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USA Equestrian


In its Board of Directors meeting held yesterday afternoon by
teleconference, USA Equestrian (formerly American Horse Shows Association),
the national equestrian federation of the United States, again considered
the pending formal challenge against its status as National Governing Body
for the sport commenced by the United States Equestrian Team (USET) in
February. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) held a formal, public,
three-day hearing on the challenge in Austin, Texas, October 13-15. No
ruling by the USOC panel on the challenge has yet been released.

In a meeting attended by most of the organization's 64-member board, and
open to the public and media via Internet webcast, Alan F. Balch, president
of the Federation, summarized the chronology of the USET's challenge. He
repeated the willingness of USA Equestrian's officers to continue mediation
toward a settlement of the conflict, and directed attention to the diagrams
on the Federation's website,
<>, detailing the
proposed solution to the conflict as of October 23, developed jointly by the
mediator and the leadership of both USET and the Federation. He advised
that the USOC may issue its ruling at any time, but that the USOC has
complete discretion as to the timing, and does not face any firm deadline.

In the discussion period that followed, director Washington D. Bishop, who
serves in a seat directly appointed by the USET, moved that Balch and the
Federation withdraw a motion pending in a New Jersey court, to meet the
condition placed on further talks by the USET board on October 24. He
stated his feeling that the sport ought "to regain control of this matter
from the attorneys." Bishop's motion was seconded by Eric L. Straus,
another director appointed to his seat by the USET. Straus advised that the
Federation's board ought "to think outside the box."

As discussion continued, James Wofford, Olympian, former president of USA
Equestrian, and former Vice President of USET, asked Bishop if he would be
willing to accept an amendment to his motion, connecting the proposed
withdrawal of the pending New Jersey legal action to a simultaneous
withdrawal by the USET of its challenge before the USOC. Bishop first
declined to consider the amendment, and later agreed, after it was suggested
both sides should be "thinking outside the box." Bishop then finally
declined to amend his motion after Armand Leone, Jr., president of USET,
indicated he did not approve of the amendment, and Straus implied he, as the
second to the motion, would not agree either. In a voice vote that
followed, Bishop's original motion failed passage by a wide margin.

In other business, the directors received a report from the Federation's
Treasurer, Kathy Knill Meyer, indicating its continuing strong and stable
financial condition. Membership renewals for the 2002 competition year are
currently coming in consistently with previous years, despite the downturn
in the economy and the other uncertainties facing the nation. Several
constitutional amendments and extraordinary rule changes were considered and
adopted, which will be published on the organization's website in the near

The Executive Committee also voted to award the Pegasus Medal of Honor to
Marie C. LaFrenz, Col. James W. Marsh, and Joan Higginson Dunning. The
award recognizes individuals who, "through their dedication to the sport,
have advanced its popularity." They will be honored at the Federation's
annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, in January.

USA Equestrian Inc., as the National Equestrian Federation of the U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines of equestrian competition. As the country's largest multi-breed organization, the Federation has over 77,000 members and recognizes more than 2,800 competitions nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at these shows.

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