"It was a memorable occasion to see ALL using the reins for a common good." said Axel Steiner, who was invited to sit in in the meeting with the USOC.
A new era for equestrian sports began on Saturday, February 1, 2003, when the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Membership and Credentials Committee received a plan jointly proposed by USA Equestrian (USAE) and the United States Equestrian Team (USET) to create a new NGB for the sport incorporating the strengths of each organization.
The joint agreement resolves the question of governance of the sport and ends an agonizing period of dispute with a solution that all parties heartily endorse.
The new plan became a reality when signed by USAE President Alan Balch, Vice President David O'Connor and Treasurer Kathy Meyer and by USET Chairman Frank Lloyd, President Armand Leone and Secretary Eric Straus. It calls for the formation of a new corporate entity to assume all the current functions of USAE and USET with the main fundraising efforts handled by two new supporting organizations.
As part of the agreement, Balch agreed to resign as a Trustee of the USET, to instruct his attorneys to take immediate steps with the USET to resolve the litigation Balch v. USET in a manner acceptable to both parties, and that he will not seek to serve as an officer or director of the new NGB until after the election cycle for 2005.
The USET agreed to nominate David O'Connor as a Trustee to its Board and all parties agreed that O'Connor will be responsible to communicate and coordinate all international matters between USAE, USET and the USOC during the interim period prior to the establishment of the new NGB.
The new NGB will carry on activities currently performed by the USET and USAE and will be responsible for providing all services required by Equestrian Sport, both national and international, and for meeting obligations as a USOC-designated NGB. For the role of fundraising, the plan calls for the creation of the USET Foundation and the USAE Trust. The USET Foundation will seek to raise funds for international high performance programs while USAE Trust will raise funds for purposes relating to equestrian industry research, education, scholarship and financial support needs, excluding activities relating to international high performance programs and activities.
The new NGB will be governed by a Board of Directors not to exceed 54 members. Officers will include a President; Vice President-International High Performance; Vice President-International-National FEI Affiliates; Vice President-National Affiliates; Vice President-Finance & Administration; Secretary and Treasurer. The new NGB will be led by a paid Chief Executive Officer (CEO). A six member CEO Search Committee, with three individuals appointed by USAE and three by the USET, will begin immediately to seek a suitable individual for the CEO position. The CEO is to be in place prior to commencing operations of the new NGB.
USET Chairman of the Board, Frank V. Lloyd and David J. O'Connor, USAE Vice President stated, "We are particularly delighted for the athletes, coaches, staffs and the entire sport of equestrian; and look forward to the renewed enthusiasm and support to make this country the top equestrian nation in the world."