NEW SITE, OLD TOPIC AT AHSA BOARD MEETING
The American Horse Shows Association’s new headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington provided a grand new site for the midyear meeting of their Board of Directors on June 8. But the most important topic was the same as it has been for the last two years-he relationship between the AHSA and the U.S. Equestrian Team.
President Alan Balch updated the directors on developments since the January board meeting, which he considers to have been disturbingly few. Balch reported that on Jan. 15, at the invitation of Paul George of the U.S. Olympic Committee, he, Jim Wofford, Linda Allen and Elisabeth Williams had met with USET Chairman and President Finn M.W. Caspersen and Vice President Jane F. Clark.
Balch said that George told the USET representatives at that meeting to return the bylaws they’d summarily changed in November to approximately their former state “yesterday.”
“It is now far from ‘yesterday,’ and the USET has not acted,” said Balch forcefully. He added that the USET officers had told their board members that the USOC required the changes and that their funding would be threatened if they didn’t act quickly.
“Neither of those statements has been borne out in fact or by USOC action,” said Balch.
Balch reminded the board that two main areas concern the AHSA officers: the introduction of athlete grievance procedures that are the sole responsibility of the national governing body (the AHSA) under the USOC constitution, and a list of missions and pur-poses reserved for the NGB, including sanctioning competitions and certifying the eligibility of individuals and teams to compete abroad.
“The USOC has set four deadlines [since the last AHSA board meeting], each of which has come and gone without the USET making any sub-stantive changes, at least in our view,” he said.
Armand Leone, the USET’s secretary, responded for the USET, with Clark seated beside him. “For whatever reason, there was a sense of urgency last November” by some athletes that led to the peremptory changes, said Leone. “While it has not been fast enough, there has been some progress made” since then.
Leone then described the progress he sees. “The grievance procedure has been almost completely returned to the AHSA, and as for the missions, the AHSA is expressly recognized as being the NGB,” he said.
Leone suggested that the long and difficult negotiations are the result of two strong organizations creating a road map for the future. “It’s inevitable that there are some boundary disputes to be worked out, but I am hopeful that within a few weeks these last points can be concluded and result in an agreement that will go on for years, maybe even decades,” he said.
The AHSA board also affirmed Eric Straus, the AHSA’s former executive director, as the USET director to replace D.D. Matz, who resigned as USET president in February.
Another subject that some directors worried would cause fireworks simply fizzled away. A group of directors had quietly questioned Kevin Carlon’s appointment as acting executive director on March 1, while a larger group continued to question the wisdom and finances of the AHSA’s move from New York City to Lexington.
But Carlon diffused both criticisms with a lengthy and open defense of his staff’s transition to new jobs in a new office, with a new computer system, in the last six months, as well as his own employment history. Carlon noted that six of the staff’s eight department heads are new, but they have processed 11,000 more membership applications than they had at this time in 1998.
Carlon made his presentation first before the National Hunter/Jumper Council on Monday night and then before the board on Tuesday afternoon. NHJC member Joe Dotoli told the board, “Kevin had more than adequate answers to our questions. I found Kevin’s responses and ability to stay cool in that environment to be very encouraging.”
And the board affirmed his appointment with no dissenting votes.
USET ANNOUNCES QUALIFIERS FOR DRESSAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Cherri Reiber of Toronto, Ontario, and Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, have topped the qualifiers for the State Line Tack/USET National Grand Prix and Intermediaire I Championships, re-spectively. Both championships will be held during the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions in Gladstone, N.J., on June 24-27.
The Grand Prix qualifiers are: 1. G Tudor/Reiber (66.6335%); 2. Fidelia/Kathleen Raine (66.6330%); 3. Gino/Lynda Alicki-Gilchrist (66.20%); 4. Chantor De Bonce/Barbara Silverman (65.56%); 5. Pikant/Shelly Francis (65.40%); 6. Dotato/Michael Barisone (65.36%); 7. Beaurivage/Debbie Mc-Donald (65.26%); 8. Hannabal/Leslie Webb (64.62%); 9. Etienne/Christine Traurig (64.58%); 10. DaLue/Mary Anne Grant (63.33%); 11. Wotan/Barbara Perkins (62.93%); 12. Peter The Great/Sharon McCusker (62.16%).
