and help them solve whatever it is they need solving. (YES, I am capable of smiling) THEN, you have to sort through materials for phone calls, and try to remember which rules apply to which organization. No one is perfect, I get that, but next year at the Zone Committee meeting I want to hear ALL about the cool shit, not the boring stuff, to get my week in gear. No offense.

By the way, I am currently a ZONE 3 COMMITTEE MEMBER. HI! HOW ARE YOU! bless you.

More instruction was given to us on how to ‘go after’ affiliate organizations. This frustrated me because I personally think we should leave state and affiliate show organizations alone, at least until the image of the USHJA improves. A lot. The local affiliates are local and and cheap for a reason. Swooning local state organizations with promises of grant money for their banquets might work in some areas, but certainly not in mine. I am aware of the movement to encourage the strength of the lower end of the pyramid, but there are other ways. Offering a 2’6” height in our Thoroughbred division for one… maybe.

I met up with Brooke Kemper and Kimmy Risser following the first intro meeting, and we gathered our giant orange bags and luggage, and headed off to our apartment a few minutes from the hotel. Thank the Lord for AirBNB. Just recently Brooke had been nominated for the BOD, Kimmy was on the Hunter Breeding Committee, and we mused about governance in our busy lives and how it was so tricky and time consuming, but at least we were all together. I wondered if Tom would be there and tried to remember the last time we spoke. He had called me a few hours after I landed from Russia to hear about my trip, but mostly I think he was just making sure I hadn’t been kidnapped or mugged (the latter not uncommon with me) and I had asked if we would see each other in Tampa for the meeting, but he hadn’t decided then, so, trying not to sound disappointed, we wished each other a good holiday just in case. I never had time to follow up so it was anyone’s guess if he would arrive in Florida.

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MONDAY. 7:30 am…The big yellow book. Now, there weren’t too many controversial issues this year, as in years past, so there were only three or four topics I had any feeling for, but the point of these meetings is to offer perspectives and remind the room in general to make sure everyone is comfortable with the language of each proposal so we aren’t going back and making modifications when we didn’t get the language right the first time.

Sounds fun, no?

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I think I first questioned the cell phone rule, and reminded people ring staff calls us to tell us how many trips before we show…which led to a flurry of discussion. This does not mean I am for or against, by the way, before you lynch me, I just like to see both sides.

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Brooke brings questions to the table.

I am not a fan of the Regional I and Regional II shows needing a certified Course Designer, but luckily someone else was at the microphone before I could stand up, so I let her have the floor. She shared my view.

Reversing nomenclature for Pre Greens/Green Hunter brought some passionate responses. Points were made about the length of time for people to get used to the change and also losing Kimmy’s new favorite word, (lol, jk)  “Tradition”.

A horse welfare rule was being introduced to the Equitation section –  again murmurs on language; pony/horse shoe pulling was dismissed without discussion, having already been clearly disapproved from all committees, as was the bridle rule (Melanie Ferrio-Wise may carry on riding bridleless), no draw reins, martingales permitted in age restricted classes, so on and so forth. Then we get to the color of the coat….

I am gonna save more for later, because there is more for later, but the initial reaction of the room was priceless. So. Many. Groans. I did not stand up. I sat in my seat and watched closely as people grappled with how to deal with the one thing no one wanted to deal with. The damn color of a coat. I think everyone aged five years in that moment. When this current rule went into effect years ago, it was to offer clarification on what would be allowed to show riders with what was available at that time, when apparently loads of people were wearing plaid and pinstripes, linen and so forth, and someone finally had enough and was like, hey! we need a rule.

Several decades later, we apparently have hit an impasse. After what seemed like a gross amount of time, we were reminded the committees would have a chance to address this later, Kimmy told me this was all my fault (again), and moved on to more important topics like Amateur Owners versus Amateurs, Competition standards (UGHHHH),  Measurement surfaces (no plywood please and thank you), Ambulances, paramedics, and a myriad of other topics to be discussed throughout the week. The debriefing took several hours but we got through it. Yay.

In the afternoon I attended the Young Hunter Round Table with Kimmy and we enthusiastically contributed our ideas on how to make it work better for our members. I was happy to see Tom Brennan at the table for the discussion, along with Geoff Teall. Kimmy and I were, honestly, both a bit surprised there was even a question as to why the Young Hunter division has not taken off on the East Coast compared to California, and tried not to be too snarky (me, I mean, I am the only snarky one) as we pointed out some MAJOR flaws for what is happening here. No prize money, no finals, no reduced entry fee, not too many shows even offering it, (hello Harrisburg for a final?) no conformation consideration, needed height modification, etc. etc. etc. In her brilliance, Kimmy suggested adding a Young Hunter Championship or Finals (or whatever) to the Sallie B. Wheeler Finals.  We patted ourselves on the backs and moved on.

