first published in the 2021 Equiery
Area II Honors Packy McGaughan
With the 2020 eventing season coming to a crashing halt last March, the United States Eventing Association’s Area II Chair, Melissa Stubenberg, consulted with the Area II awards committee to come up with a new plan for the 2020 awards program. “We thought we’d have to cancel the whole program for the year,” said Area II Awards Coordinator Holly Covey. Instead, they came up with a new plan.
“Essentially, we took the riders’ ending scores and averaged them,” Covey explained. “We felt this would help those who could not travel to compete or were unable to ride due to barn shutdowns early in the season.” Covey said the new point system wasn’t perfect but the committee felt it was the fairest way to handle the shortened season and encourage people to get back out and compete. “It also eliminated the point chasing – encouraging riders to ride better, rather more often,” she added.
This idea of riding better, not just more often, was a concept at the core of the late Packy McGaughan’s training program. “What we were basically asking was for individual rider excellence in performance – something Packy McGaughan was all about,” Covey said. She then reached out to his mother Judy and asked if they could name the new awards program in his honor to remember his legacy to eventing. “A trophy was not enough in our view – Packy was more than that to us,” Covey added.
Thus, the Area II Patrick McGaughan Memorial Excellence Awards was launched. This past February, the Area II Council voted to continue with the new “best score” system. “No more point chasing, thanks to Packy and his commitment to excellence,” Covey stated.
The USEA has followed suit and starting with the 2021 competition season, will also be implementing a new year-end awards point system that emphasizes quality over quantity. Click here for a full breakdown of the new USEA point system.
MD-TB Eventing Series Makes Adjustments
For 2021, the Maryland Thoroughbred Eventing Series has adjusted its division categories in order to create a more equitable competition. Series coordinators recognized that having riders at Preliminary competing against riders at Beginner Novice did not offer a level playing field. By dividing the competition into levels, competitors have more opportunities to win, further promoting the post-racing careers of Thoroughbreds.
Unrecognized events were added to the series in 2020 with the intent to welcome the lower levels of eventing into the series. For 2021, the rules for the unrecognized events have been streamlined to align them with how competitors were using these unrecognized events.
For more information on these rule changes, please see mdteventing.com.
New Interscholastic Eventing League
In August 2020, the US Eventing Association Board of Governors approved the creation of the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL). The mission of IEL is “to bring together junior riders with a common interest and provide a supportive community through which students can continue to pursue their riding interest.”
The program has already gained in popularity with 13 teams in Area II (which includes Maryland) signing up within the first month! Teams may be associated with a school, barn, trainer or even a group of friends wanting to form their own team. Each team must have a minimum of three riders to register but teams may scramble with other teams as needed at individual events.
Any USEA-recognized event can offer an IEL Team Challenge. Currently there are nine events in Maryland alone hosting these competitions, and the list keeps growing! The IEL competitions are held in conjunction with USEA events and teams register ahead of time for additional team awards.
The USEA hopes this program will increase membership as well as educate and engage riders in 7th through 12th grades. It also becomes a pathway into the USEA’s Intercollegiate Eventing program, which has been running since 2014 for college teams.
For more information on how to join a team and rules for the league, see useventing.com.
New Modified Classic Division
The “Classic Three-Day Event” is a series of events that follow the original “long” format of eventing with dressage, followed by roads and tracks and cross-country, and finishing with show jumping. Previously, the US Eventing Association held a Classic Series for the Novice, Training and Preliminary levels. For 2021, it has added Modified.
The Modified level was first introduced in 2017 to bridge the gap between the Training and Preliminary levels. In 2020, the new CCI* was added to give an FEI equivalent to the national Modified level.
As of press, the only events in the country to officially add this level are the Spokane Sport Horse Farm Fall Horse Trials in Washington and the Waredaca Classic Three-Day Event and Horse Trials here in Maryland. The Waredaca event will be held October 22-24 in Laytonsville.
Details on how to qualify for this event and the specifications for each phase of the Classic can be found on useventing.com.