USEF announces support for saddle seat world cup

I don’t know exactly what this means, but it sounds good.

“The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce that beginning this year, it will assume responsibility for fielding and supporting the U.S. Saddle Seat Equitation Team for the Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup. The USEF will also assist in hosting the competition when held in the United States.

‘This is what USEF does,’ said Federation President David O’Connor. ‘It just makes sense for us to be involved with this.’”

Read the rest of the press release here.

It doesn’t give specifics about what kind of support and I know that the non-Olympic FEI discipline athletes already bemoan the lack of USEF support they get, so I’m guessing it won’t be a lot. Still, I think it’s nice that the USEF is recognizing SS equitation riders competing internationally as international equestrians.

I’ve always liked the spirit behind the World Cup. Yes, I realize that no matter who else shows up, it’s really just a competition between the U.S. and South Africa, and that may never change. But I really like equitation and I think having the World Cup out there as a goal for riders is good for the division.

8 Responses to USEF announces support for saddle seat world cup

  1. Mr Bill says:

    It’s about time! They have been looking down their collective noses at us for years, poo-pooing any and all saddleseat style competitions. My guess is they will help corordinate the logistics, and then take all credit when the US wins.

  2. leslie says:

    I see you took your cynic pills this morning.

    I’ve heard other people express that same sentiment, and I don’t understand where it comes from. Saddle seat riders are a tiny minority of the equestrian population (3% of American riders ride saddle seat…that’s a drop in the bucket), but the USEF always has tons of photos of saddle seat horses on their website and in the magazine, photos and videos from Morgan, ASB, and Arab shows on ClubEquestrian and USEFNetwork. Don Harris earned the USEF lifetime achievement award this year, and many other Saddlebred trainers have in the past. I don’t understand what the USEF is doing for other non-FEI disciplines that it isn’t doing for saddle seat.

  3. snerland says:

    You got him there Leslie.

  4. Mr Bill says:

    I come by my cynicism naturally, Leslie. You should know that by now. :)

    The Saddleseat World Cup has been around as an informal event since the 80′s. It evolved into a competition in 1992. It’s first, formal international competition was in 1996. We were at Louisville that year with two Morgans we donated for the event, and proudly worked in support of team USA (although, in reality, we were supporting the event as a whole). USEF was nowhere to be found then, and hasn’t been involved until now, some 20 years and 8 World Cup competitions later.

    When USEF President O’Conner says “This is what USEF does,” I beg to differ. The fact is that this is what the USEF has finally come around to doing. When O’Conner says “It just makes sense for us to be involved with [the Saddleseat World Cup]“, my cynical mind snaps to attention:

    Where has this sense of the obvious been for the last 2 decades?

    But hey, you’re right, Leslie; Saddleseat riders make up only 2.6% of the American riding population (roughly 50,000 people, the same as racing, I was surprised to discover). The fact that it’s a distinctly American style of riding is of no concern to USEF. The fact that it has been gaining popularity in several countries (most notably South Africa) is also a fact which is ignored by the USEF.

    Sources I know, from inside USEF, have repeatedly revealed, for years, that the upper echelon unabashedly dislikes the Saddleseat style of riding and competition. Though they try to maintain a neutral stance, they occasionally work against the industry. My current favorite subject is helmets for the walk/trotters and the implication, as revealed at our convention this year, that there is a movement to require ALL participants in USEF sanctioned competitions to wear said helmets.

    If they think they can force some well-to-do lady wearing a formal gown and sitting in a fine harness buggy showing her fancy-pants park harness horse to wear a helmet, well, I don’t want to live long enough to see that day. The embarrassment and humiliation may actually deter some participants (most notably, Harry Sebring, whom everyone at convention agreed would look the most ridiculous).

    But it may be around the corner.

    USEF administers the rules and regulations for our competitions, but that’s the full extent of their support. They do what they have to, and no more, which is fine by me as long as they don’t work against us.