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Round table questions

Later that evening, we hit the bar for a glass of wine before moving on to the welcome party, we attempted to mingle (sort of), and I made myself known to David Distler, because I had never done so before, and mentioned I would be on yet another committee for Zone 3 Finals. He was very courteous, but probably wishing someone would come save him. We chatted with a few of the USHJA employees, because at this point we had worked with these girls a LOT, and it was fun to see them off the clock, and catch up on their lives. I always make a point to give the girls who work in the office a lot of credit for putting up with us, horse people are nuts, and they deal with people with grievances on a regular basis, so it is nice when you can take a moment and let them know how much we appreciate the work.

TUESDAY. 7:30 am. State of the Union. Mary Babick. Pretty much full house. The three of us sat up front and were joined by Terry Young from Virginia, whom I have grown to really appreciate her dedication. She asks really good questions, and puts a lot of thought into what is happening. We watched a slide presentation and videos of the success of the USHJA and the programs offered through the organization…. EAP, HQC, TCP, Jumper stuff, team stuff, pie charts, graphs, statistics, more graphs, more statistics. Oh wait, another graph. Occasionally, I played solitaire on my kindle. I thought about stuff…..

The presentation finally ended and Mary opened up the floor for a Town Hall. I looked behind me at the couple hundred people in the room. many of them looked at me. Geesh. I stood up for my first question…. I asked her to go back to the pie chart and point out where the money from the Foundation was included and which slice of pie was designated to include it. I think she said Competitive Programs, since money coming through the Foundation was targeted for these programs. hmm, ok. She brought up the Gochman grant which is specifically for Pony Finals so I asked if Pony Finals was a USEF Championship, not a USHJA program and she said yes. So the Gochman Grant comes through the USHJA Foundation, but goes to a USEF event. Seems weird to me, but maybe it makes sense to someone else. I don’t even know and I am not sure if I care, but something in my head triggered the question, so I asked. I sat down and felt a tap on my shoulder.

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I am pretty sure this was John Bahret’s exact expression when I was at the microphone.

I turned around to John Bahret, seated behind me who offered to clarify my questions later. Good idea, I thought, and said “I would love that.”

A couple of people asked various questions, but nothing dramatic, just clarifying parts of the presentation and what not.  Pretty soon there were crickets. Why is everyone so QUIET?? Isn’t this a Town Hall? I was expecting a line at the microphone. There is usually a line. When did we all become so content? I must have missed something, I don’t know.

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I stood up again.

Every time I stand up I start sweating, the room always feels hot, and I feel like a dork. I do it anyway, but it never gets easier. I hate it. I hate people looking at me, I hate how my voice sounds, I am sure my hair is a mess, and despite the last couple of years of practice, it does not get any easier for me. I know there are several haters in the room, obviously, (most likely from HITS) but this a chance to have the conversation. Not in the halls, not in the car, on the phone, not in the bathroom. This is it. I feel like there is one recent development which I really, really was hoping someone else would bring to the microphone….

In the last week or two, there has been wild activity on the internet concerning about five or six breeds and disciplines looking to their relationship with USEF. Another blogger has produced several articles criticizing the USOC, Safe Sport, among other things and seems keen on a possible separation from the Federation. The Arabian Horse Association is starting to study the relationship with USEF and consider options, which they probably can’t help. When your members decide to ignore sanctioned showing, refuse to renew their dues and seek shows locally, you kind of can’t operate. There are far less Arabian exhibitors than Hunter/Jumper exhibitors, so a mass exodus is a very good reason for concern. So, I asked. How does it affect us if half a dozen other breed disciplines leave USEF? What do we tell our membership? Will are dues be affected with the financial loss of that many people? If the USHJA is so connected with USEF, then we should have a right to understand the activity and expect our leadership to get ahead of this curve and offer some guidance, so when we ask our customers to sign up each year, they don’t pester us with WHY CANT WE LEAVE USEF, TOO?? Mary answered, but seemed to steer the answer back to Safe Sport and the value of the SS in our lives, but that didn’t please me, (naturally), so I said please answer the first question, to which she looked for Glenn Petty to step up to the microphone. Bill Moroney was right behind him. Glenn assured us it was ONLY a preliminary study to determine the relationship with the two organizations, which would be complete in August of 2019. And Bill Moroney said to not believe everything you read on the internet…..

