Three of America’s top equestrian bodies have reached an agreement to create a joint membership scheme and streamline shared processes.

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) met at Salamander Farm in The Plains, Vermont, last month to discuss ways to make common programmes more effective and reduce duplication. They also looked at the relationship between USEF and the affiliate federations to clarify rights and duties.

The result of this meeting was a “historic understanding,” according to USEF, which sees the three bodies create a joint membership scheme between USEF and each of the affiliates. The scheme, which will start from next year, may have different levels of membership. Horse registration looks set to be shared and may be centralised, with a view of creating one universal registration number across all bodies.

USEF will recognise USDF and USHJA competitions, and data generated from competitions will be shared, although the individual affiliates will retain responsibility for issuing discipline-specific awards. USEF will issue cross-discipline and service awards.

USEF, USDF and USHJA expect this agreement will benefit members, making processes more user-friendly and cost-effective. “The intent of the agreement is to make the membership process much easier and more cost effective for our members and competition managers,” says Maria Partlow, who is Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications at USEF.  “By far, the biggest complaint USEF and the affiliates receive from members is that they currently must have two membership cards and numbers, one from USEF and one from the affiliate, as well as two horse recording numbers, all of which are required on entry forms at the USEF sanctioned shows. This is also a bureaucratic and administrative burden for the competition management because they have to verify two sets of numbers.

“Many of the technical issues have to be worked out but the possible creation of different levels of [joint] membership with varying fees could help reduce some members’ cost.”

The presidents of the three bodies signed the agreement on 26 November and will now look at putting together a contract, which will detail the understanding and identify rights and responsibilities of each party. Officials from USEF, USDF and USHJA will meet in the new year to produce implementation plans for each programme. The United States Eventing Association was also present at the meeting and is considering taking part in the agreement.