With over 250 events to fit into 52 weekends, organizing the United States Eventing Association (USEA) and United States Equestrian (USEF) Recognized Event Calendar is like completing a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Creating a balance of caring for longstanding events and welcoming new ones into the fold is the goal of the USEA and USEF as they create the calendar each year. With only so many competitors in the U.S. – especially at the upper levels – every event is working from the same pool and every competition and/or level added to the calendar has an effect on one that is already established.
Unlike many other equestrian sports, the eventing calendar doesn’t follow a national mileage rule, but rather gives each Area the chance to set their own calendar. The eventing calendar is also unique in that it needs to create a progression to CCI or USEA Classic Series events, so other events further down the calendar must be taken in consideration. Eventers also don’t compete every weekend so the weeks before and after often have an impact on the schedule as well.
In addition, the USEF Eventing Calendar Working Group, a committee made up of organizers, competitors and officials, is charged with maintaining a strategic approach for long-term calendar planning and looking at the potential needs of the sport. With these factors in mind, the USEA and USEF has tried to create a process that gives a voice and is fair to all involved.
All requests for changes to dates, addition of levels on existing dates, or additional events to the current competition calendar must go through the USEF Eventing Calendar Approval Process. The calendar process works two years out so all of these dates are for setting the 2019 season. Here’s how the process works:
- The event organizer submits any changes to his or her USEA Area Chair by November 15. The Area Chair along with the Area Council discuss the changes and decide whether to incorporate them into their Area calendar.
- The Area Chair submits the provisional Area calendars to the USEA Director of Competitions by December 1.
- At the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention held at the beginning of December, the USEA begins to review the provisional calendars including all changes and additions. The USEF Eventing Sport Committee Chair, USEF staff and Athlete Representatives as appointed by the Athlete’s Working Group are invited to participate in the discussions.
- A draft calendar is circulated to the USEF Eventing Sport Committee and Eventing Calendar Working Group. The USEF Eventing Calendar Working Group makes its recommendations to the USEF Eventing Sport Committee and the proposed calendar will be sent to the USEA and all Area councils by January 30.
- For competitions at Intermediate and below there is a second opportunity to be added to the calendar, change dates or add levels below Intermediate. This second deadline gives the lower level events a chance to see where the Advanced and FEI events will fall and can make changes as they see fit. These requests must be made in writing by the organizer to his or her USEA Area Chair by February 15. The Areas then discuss the additional requests and submit the completed calendars by March 1 to the USEA.
- The USEA Director of Competitions distributes the provisional calendars incorporating all recommendations of the USEF Eventing Sport Committee and Eventing Calendar Working Group to the Area Council. If the Area Council, or an Organizer, is unhappy with any changes made/not approved they can submit an appeal to the USEA Competitions Committee by April 1. All appeal decisions will be rendered by April 13.
- The entire calendar, with conflicts resolved but noted on calendar, will be submitted to the USEA Competitions Calender and Rules Committee which then provides reccomendations to the USEA Executive Committee for review during its April meeting. The calendar, with any changes by USEA Executive Committee, will be submitted to Eventing Sport Committee at the late April meeting. The USEF Eventing Sport Committee has the authority to overrule decision by the USEA Appeals Process for FEI and Advanced level competitions. The provisional calendar is subject to final approval by the USEF International Disciplines Council and the USEF Board of Directors.
While technically the eventing calendar should be set at this stage, there is a late deadline of July 15 that gives events one more chance to make changes although this deadline has a fee attached.
When all is said and done the calendar has gone through the hands of the organizer, the USEA Areas, USEA Competition Calendar and Rules Committee, USEA Board of Governors, USEF Eventing Sport Committee, USEF Eventing Calendar Working Group, USEF International Disciplines Council, USEF Board of Directors – well over 100 individuals elected and appointed involved in the process. Want your voice heard? Attend your Area Annual Meeting or the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention or email your Area Council.