Years of antagonism officially became history on 1 December, when the US Equestrian Team (USET) and USA Equestrian (USA Eq) joined forces to form the US Equestrian Federation (USEF).
The new organisation combines the USET’s international expertise with USA Eq’s authority over 26 breeds and disciplines that range from Andalusians to hunters and Paso Finos.
“The possibilities are endless,” says Olympic eventing individual gold medallist David O’Connor, the new national governing body’s first president. David put his reputation on the line in January to make the consolidation happen after it was bogged down in legal actions and accusations.
In 2001 USET filed a challenge with the US Olympic Committee to wrest the national governing body (NGB) title from USA Eq, which had historically always held the NGB designation. The USET maintained that it was acting in the “best interests of the athletes”.
Finally, USA Eq president Alan Balch stepped down in favour of David O’Connor, and John Long, formerly of Churchill Downs racetrack, was appointed chief executive.
Now, USET becomes the USET Foundation, in charge of raising money to fund participation in international competition, while USA Eq becomes a trust and will raise money for scholarships and other endeavours. Everything else will come under the USEF’s wing.