American Driving Society Signs Licensing Agreement With USEF

Saturday, February 15, 2020
Posted by



ADS President Dan Rosenthal, recently sent a message to all members of the American Driving Society, announcing the recent agreement with the USEF, and moving forward in the best interest of the sport of Driving and Combined Driving for the USA.

I am pleased to tell you that, in keeping with the 46-year history of the ADS and our dedication to leadership and support for Driving in the United States, the ADS Board of Directors has voted to sign a licensing agreement with USEF. This agreement has a few key parts:

1.USEF has been granted a license to use our suite of New 2020 ADS Dressage Tests at their shows and will cease to use the current suite of tests last edited in 2008 after their retirement date of June 30, 2020. The USEF license to use the tests does not change the fact that they are the property of the ADS and that the ADS retains ownership of both the old and the new dressage tests. Like our Rulebook, the tests have been have registered with the National Copyright Office. This agreement means that drivers will have ONE set of new tests to learn and that those tests have been developed by the ADS’ Driven Dressage Committee with support from numerous ADS volunteers.

2. Competition Organizers may once again offer dual-recognized events with designated divisions recognized either by ADS or by USEF. This change ensures that all drivers at all levels of competition can compete at the same show, and goes a long way to eliminate a source of confusion and division in our sport. This change too is in keeping with ADS’ desire to allow organizers and competitors to shape their own events and is consistent with our core belief in inclusiveness.

3.USEF will officially notify the Federation Equestre Internationale (“FEI”) that ADS-Recognized Events are NOT “unsanctioned events” (as defined in the FEI regulations). As a result, American and European FEI officials may officiate at any time at ADS recognized events without concern for potential penalty. FEI competitors may also compete at any time at ADS-Recognized Events without fear of penalty.

4.The ADS Rulebook has had language for a number of years designed to align our Rules and policies with those of the USEF with respect to animal abuse and the use of drugs at competitions. We have also informally endorsed the principles of the U.S. Center for SafeSport and believe strongly in the need for safety for our equines and all of our competitors. With this agreement, ADS will resume the practice of recognizing and enforcing the suspension and ban lists of USEF, FEI, and the U.S. Center for SafeSport regarding human and horse welfare, anti-doping, and horse abuse sanctions. This recognition does not extend to sanctions resulting from failure of USEF members to adhere to administrative or training policies and rules. ADS will use lists furnished to the ADS office by USEF for this purpose and will make those lists of individuals available to all organizers in order for them to ensure that entries are not accepted from individuals who are excluded from competing for these reasons. The ADS will hold a Town Hall Meeting for Organizers to explain in detail the mechanics of complying with this resumption.

Please be clear that your Board of Directors and I are very happy about this outcome. Although ADS no longer has an Affiliate Agreement with USEF, we are delighted that we have found this important set of actions upon which we could agree to agree. We are pleased to be able to provide the USEF with access to our Dressage tests which they may use at competitions and educational events. We worked closely with USEF on this agreement that the ADS Board of Directors views as best for the sport of Driving, for the membership of the ADS, and for our long tradition of leadership of the sport of carriage driving. This agreement was signed February 14, 2020, carries an initial expiration date of June 30, 2021, and is subject to renewal.

Daniel M Rosenthal, ADS President