USEF Competition Task Force Discusses Changes Made in the 2023 Hunter/Jumper Competition Guide during USEF Virtual Session

By Tyler Bui

The USEF Competition Task Force discussed the 2023 Hunter/Jumper Competition Guide during their USEF virtual session. Panelists—all members of the USEF Competition Task Force— included USEF President Tom O’Mara, USEF CEO Bill Moroney, Lisa Owens, Britt McCormick and Sissy Wickes.

The USEF Annual Meeting runs January 13-15 in Naples, FL, with in-person events, but the organization is also hosting several virtual sessions via Zoom, with the aim of introducing attendees to “some of the diverse breeds and disciplines that are part of the USEF community.”

“The task force itself came out of what we heard from our members. We got lots of feedback, lots of surveys, and we’ve bucketed them into different piles of concerns that our members have, and really these are the five main areas of concern that we’ve categorized a lot of these things into,” says O’Mara. “So tonight’s webinar, addressing the hunter/jumper competition structure, really connects with these five areas of concern.”

These five concerns are: safety, fairness and enjoyment, accessibility, quality competitions, meaningful recognition, and simplifying the sport. 

Amendments that are currently in effect include: improved mileage exemption process; clarification on prohibition to leasing of competition licenses; required presence of competition management; restrictions on collection of mandatory participation fees; and increased flexibility in penalties for exceeding permitted competition time. 

On December 1, 2021, the following amendments became effective: basic lighting and footing requirements for use in absence of breed or discipline rules; basic food and water requirements for use in absence of breed discipline rules; and enhanced requirements for competitions to report accidents involving individuals that occur on competition grounds. 

The task force also discussed the changes made regarding hunter competition ratings, jumper competition levels, mileage rules, prize money requirements, horse of the year awards, combining and dividing rules for hunter sections, judging and horse entry number requirements, and jogging requirements and competition licensing. 

Some notable changes include:

  • Changes to hunter competition mileage:
    • No mileage between Premier/National and Regional competitions
    • Same mileage between Premier and National competitions
    • 50-mile boundary between Regional competitions nationwide
  • Broadened opportunities for year-end awards and recognition
    • Added Low Children’s Horse & Pony and Low Adult Amateur hunter sections to National & Zone HOTY awards
    • Added USHJA 2’0” through 3’0” hunter sections to National and Zone HOTY awards 

The full list of rule changes can be found on the USEF Rule Book webpage

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