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USET Executive Committee Responds to USA Equestrian

Gladstone, NJ—November 11, 2002—The officers and executive committee of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) issue the following statement in response to the November 1 communication from USA Equestrian (USAE):

USA Equestrian, under the direction of its President, Alan Balch, has maintained a policy of continuous communications designed to cloud the issue of governance of equestrian sport.

The funds wasted on mass mailings and overnight charges, as well as the time and effort wasted in creating their misleading letters, press releases and emails, are a misuse of resources at a time when our sport can ill afford it. The USET has tried to steer clear of waging a communications battle with USA Equestrian and adhere to a policy of maintaining our focus on our mission of serving our athletes, while still working with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and USA Equestrian where possible, to resolve the dispute within our sport. However, as has happened periodically over the last couple of years, we are currently faced with a communication from USAE so egregiously misleading that we have no choice but to respond.

Yes, as stated in the recent USAE communication, there is a clear path to harmonious sport governance for equestrian. Where it lies, however, is in the settlement plan approved by the boards of both USA Equestrian and the United States Equestrian Team at their respective January 2002 board meetings. That approved plan provided for adequate protection of the national and international equestrian programs and was the result of many thousands of man-hours and dollars.

After its board approved this plan, USA Equestrian negotiators demanded entirely new terms and walked away from mediation under pretenses, later proved false, that the USET was not financially sound. Despite many thousands of dollars spent by USAE on forensic accountants and examination of USET finances, the fact remains that two independent audits, including one by the USOC, confirmed the integrity of the USET’s financial reporting and that the USET is a financially sound organization. Even in the face of the many false allegations they’ve heard from Alan Balch, USET members remain committed to the support of international equestrian sport. The USET’s performance at this year’s World Equestrian Games is just the latest example of the USET’s strength and expertise in support of international competitive excellence for our American athletes.

If USAE truly desires to resolve this matter, the USET remains prepared to do so along the principles approved by the boards of both organizations. These principles are not pre-conditions, but rather are the fundamental premises upon which a competent national governing body for equestrian can be formed. We do not see how anyone can label as a “pre-condition” the expectation that one should honor previously-agreed upon terms. If USAE is willing to implement the previously board agreed upon plan, the equestrian dispute can be resolved expeditiously. If USAE wishes to renegotiate the whole deal and insists on dictating new terms and conditions, there will be no settlement.

The USET is prepared to address any and all issues concerning equestrian governance before the USOC, before any court and/or before any arbitration panel, and will not be intimidated by USAE’s multi-forum litigation tactics. At the same time, the USET is equally prepared to implement the previously agreed solution on which so much time and money has been spent and which provides the appropriate structure and safeguards for both the international and national programs. The choice is up to USA Equestrian.

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at


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