K.

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The first of the smaller meetings.

Scheduling is a bitch. You are constantly trying to be in two or five places at once. You get a few minutes in one room, but have to leave to catch another meeting down the hall. The basic yellow book of proposals was furiously being discussed everywhere, but also each educational program had a meeting to discuss improvements. Like the TCP. On one of the crazy charts in the SOTU address, it was pointed out of the 7500 professionals listed in USHJA, only 500 had attempted to finish their TCP training. That program has never sat well with me. I hardly teach anymore, so I am expected to be certified to show horses instead? I show just fine, I don’t really need a certification for showing horses, and now that ‘mandatory’ is being intensely thrown around I am imagining being certified equally with anyone who gives himself an alias of a superhero or ties their horse up in a stall without water for 6 hours just so an adult lady can jump the cross rail division? I didn’t make any new friends in that meeting, and look, I am not opposed to certification, but not through a show association. It needs to be through Pony Club. Especially with teaching. Have the TCP go through Pony Club and as both organizations. For pete’s sake.

Competition Management meeting had forty five thousand pages of rewrites to review. Skip. I walk into a Young Jumper task Force and was the only one in the room besides a few people at the table. They were musing how to adopt Andrew Philbrick’s Hunter Farms format for Young Jumpers. Good idea, that should work, Next. Break. Candy. Walk around the building twice. Competition Standards again. Okkkkkkkkk already.  My brain was imploding. The maroon coat was still on the table looking for a solution. Time was running out, still no solution. I racked my brain, trying to think of ways to rewrite the language, but nothing was coming up….yet.

We broke up for dinner, Kimmy scowled at us because Brooke and I hadn’t purchased fancy Awards dinner tickets so we were going to have to split up. But as I drove Kimmy back the hotel for the party and picked up Brooke, I pinky promised we would sneak back in for the After Party.

Just kidding, we don’t pinky promise.

But we did return for the After Party, and I forced them both to hit the dance floor with me so I wouldn’t be the only one showing off my outrageous dance moves, we dressed up in silly hats for the photo booth and begged some of the USHJA girls to come join us for some much needed stress relief. They had all been prevented from attending the banquet from their boss, which infuriated me, so Kimmy and I were super keen to get them into the After Party. It was cute, they didn’t last long, probably fear of being caught, but they put on some Santa hats and got their photos taken, then hurried away back to the coat room. Why on earth were the hardest working people in the building being prevented from having a tiny bit of fun with us? Seemed so wrong. It worries me.

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Brooke, me and Kimmy at the After Party

In the last few months, there has been an alarming amount of turnover inside of the USHJA with nearly half a dozen girls quitting recently, and all I keep thinking is WHY? Why, why why? We need them so badly, they work very, very hard. One transferred to the USEF and is flourishing tremendously, even heading the licensed officials meeting where she has spent months hashing out an easier option to get more officials licensed on an easier to understand platform. Once she nails down the confidentiality crisis, she will have a very good product to bring back to us. Her passion for it is really inspiring. But is makes me very, very sad. In some dark corner of my head the one pestering thought is that damned anonymous letter. Whatever happened to the anonymous letter? Was the situation ever handled? We never heard another published word about it, but I cannot remove it from my head. Someone had to write it for a reason, otherwise, why bother? Maybe it was swept under the rug, maybe he went to some sort of employee training, but if we have to watch his picture get taken with every horse receiving an award at Derby Finals, then I want to know these girls are safe. Seems fair to me.

RETRACTION: I have been instructed by the USHJA President that this is not fact, and to offer a correction. The girls were indeed permitted to attend the party if they wanted. My apologies for the confusion. 

Wednesday. Breakfast with a headache.

