The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced Thursday, Sept. 15, that it will form a USEF Hunter & Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation Judging Task Force in the coming weeks to address member feedback regarding judging in the hunter and hunter/jumping seat equitation disciplines, especially at the highest levels.
Over the past several months, numerous members have contacted USEF leadership to express their concerns. Their observations have revealed the need to review several areas, including the level of equestrian experience necessary to judge at each level; the education required to ensure and continuously improve the competency of judges at every level of the sport; the judge’s evaluation process; the need for clarity around the subjective nature of the judging system; and competitor sportsmanship and behaviors toward competition officials.
“As equestrian sport evolves, it is important to regularly evaluate the relevancy of our programs to ensure they are meeting the needs of our sport and expectations of our members. The concerns raised by members indicate that a broad review of the existing programs against the desired environment is necessary,” said USEF President Tom O’Mara. “I look forward to getting some great minds in a room and hash out what we have, what we need, and how to bridge the differences if and where they exist. It’ll take some time, but it will be work well worth doing.”
USEF will be working with the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association throughout the process, including obtaining recommendations on candidates for appointment to the task force.
The task force will be charged with conducting a thorough analysis of the judging education and licensing programs, including engagement with the membership and making recommendations to the president regarding amendments needed to these programs and processes to ensure consistent quality and competency and to better serve the sport and our members.