    On the other matters:

    Don Harris was the 3rd Saddlebred trainer to be awarded the USEF lifetime achievement award since it’s inception in 1989 (the others being Helen Crabtree in 1990 and Don Burt in 2007). There has been no Morgan, Arabian, Standardbred (Roadsters), or Pony training winners. 3 out of 22 is pretty good, but does not qualify as “many”.

    The home pages of the USEF and Club Equestrian websites do not show one picture of a Saddleseat style horse, nor mention Saddleseat show horses in anyway. USEF Networks home page does have a big splash about the Arabian Nationals.

    Here’s the worst part I found though: Even though USEF has now assumed the “…responsibility for fielding and supporting the U.S. Saddle Seat Equitation Team” and will “… assist in hosting the competition when held in the United States”, every link on the USEF’s Saddleseat World Cup web page is blank (except for the committee list).

    http://usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/allsaddleSeat/WorldCup.aspx

    As a matter of fact, I can’t find a link anywhere on USEF’s website pointing at their SSWC web page. The only link is in the press release itself (and it’s not even a link… you have to cut and paste to access the page).

    In other words, USEF puts out a press release touting the fact that they’ve taken over, but there is no information about the Selection Criteria, the Trials, the Current Team, Sponsorship availability, Previous Teams, the Forms needed to participate, or even basic information about the competition itself (other then the press release).

    There is not even a link to the Saddleseat World Cups own site
    ( http://www.saddleseatworldcupusa.com ).

    This will obviously be rectified sometime in the future, but the REASON you put out a press release is to garner interest and provide information. They garnered interest, but provide ZERO information. They obviously put the cart before the horse.

    Mr Fact-Finding Bill
    PlayMor Farm

    I sent an email to the one of the original organizers and long time supporters of the SSWC, asking “Is USEF taking over a good thing?”.

    I’ll report back on her comments…

  5. StacyGRS says:

    Well, you may be right, but, personally, I have no problem being the USEF’s stepchild. As far as I’m concerned, the less USEF the better. We need them to provide insurance, etc to our shows, but the less interaction, the better, IMO.
    Stacy

  6. Mr Bill says:

    Long time organizer and suporter of the SS World Cup Anne Judd got back to me today and reports that, though the jury is still out on how the USEF is actualy going to handle their new responsibilities, Anne and her daughter are glad to hand over the mounting clerical work it takes to run this competition (held once every other year). Anne says she’s still in charge of fund raising and rule making.

    “…it’s a gesture step for accountability, but as usual I am sure it won’t be all good dealing with a bigger “master”!

    Thanks Anne, and good luck at Carousel!

  7. leslie says:

    “If they think they can force some well-to-do lady wearing a formal gown and sitting in a fine harness buggy showing her fancy-pants park harness horse to wear a helmet, well, I don’t want to live long enough to see that day. The embarrassment and humiliation may actually deter some participants (most notably, Harry Sebring, whom everyone at convention agreed would look the most ridiculous).”

    True story. Harry Sebring would look ridiculous in a formal gown. But it wouldn’t be outside the USEF’s jurisdiction to tell him he has to wear one. I mean, the ladies of saddle seat have been cross-dressing for ages. We all look like we were outfitted by a men’s tailor from 1940. One who was on hallucinogens. But they won’t let us in the ring if we don’t, so we roll with it.

    Or were you just referring to the helmet?

    I’d believe that having the USEF step in might create a few more (or at least different) headaches for the World Cup organizers. But they’re the organization with the best resources for facilitating international equestrian competitions, so I think it’s good that they’re on board. I have trouble being cynical about this one because I just don’t see what the USEF has to gain by getting involved. Time will tell, though. I like the World Cup and I hope this change is a positive move for it.

  8. Vintage_Rider says:

    OMG Leslie, ROFLMFAO…. Thanks for a good giggle today, even if the visual is frightening.

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