Well, that’s how it goes, sometimes. The first meeting was a joint Hunter/Jumper Working group meeting, and here we reeeeeeally needed an answer on the maroon coat. We had 24 hours left. We were still looking for the RIGHT language for this rule to prevent people from being eliminated for the color of a coat, meanwhile please the ’traditionalists’, and make a tiny allowance for the coat to appear without the fear of it showing up in Derby Finals with Liza Boyd. (when pigs fly)

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LOL

By this point no one gives two shits what the color is, what we REALLY need is for HALF of the COUNTRY to STOP flooding the USEF and USHJA offices with calls and hate emails about being eliminated from the show ring because a steward is really taking the rule too literally, or IS MY MAROON COAT LEGAL???? In reality, the furthest thought from most judges minds is the color of the show coat, and every single judge in attendance (INCLUDING LINDA ANDRISANI BY THE WAY) was insisting they were looking at the horse when it walked into the ring. If you are a judge and disagree, but you were not in Tampa, sorry I can’t help you. Sorry, not sorry? Unbelievably, this was harder than you think. Kelsey (from USEF) was determined to get the line of ‘you cannot be eliminated’ into the wording, but dark muted colors also needed to get in there. Every time someone named specific colors, someone else threw out an example of a different color. Holy shit, what the literal phuck.

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Linda whenever we had to address the maroon coat. jk

I went for a walk and tried to tackle it myself.

The best I could come up with is a modern ‘sounding’ rule but was the closest to keeping the most people happy, in my mind. I thought it was ok, but maybe you can improve upon the language. you have until Monday to help. This is being thrown back to the National Hunter Committee for review, because it could not get resolved by Thursday…

Conventional attire following the tradition of fox hunting is encouraged and preferred with dark, muted colors. A rider may not be eliminated for choice of coat color, but the judge may penalize for distractions such as excessive adornments on helmets and coats. Shirts must have a choker or closed collar, or tie. Breeches may be buff, canary, tan, rust, or white.

As it stands after last Thursday?

The current proposed rule was passed with only a brief modification. I think they just removed parenthesis.

Attire. Riders should wear conservatively colored black, blue, green, grey, or brown coats which are free from adornment which in the judge’s opinion is overly distracting. Shirts must have a choker, similar collar or tie. Breeches may be buff, canary, tan rust, or white.

Now you see where all the brain cells went.

Next meeting, next meeting, next meeting. I was frustrated with overlaps of important ones and I was missing some areas I wanted to hear. I also started noticing fewer committee representatives at the tables. Some had one chairperson, and one other member, maybe two. Some never met a quorum to vote on stuff. hmm. I darted around, trying to absorb as much as I could but it was really a lot of information. I spoke up on things I had no idea about but asked anyway based on logistics. Charlotte Skinner-Robson offered to hug me in the halls when I questioned the logistics of the FEI Course Designer rule and felt it was discriminatory against foreigners, and by the way Americans are never asked to maintain multiple licenses when working in Canada, Mexico, or Europe, so wtf dude? Welp, I might have lost a friend in Steve Stephens today, but yeah, well, it needed to be asked, so I did. The day continued like that, and it was exhausting.  I am passionate abut the child/adult hunter team championships, but the program is on the chopping block because it cannot take off like the jumper champs, and the few suggestions I had seemed to fall flat. I hope not, they were good suggestions, and this is one of the few programs I happily endorse. The pony task force met with two committee members, again, couldn’t meet a quorum so they held a round table discussion. I asked (for a friend) why it was not possible for a professional to show them one day during the week but subsequently only allow the pony to show in the green ponies that weekend, not the regular division, since every other junior/amateur division allowed professional riders to show beforehand during the week except green ponies and was met with a barrage of exclamations, good and bad. This is actually a very concerning issue, when there are very, very few pro pony riders available, but maybe for another day.

We each have our own need with the programs in the USHJA. The hardest barrier is the size of this country. The models have to work from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii to Florida. Instead, the reality is each part of the country has a different dichotomy and piecing it all together is welll…. hard.

I was darting back and forth when I heard my name called. It was John Bahret from the first morning wanting to know if I still wanted to talk about the Foundation. Of course I did! It turns out he is the treasurer for the Foundation until this week, then he transfers his duties to treasurer of the USHJA, hence resigning from the Foundation so no one sees him as having a conflict of interest. Got it. He assured me the Foundation was up and running again, they had wisely decided to lie low for a year following the dramatic resignation of nearly the entire board over a major discrepancy of the by-laws, but were organized, happy and healthy and looking into the future… that word again. What is with the by-laws lately? A post resignation interview regarding the by-laws immediately came to mind, but I pushed it back for a few minutes so I could think.

This would be my third attempt to sell my idea to a Foundation board member and my last attempt for sure. The first two failed, I think, but I wasn’t ready to give up.

