At yesterday’s Equitation Task Force meeting, there was a collective sigh of relief. On Monday, a rule change proposal was brought forward that would entirely change the USEF Medal Final qualifications. A regional finals format was proposed (like the Maclay format), with the goal being to limit the number of entries at the Medal Final, as well as decrease the number of underqualified riders who can’t get around a national finals-type course. Fortunately, after much open debate, ranting and under-one’s-breath muttering, the Task Force came back with a proposal that was acceptable to the masses.
The biggest protest came from those who believe that the USEF Medal Final shouldn be open to all. If riders who qualify come underprepared, then that’s their problem, but everyone should be allowed to compete. Trying to cull the numbers beforehand makes it too similar to the Maclay, which many riders don’t try to qualify for, due to the regional format.
There were others who felt that the new qualifying point cutoffs catered to a small percentage of riders who can campaign on the winter circuits and throughout the year.
Instead, the proposal being voted upon will change the saturday warm-up to an elimination round, during which riders will jump a simplified course (easier than sunday’s course, but tougher than the original warm-up courses) and everyone who does not have a major fault (a refusal, a trot on course, a stirrup loss, etc.)will move on to Sunday’s rounds. Riders who move on will start with a clean slate. This change will make sunday’s class run faster, will eliminate those who had little chance of getting around on Sunday and will still enable them to have the chance to compete at Harrisburg. I think this is a great way to streamline the class and will still enable to cream to rise to the top at one of our country’s most famed championships.