Having never attended an organizer meeting, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I sat in on this session at the 2020 Area 1 annual meeting. I had visions of organizers fighting tooth and nail for dates and debating every proposed change. I was pleasantly surprised to find a very supportive environment focused on ensuring that all events in Area 1 had dates that were compatible with their farm needs and schedules, and making sure that event organizers understood the various rules and restrictions to prevent conflicts with events in the area as well as neighboring areas.
Sharyn Antico, Area 1’s Organizer Liaison, opened the meeting by sharing changes that USEA has made to the calendar process. The USEF is taking over management of all event licenses and calendar dates, as the USEA is falling in line with other disciplines such as show jumping and dressage that have already made this transition. Sharyn helpfully talked through those changes and explained the mileage rule as well as the need for prompt attention to renewal dates to avoid fines and fees. For anyone interested, the mileage rule seeks to protect established events by limiting new events or new dates for events within a five-week window around the event (two weeks prior, two weeks after.) Current events are grandfathered in, and the mileage rule does not apply for events running Training Level or below. Modified or Prelim events have a 100 mile radius of protection, and Intermediate, Advanced, and FEI-level events have a 200 mile radius. There is a petition process and exemptions can be issued with a fee. This sounds scarier than it is, so don’t panic – the organizers all took it in stride, with a few open questions that will go back to the USEA for clarification.
We then moved on to quickly review the 2020 event schedule, which was set a year ago. There were a few minor scheduling changes, and it was great to see several events running an additional date to make up for lost events. It looks like almost every weekend is now full. Cheers to Area 1 for a strong upcoming season!
2021 was next on the docket. It is considered a roll-forward year – like many of you, I had no idea what that meant. Apparently, due to the way that calendar shifts over time, every event needs to be shifted back a week periodically. This does create a few conflicts, so there were discussions about which events would remain on their roll-forward dates and which would shift forward closer to their original dates. With a few organizers missing from the meeting, the schedule is not completely confirmed but looks to be in great shape. We heard from three new or returning events that all hope to have dates in 2021 – very exciting news and more to come once these have been confirmed!
What became very apparent in this meeting was the dedication and heartfelt desire of every organizer to put on a fantastic event, and the huge amount of time and effort it takes from the volunteer leaders of Area 1 and the event organizers to manage this process. Huge thanks on behalf of eventers everywhere who enjoy participating at these events and for giving us the opportunity to test our bravery all around New England and New York.