The USEA is implementing a few changes in an effort to continue to maintain the financial soundness of the Association in the face of the current economic crisis in the U.S. We have been closely monitoring the economy since gas prices started inching up last year, and while our Association remains on sound financial footing, we believe it prudent to make appropriate adjustments in our expenses.
As always, we strive to keep our members' best interests as a top priority. We will continue to work to keep membership costs down, while still providing members all the information they need to be successful, as well as the perks that they deserve!
Several cost-cutting measures were discussed and reviewed in many open forums and committee meetings last week at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention. With encouraging feedback from all aspects of our membership last week, several new changes will be put into effect for 2009:
- We have implemented a freeze on cost-of-living salary increases at the USEA Headquarters as we strive to do the best for our members, and use the valuable resources we have available. We are very pleased and grateful to report that our hard-working staff members have expressed their full agreement and understanding of this step.
- The Omnibus (starting with the Summer edition in 2009) and the USEF Rules for Eventing will no longer be printed and mailed out to our members. Instead, members will be able to use the online Omnibus and Rulebook on the USEA website, and to download and print these materials at their convenience if a printed copy is needed. These changes will result in substantial cost savings associated with printing and shipping, and will move the USEA towards "going green" – a concept that our outdoor-loving members will appreciate. We are looking into offering a few printed versions of the USEF Rules for Eventing for our members to purchase. We are also planning to email members (selectively, of course) with reminders of event openings and other happenings in their Areas. Furthermore, as these previously printed materials emigrate to the web, we hope to offer additional interactive elements and conveniences to you that were not possible in hardcopy.
- The USEA's award-winning magazine Eventing USA may be cut to four issues per year instead of the usual six. This will happen only as a last resort, and will only affect the 2009 issues. As the USEA works to increase our multimedia capabilities on the web, our members will reap the benefits of such an exciting transition – we will offer more educational videos, live streaming from events, extensive photo galleries, audio and video interviews, interactive features, and much more!
- The Adequan/USEA Gold Cup Series will run a reduced schedule of eight competitions across the country for the 2009 Series. All of the events will be held at the Advanced level, with the exception of the Cosequin Stuart CIC2*. These events will still be held all across the country, giving all competitors an equal chance to be successful in this popular series. The events will include: Red Hills, The Fork, Stuart, Galway Downs, Richland Park, The Event at Rebecca Farm, Twin Rivers, and the American Eventing Championships.
We recognize that some of these items are changes in how the USEA interacts with members. In light of the current economy and the unknown impact it may have on the association and the sport next year, we think it wise and responsible to act now to 'tighten our belts' to ensure that the USEA is in the best possible position for 2009. If warranted by further developments, we will take additional steps—although we remain fundamentally optimistic about our sport's ability to weather these tough economic times. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully on a week-by-week basis, and plan to stay in close communication with the Areas and the Organizers to ensure a successful 2009 and a vibrant future for our wonderful sport. We look forward to implementing these changes in the coming months, and trust that our members will embrace our new practices and work with us towards a fun and exciting New Year!
USEA CEO Jo Whitehouse commented on these changes: "We've worked very hard for several months to monitor the national economy and what is happening financially with the sport and the Association. As this process continues, we will communicate frequently with all segments of our membership. These cost-savings items are the result of a longstanding contingency planning exercise by the USEA management team and are being implemented with the full involvement and support of all staff and the Board of Governors."