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United States Equestrian Federation

United States Equestrian Federation, Inc
Abbreviation USEF
Motto All Things Equestrian
Formation January 20, 1917
Extinction n/a
Type NGB
Purpose/focus National Governing Body for equestrian sport in the United States
Headquarters Lexington, KY
Region served United States
Membership over 90,000
President David O'Connor
Main organ Board of Directors
Website http://www.usef.org/

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is the national governing body for most equestrian sports in the United States. It began on January 20, 1917 as the Association of American Horse Shows, later changed in 1933 to the American Horse Shows Association (AHSA). In 2001, the organization changed its name to USA Equestrian (USAE) and, in 2003 it merged with the United States Equestrian Team (USET) to form the present organization.

Competitions governed by the USEF include dressage, driving, endurance riding, eventing, hunt seat equitation, hunter, jumper, paralympic, reining, roadster, saddle seat equitation, vaulting, and western riding competition including equitation, western pleasure, reining, trail, and related events.

The organization also governs breed shows held in the United States for the Andalusian, Lusitano, Arabian, half-Arabian, Anglo-Arabian, Connemara, Friesian, Hackney, Morgan, American Saddlebred, National Show Horse, Paso Fino, Shetland, and Welsh breeds.

The USEF keeps track of yearly points, accumulated at individual horse shows throughout the year, and gives awards based on these points at the end of the year. Horse shows governed under the USEF are given an AA, A, B, or C rating. Shows with an AA rating are the most prestigious and often offer the most prize money, whereas shows with a C rating are more local, usually awarding less prize money.

Governing bodies working under the USEF include:

Competitions recognized by the USEF must follow its rules and bylaws.


On January 20, 1917, representatives of some fifty horse shows met in Manhattan under the leadership of Reginald C. Vanderbilt. Their intention was to unite in order to assure clean competition in the show ring. They formed the Association of American Horse Shows, which by its first annual meeting on January 29, 1918 included the organizers of 26 well-known horse shows. The association incorporated in June 1918. Membership grew to list 35 member shows in 1919, and 67 shows by 1924. By the time of Mr. Wanderbilt's death in 1925, the organization had enrolled almost 70 shows as members of the organization.

Mr. Alfred B. Maclay was the next individual elected president. Early in his term, in 1927, the association printed its first set of rules, consisting of a six-page pamphlet. The rules were revised continually and have been added to throughout the history of the association. When Maclay's term ended in 1936, membership included 183 shows.

Maclay was followed by Pierre Lorillard as president. He served a year before Mr. Adrian Van Sinderen was elected. Under Van Sinderen, the office was relocated to 90 Broad Street in Manhattan. By the end of Van Sinderen's tenure in 1960, the rule book had grown to one hundred and sixty-eight pages.

The need for show stewards, representatives of the association to be present at and report on recognized shows, was recognized in the minutes of a 1930 executive committee meeting. It was not until the 1948 rule book that stewards were written in, however, and not until the 1960 rule book that licensing of stewards was in place and recognized in the rules.

In February 1933 the original name, the Association of American Horse Shows, Inc., was changed to the American Horse Shows Association, Inc. At the same meeting, individual members were recognized in addition to show members.

In 1935, a committee reported on their investigation of the transfer of control of the United States' membership in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) membership from the United States Cavalry Association to the AHSA. The transfer of membership took place after the 1936 Summer Olympics, and after that, in the United States, the FEI rules applied only to international military classes. By this time, AHSA membership had grown to include 183 members and shows.

By 1937 the new rule book reflected the growth of the association by dividing the United States into five zones, each with a vice president and a five-member regional committee.

In 1939 the association began publication of the monthly magazine, Horse Show, with an initial circulation of 1,200 copies. By this time there were 187 recognized shows, and 800 individual members.

In 1960 the association began sending licensed stewards to each affiliated show to report and verify that the show was following the association's rules.

In 1999 the association moved from its Manhattan office to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

In 2001 AHSA changed its name to USA Equestrian (USAE) to represent the organization's role more effectively in the United States. At that time, the organization had over 80,000 individual members. There were more than 2,700 member competitions, 100 affiliate organizations, and 26 breeds and disciplines were recognized.

In 2003, USA Equestrian and the United States Equestrian Team (USET) joined together to take on responsibilities as a national governing body and became the United States Equestrian Federation.

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