The Intermediaire I qualifiers are: 1. Brentina/McDonald (70.12%); 2. Wonder-ful Walden/Betsy Rebar-Sell (68.89%); 3. Word Perfect/McDonald (68.36%); 4. Impressario/Alicki-Gilchrist (67.34%); 5. Jazzman/Donna Richardson (67.15%); 6. Dinglemanse-Etius/Nancy Smith (67.07%); 7. Jellowa/Susan Jaccoma (67.00%); 8. Sorcerer/Belinda Nairn-Wertman (66.96%); 9. Ascol/Kathleen Raine (66.71%); 10. Ricardo/Jan Ebeling (66.55%); 11. Ijsselmeer/Chelsey Sibley (66.38%); 12. Advantige/Anneliese Vogt-Harber (66.19%); 13. Trond/Linda Oliver (65.10%).
The Intermediaire I championships are the final selection trials for the Pan Am Games.
Talk Show, a successful green conformation hunter, was humanely destroyed after breaking her shoulder in the schooling area at the Devon Horse Show (Pa.) on June 2. She was 5. Talk Show, by Northern Raja, was bred and owned by J.W.Y. Martin Jr., of Glyndon, Md.
“It was just one of those bizarre things,” said Tommy Serio, who rode the brown mare. “We did a typical warm-up with her, which was hardly anything. We decided to jump a vertical for the last jump. She jumped a beautiful jump, and she landed and took a step and limped away. I don’t know what happened. There was no stumble; there was no blunder.”
Talk Show was transported by horse ambulance to the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, where veterinarians diagnosed an extensive fracture of the scapula.
“The hardest thing about it is that everybody has worked so hard with her, everybody that had anything to do with her, because she was a harder filly to start,” Serio said. “As a young horse, she was difficult. She was quiet, but she had a little bit of a buck to her. Every once in a while, for no reason, I’d take the flyer, which made us a little bit more determined with her.
“And when she started to turn around and her attitude turned around, she started to become a team player, so everybody felt like, ‘Wow, we finally got this one, what a great horse this one’s going to be.’ So when something like this happened, it was really kind of heartbreaking for everybody.”
Serio sincerely appreciated all the help and support extended by the staff at Devon. “The management there and the people that handled it were great. There was a vet there within three minutes,” Serio said.
Despite not showing in the last class, Talk Show ended up as reserve green conformation hunter champion at Devon. “She won the last class she was ever in,” said Serio, referring to the second class on Tuesday. “She started out looking like she was going to be a winner and she ended up as a winner and that’s the way we’re going to remember her.”
VIRGINIA FOXHUNTERS THWART SHOOTING CHALLENGE
Armed with a letter-writing campaign and a diplomatic corps of foxhunting authorities, Virginia foxhunters have saved the foxes from shooting and trapping in the prime northern Virginia hunt country.
In April, new hunting laws were proposed that would allow hunting of foxes with guns and allow trapping in counties previously closed to it. On May 6, the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries unanimously voted to leave the game laws unchanged.
Had the law passed, the shooting of foxes would have been permitted in Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke, Rappahan-nock, Culpeper, Albemarle and Louisa counties. These counties are home to more than a dozen foxhunts. Trapping is currently allowed in Culpeper, Albemarle and Louisa counties.
Dennis Foster, executive director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, credited the reversal to the number of foxhunters who rallied against the proposed law. Randy Waterman, the district director of Virginia Foxhound Club’s Northern District, and Coleman Perrin, director of the Southern District, worked with Foster to mobilize the foxhunters.
At stake was not only foxhunting itself, but also the impact mounted foxhunting has on the local economies. Foster noted that strong support came from the town governments of Middle-burg and Warrenton, which issued referendums to ban the shooting of foxes in their jurisdictions.
The eventual silver lining was the opening of positive dialogue between foxhunting interests, gun hunting interests and the Virginia game board, said Foster. The board, which oversees the hunting and management of wild-life in the state, was surprised by the intensity and passion that foxhunters have toward the fox and their sport.
Carson Quarles, chairman of the game board, told the Loudoun Times-Mirror, “Quite honestly, the board was not aware of the magnitude of [mounted] foxhunting. I can speak for the board when I say we have a greater appreciation of the economic impact of the sport in that area.”
The proposal came from gun hunters, who had seen a large fox population while hunting deer and birds. Through the meetings with foxhunters, the game board and gun hunters learned more about the efforts foxhunters put into encouraging a healthy fox population and preserving open space, and the positive affect these conservation efforts have on all wildlife.
Foster noted this threat to hunting was one that didn’t come from the animal rights groups, but from other hunters. “In the final analysis, the shooters and trappers supported us, and showed union of the sporting groups. This was a good example of how the different hunting groups can work together,” he said.