A few months ago a braider in Texas, Cat Wolstenholme was severely injured when a horse she was braiding swiped at a fly, caught his halter on her ladder and flipped her over, breaking her leg. She had little or inadequate insurance, and was forced to start a Go Fund me account which eventually found its way to my inbox, so I reached out to her to apply for a grant from the Foundation.

But it got me thinking, what are we doing for all the braiders, grooms and farriers with little options on insurance, and are not members of the USHJA or USEF, but help us every day? Could they not be a member of the Foundation instead, for like $35 a year or something and if they got hurt, be able to apply for some financial aid? There is no braider’s or groom’s union, so maybe we could hash it out and come up with options.

I have to say John relished the idea and made me feel very comfortable talking about it. He went to great lengths to inform me of the layout of the Foundation, it’s relationship with USHJA, along with everything else, and we tossed around ideas on how to make something like this available for the future. I couldn’t believe it. He was amazing, genuine, and forthcoming, and I was truly impressed with the time he took to give me a chance, which very, very few people had displayed before. It was the first time I was seeing just a little tiny spark of hope.

I wasn’t sure what to think after that meeting, but I was definitely in a lighter mood already.

The final meeting for me was the Sport Integrity Task Force meeting which drew a small but curious crowd. I noticed Tom was a bit late to the meeting, not unusual, but out of the corner of my eye, thought maybe he was hanging by the door, unsure where to go for a few minutes longer than normal. He eventually took a seat at the table. He looked really tired. I remember Mary announcing a couple of years ago this committee and at the time, she and Tom Brennan were the only two members. I distinctly remember not receiving an invitation, but also thought maybe I was being arrogant.

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Cricket Stone Morris

Eventually she recruited a few key people, including Cricket Stone Morris, who has really flourished in this area. She has done a TON of research from all over the world, and come up with a workbook which may work on the future of sport. My hand raised for the final time that week to suggest paying more attention to young people receiving sportsmanship awards across the country and maybe it will be useful to connect their ideals of Sport Integrity to Sportsmanship, especially with young people. Honestly, I don’t know where that came from, but Tom immediately raised an eyebrow, looked at me, and said you are on to something there. We carried on for a few minutes with that idea and the room came up with some other ideas how to connect it all. The conversation drifted a bit to judging somehow, and before long Sissy Wickes and Tom were sharing funny stories about judging fails, and we were all giggling about everything from bathroom breaks to exhibitors winning a blue ribbon but still wanting to ask the judge why they won a blue ribbon, to discussing the New England Equitation Championships. It was unbelievable. And Mary was at the head of the table as the Chairperson.

Thursday. The Drive Home. The Board Meeting..

I just couldn’t stay any longer. Things were falling apart at home, I had horses to ride, appointments, and I was seriously bummed to leave but I had to. Thursday is the final board meeting for the Directors, and the last chance for submitting the proposals to the USEF for approval. This year there was no further discussion allowed past Thursday since the USEF annual meeting is held earlier this year in West Palm beach in just a couple of weeks. Starting Monday the USEF committees would be reviewing all this week’s revisions.

I wished Brooke and Kimmy luck the night before and was awake and driving before they woke up, slowly processing what happened during the week while staring at white lines on the dark road.

It took me a few hours before I started thinking something was really weird about this week. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, but something wasn’t adding up.

Why did it seem so different?

Why were there so many committees unable to conduct business?

Was it intentional? The meeting was held in Florida, Tampa is really a good place to have a meeting for horse people, and many people who left before their meetings… were in Florida…

What am I missing?

I drove on.

My phone buzzed to tell me the nomenclature on the Greens didn’t pass. Fuck. My first thought was Tom was going to be so disappointed with that. He really had hopes of restoring the original names and had the entire room agreeing the day before by describing branding processes, and this is one area which he strongly felt a should not be modernized. Damn it, what changed overnight?

I thought about that. What changed overnight? What did I miss?

Phone buzzed again. Coat rule was not reworded. Fuck. Square One.

Ban of cell phone use in schooling areas passed. Good. Now everyone will buy an Apple Watch and be flipping their wrist over every five seconds.

I drove on.

Kimmy finally called me at then end of the meeting and seemed a little breathless. Alarm bells started going off.

Apparently departing BOD member Shelley Campf had dropped a bomb at the end of the meeting and had made an eerily creepy demand for the first order of business to the incoming board to investigate the real reason Tom Brennan was left off of the ballot for the 2018 BOD.

