USDF Convention Report

November 29-December 2 was the 2017 USDF National Convention in Lexington, Kentucky. Chrissie Simpson attended as the GMO delegate for KCDS. 

The meetings for GMO delegates began on Thursday with Regional Meetings. Region 4 Director led the Region 4 meeting. Below are some of the highlights from the Region 4 Meetings on both Thursday and Friday:

  • Region 4 is providing Youth Development Workshops. These are for riders as young as 10 years old. The idea is to create a path to the JR/YR FEI program and provide information to parents and riders. There will be multiple clinics this spring, beginning in January. Nancy Gorton, as Region 4 FEI JR/YR Coordinator, will be the clinician. The informational flyer is here.  The rider application is here
  • The Omaha Equestrian Foundation will host the 2018 International Omaha. 8 Teams of 3 riders will qualify at other shows to compete for the $45,000 Team Dressage Challenge Finals. The Team will be 1 CDI Level Rider, and seniors, juniors, young riders and para-riders. Teams will compete in 2 tests, the technical test and the freestyle. Visit for more information
  • Only one Region had an increase in members, but Region 4 had the smallest decrease in membership
  • As KCDS discussed at a prior meeting, if the JR/YR teams choose to use GoFundMe, they and their donors should be aware that a % of the donation goes to GoFundMe and USDF will NOT issue a tax-exempt donation letter. If donors want the tax deduction letter, they can donate to USDF and earmark the funds for the Region 4 team. During the season, there is a link for donations on the Region 4 website.
  • The list of judges hired for Region 4 shows has been utilized and helped reduce overlapping judges. The list is on the Region 4 Website under Resources - Information for Showrunners
  • There is a formal selection process for choosing the site of the Regional Championships. There is a form available through Region 4 and a committee that makes the recommendation to USDF. If you are interested, please contact Ann Sushko, contact information on Region 4 website.
  • There are now FEI Children's and Pony Divisions
  • Anne Sushko was the lucky winner of the KCDS Basket! 

Chrissie also attended the Judges, L Program and Freestyle Open Forum. Below are the key points from that meeting:

  • The L Program continues to grow in popularity and size and you are allowed to audit the L Program events
  • Dolly Hannon spoke at length about the Freestyles. There will be a new Freestyle score sheet for 4th level and below in 2019. The new score sheets are designed to include clearer guidlines for judges on the artistic score. Riders should also read the score sheets; they will list what is permitted and forbidden. 
  • One of the most common errors in freestyles in performing a transition from an upper level. For example, canter walk transitions are not allowed in Training Level. 
  • Music Failure is also one of the biggest problems. CD players per the rule should be able to play WAV format, which is the older CD format. Sound tests should be held on the day of the ride and riders should attend. Show management should also try to accommodate riders schedules when having sound checks, even if that means having more than one soundcheck. 
  • Riders can have a representative in the sound booth to tell the sound technician to turn the music up, down, or stop or to alert the sound tech if the music skips.
  • If the music skips or stops, the rider should approach the judge and explain what has happened. 
  • The rider can either start over or start from where the music skipped or stopped. If the rider starts over, they will NOT receive a new score for movements already performed.
  • Videos are not allowed to prove inclusion or omission of certain movements. Riders can ask the TD to speak to the Judge. 
  • Freestyles are required to be timed and show management should provide stopwatches to the judges. They are not supposed to use their phones. 
  • The Rule is still that music MUST be on a CD. A show can and per the rule should refuse to play your music on another format. It was acknowledged how out of date this rule is and USDF will consider changing to include more formats. But for now HAVE at least 2 CDs WITH THE SOUND TECH. 
  • USDF is tracking judges scoring and Judges that routinely score horses higher or lower than other judges are being sent letters. There is a big push to keep judges accountable and try to standardize some of the scoring. The problem has especially been noticed at Finals. 
  • The FEI tests beginning this year will NOT have collective marks, other than the Rider box. Show management needs to reprint FEI tests
  • In 2019, there will be some minor changes to some of the USDF National Tests. 

Board of Governors Meeting

  • The Board of Governors Meeting was held on Friday and Saturday
  • It is when delegates from all Regions vote on matters, including the budget, minutes from the prior annual convention, voting on certain board positions and other motions that may come before the delegates
  • The budget was approved and can be viewed here
  • There will also be a new Committee formed to oversee the selection and organizing of National Finals, rather than the current Committee that is more focused on the actual running of the show. The new committee is designed to allow more input from members on why things are they way they are at Nationals