USEF Licensed Officials Year in Review Webinar Covers Improvements, Goals, and Data From 2021-2022

The USEF Licensed Officials Year in Review Webinar covered the roles of licensed officials, the improvements, data, and trends from in 2021, and goals for licensed officials in 2022. Alina Brazzil, Director of Licensed Officials at US Equestrian, led the presentation on Monday, March 21, 2022.

There are three major types of officials: a judge, a steward or technical delegate, and a course designer. All national licensed officials at USEF fall into one of these categories. US Equestrian also assists officials going through the licensing process for FEI. There are three types of officials: ‘r,” or a recorded official, “R,” or a registered official and ‘S,’ a senior official, which only pertains to the eventing and dressage disciplines. 

“Licensed officials give back to the sport and it’s a way to stay involved in the industry,” says Brazzil. “We certainly appreciate everyone that makes horse shows happen by being licensed officials, we couldn’t do it without all of you. We hope others will continue to be interested in giving back to the sport.”

The LOC is the licensed official committee, which consists of 12 volunteer members that serve on three-year terms. The committee reviews topics such as rule changes, LO social media policies, duties, and codes of ethics; the group also provides recommendations on LO applications prior to CEO review. 

Looking back on the past year, there were 2,125 unique licensed officials, 476 FEI licenses, 1,106 certifications, and 1,225 open national applications. Regarding continuing education, there were 64 clinics held, 22 affiliate-hosted clinics, 6 FEI courses, 29 national clinics, and 7 conference call (LMP)/ online education courses.

In 2021, there were a number of FEI promotion courses offered for officials. These courses resulted in 21 new FEI officials from these U.S. courses and a total of 28 new officials from all FEI courses. 

Improvements made in 2021 include the LO Library, which is a tool specifically designed for Licensed Officials that contains important information, announcements, webinars and other educational tools for reference.The GR1033 Schedule Planner Tool was also implemented, allowing officials to plan future officiating schedules while also taking rotation rules into consideration. An additional improvement made in 2021 is the Affiliate Education Dashboard, which provides access to more supporting materials and tools such as attendance submission, digital upload ability, and clinic applications. 

In 2022, a new section was added to the US Equestrian Licensed Officials website page that lists the new and newly promoted LOs which can be filtered by license type. 

“For [the remainder of] 2022, we are looking to establish a grant program to support travel, clinic attendance fees, or somehow help an individual apply for and receive their license,” says Brazzil. “There are a variety of different requirements depending on the license of what may need to be completed like apprenticing, or going to an FEI course in Europe. We’re really trying to be open-ended on what the funds could potentially be used for. 

“At the end of the day, we want to support individuals that are applying for licenses,” she continued. “We’re looking to streamline [the negative evaluation review process] and digitize it a little bit more on our end on the staff side so that we can process those evaluations in a much more efficient manner. We’re also constantly working on putting more information online, so we’re having education based programs get added to our roster of options.” 

Brazzil explained various data charges illustrating locations of officials and competitions, new vs. retired officials, and license usage per year. Her presentation concluded with a Q&A session with participants to address various questions pertaining to licensed officials.