Wait, WHAT??

I actually had to pull over.

Fuck me, nothing was adding up. My head was spinning too fast. No wait, actually lot’s of things are adding up. My mind flew back to to the Foundation by-laws when everyone on the board resigned except one person.

My mind also flew back to Tom’s warning of reading the by-laws.

I hung up and pulled back on the highway, more determined to get home and pull out the by-laws of both organizations.

If Tom was really not pulling back from governance because of time, like he told me, that must mean it was something else. But what? A forced resignation? What on earth for?? I have known this man a very long time. I was at his wedding. When I broke my leg in Gulfport and was carted off on a stretcher, he packed up all my shit for me. When I ask the dumbest questions you can imagine about governance, he patiently explains every single angle so I never get confused again. He is one of the most respected judges in the country. He also is not easily influenced, which at times has made him a threat to others.

Something was really wrong.

A threat. Wait a second. The only reason you wouldn’t fight to have this man on your team is if he posed a threat to your position……

Shiiiiiiiiiiiit. My mind went straight to where it really shouldn’t have.

Without Cause.

My dad taught me about his law of re-occurring frequencies. It’s kind of his way of saying he doesn’t believe in coincidences. And I am my fathers child through and through.

Remember when the Plaid Horse interviewed Mary Babick following the disintegration of the BOD on the Foundation? I do.

https://theplaidhorse.com/2017/07/17/what-happened-to-the-ushja-foundation-board-of-directors/

Sooooo many things stick out from that article.

Why would she say ‘There should be no gun trained on Kevin Price” ? Why does his name come up again? Why is she protecting him of all people? I mean, if I were president, I would seriously be looking for a resignation from him as top priority. Wait, is that it?

I pulled out the Foundation by-laws and found what I think, though I am not sure, the original and then corrected parts.

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Original language?

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New language?

I started there, but something told me I wasn’t on the right path. Then the article about the meeting came out, and at the very end was a VERY weird and flimsy explanation regarding the nominating procedure.

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Wait, WHAT?

Cripes,  was I looking in the wrong place?

So, all I could find about the nominating committee was that Tom was on it and had to resign when he submitted his name. It says immediately, but what does that mean exactly? There is no specific time frame, like immediately as in rush to the hospital? Or like immediately, where like over four years then ten days would seem immediate to me. Dang, the Sumo wrestler has returned on the Fourth of July.

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So, what exactly is up with these modifications from November 19th of 2018? That was only a couple of weeks ago. Something isn’t adding up, Here is the link.

https://www.ushja.org/application/files/9415/4404/3142/11.19.18_Approved_Amended_Policy__Procedure_Manual_Redactedfor_website.pdf

I smell a rat.

Why would Shelley Campf be so insistent? I cannot wait for the video of the meeting to be published. I expect it will attract quite a few views.

Why do I have so many questions??

WHY did I leave the meeting?

I am still not sure where to look, what to do, or what to think. It is going to take me forever to pick apart by-laws because let’s face it. I am only so bright. I wasn’t trained for this and the ironic thing is – very few horse people are. We ride horses, show horses, clean up after horses. Who has time for all of the rest? I seriously hope I can find an answer, or if I can’t, maybe someone else can. Maybe you can. I now realize I was dependent on my faith in the leadership, but honestly, my faith is severely shaken right now.

  

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5 thoughts on “Run… The 2018 USHJA Annual Meeting

  1. And people wonder why regular members and potential members have no interest in being involved… thank you for trying and caring for the sport. Rather than making yourself feel important.

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  2. Thanks for giving us this dump of information. I can’t even imagine what it is like to be in some of these meetings but I care about the sport so deeply – how does a small amateur like myself get involved?

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  3. Although I do not, and for a long time, have not, shown at any of the top levels, I follow your posts because I see someone who is a competent and successful rider/trainer (no suck-up, just going on what I’ve seen of you) who gives MAJOR flying f-ck about this division and this sport. I love hunters, since I was a young adult in late 70’s. I just HATE this political take over of this sport, and though I know very little about young hunters in hand – the new rules proposed (or, heaven forbid, implemented) concerning handlers – well, let’s just CANCEL the entire division. “Everybody gets a trophy!”
    PLEASE keep it up – you are a needed voice. I liked that USHJA came on as an independent entity (seemingly maybe) as our local club advocate. Now? They had better not be a money and power grabbing entity like USEF.
    Thank you for your service!
    Andi Stockton Fox

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