New President to Pursue More Transparency of US Federation – Part 2 of 2

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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Chrystine Tauber wants the U.S. Equestrian Federation that she will lead for the next four years to use the complete array of communications tools from social media to its streaming video network to provide more transparency of the national governing body and strengthen ties to the dozens of affiliated breeds and disciplines.

The USEF, “born through chaos” nine years ago can take advantage of the “era of technology” to inform and educate its 80,000 members, said Chrystine who takes over as president of the USEF from David O’Connor who headed the organization for eight years.

Commmunications tools enable instant contact to keep members up to date, help in member growth and retention, open up education and information opportunities, she said.

The USEF Network, the streaming video service that loses money, “really has great potential of serving all of our breeds and disciplines and that is one of our biggest challenges of being an umbrella organization.

“We need to work with the different breeds and disciplines to help them promote and develop their interests and goals,” she said.

“We need to be more effective and more efficient at what we do. It’s a great tool for communication and raising the visiblility of our sport as well as attract sponsor dollars. If we can start to have monies available and budget for future so everybody is clear about their pieces of the pie that’s going to lead to a much more harmonious relationship between the breeds and disciplines and everybody feeling like they’re being well served by the federation.”

Chrystine rates transparency as important “to build confidence among our members and our stakeholders.”

Decision-making by USEF committees is secret and committee members are required to sign agreements to insure their silence.

“We need to have a great deal of transparency,” she said, and “if in the past there have been times where it hasn’t we should learn from that and intend to move forward to conduct things in a much more open manner.”

While she supports confidentiality for sensitive issues, “perhaps posting year end reports or periodic updates on topics under review might be a good compromise to counteract the feeling the membership might have that things are done behind closed doors.”

Other issues on her agenda:

–Marketing of horse sports with an industry-wide theme such as the famous “Got Milk” campaign, and how to learn from shows that are successfully marketed that she identified as Wellington, Florida; Spruce Meadows, Canada, and Aachen, Germany.

–Consider ways to adapt the so-called mileage rule that requires specified distances between events, by introducing rating levels of shows. As with other sports where governing leagues control dates, she said, “you can’t just toss it wide open, make it a free for all,” but work with organizers to rationalize competition dates.

–Deal with the issue of nationality of owners and riders in an increasingly global sport highlighted recently by Jane Clark resigning as U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation President when she engaged British Olympic gold medalist Ben Maher to ride some of her horses. It also became a controversy when Chrystine’s predecessor, David O’Connor, was simultaneously coach of the Canadian eventing team.

–Possibly seek from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) a second Nations Cup in jumping–the sole event for the United States is staged during Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival.

–Equalize access and expense payments to competitors for shows on both sides of the Atlantic. In the World Cup, for example, competitors from North America do not receive the same level of expense payments as Europeans are paid when the World Cup Finals are held in North America.