Posted February 27, 2001
On Feb. 22, 2001, the United States Equestrian Team (USET) petitioned the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to challenge for official designation as national governing body (NGB) for equestrian sport.

The decision by the American Horse Show Association (AHSA) to strip the USET of the authority to continue its efforts for international equestrian athletes upon the expiration of the Operating Agreement (Sunday, February 25) has forced the USET to file this challenge. Failure to do so would cause a complete collapse of all USET athlete programs. With the World Championship selection trials beginning in September, the best interests of the athletes compel the USET to take this action.

According to USET Chairman and President, Finn M.W. Caspersen, "I have publicly stated that I have always been reluctant to implement this action to solve the NGB question. However given the USET Board vote, the recent circumstances, and after extensive consultation with athletes, trustees, and legal counsel, it is the only option that will ensure the stability, funding and infrastructure that is necessary for our athletes and our international effort now and in the future."

The AHSA submitted a proposal to the USOC's Member and Credentials Committee stating, "if the USET chooses not to become part of USA Equestrian (AHSA Merger Proposal), the new NGB, the AHSA is fully prepared, immediately, to assume all responsibilities for those function currently performed by USET." The AHSA plans to take over the functions performed by the USET for the past 50 years on February 25, 2001. The AHSA currently does not have programs, infrastructure or personnel in place to provide the necessary support athletes require.

The AHSA is not in compliance with the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act and USOC bylaws. The AHSA is the currently titled NGB while the USET is the organization responsible for and practiced in administering the athlete programs for team selection, training, development and support.

Both organizations will be meeting this Saturday before the USOC Membership and Credentials Committee on February 24, 2001 in San Antonio, Texas. The current operating agreement will expire the next day and the ability to timely petition the USOC for a change of NGB status will expire in October 2001.

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