Letter to USHJA Members from President Mary Babick: Virtual Town Hall & Events

The following letter was released to United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) members from President Mary Babick on July 22. 

Dear Fellow USHJA Members,

I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. This member letter serves both as a request for your time and an update our recent activities.

As a membership organization, members and the needs of our Hunter Jumper community are our top priority. The deeper we go into the pandemic, the more we need our members. I have a request: will you join me on the next USHJA Town Hall? Your voice is important, and you can be heard on August 3 at 3:30pm EST.

We are soliciting your feedback on two topics:

  • USHJA’s fall championships
  • USHJA Annual Meeting

The USHJA Board of Directors has selected September 1 as the date to choose whether we are a go or a no go with each of our fall championships. We have been in close contact with our managers and each of them has provided a plan B in case indoor championships prove unwise.

We are also considering a virtual format for our Annual Meeting. As much as we love to gather in person, this may not prove to be our safest alternative. Going virtual certainly will not have the same feel, but it will allow many more of you to attend and participate in our Annual Meeting activities.

There are several ways for you to have your voice be heard. You may send in questions and opinions prior to the event, ask your question through the Q&A feature during the town hall, or raise your virtual hand so that I can call on you. To send in feedback or questions in advance, click here. Register for the virtual town hall in advance here.

Photo by USHJA.

Here is an update on the USHJA community’s recent activities:

Live horse shows are back. They certainly have a different feel than pre-pandemic shows, but the spirit of cooperation and togetherness is strong. We are a resilient group of people and our desire to compete remains high. People are working hard to wear masks and to stay 6’ away from one another. Self-quarantine has thrown a wrench into the works for many, and the stable areas and golf carts continue to be a challenge, but despite these problems, we are forging forward.

The USHJA has provided a virtual environment for some of our programs. Over the past months, we have offered numerous webinars on a wide range of horsemanship topics. This year’s Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program transitioned to a virtual format, and both the riders and clinicians are doing a great job with the new layout. Our clinics during USEF Pony Finals have moved to the online world. We are pleased to have partnered with DigitalHorseShows.com so that people can compete without leaving their home barn. The virtual environment has allowed us to connect with many more people across the country and has offered access to affordable education to all.

Our community involvement is strong. Even in our time of trouble, the USHJA members are superstars in giving to those who need help. Our current efforts are USHJA Feed Aid and a Helmet Safety campaign. We have rallied around our school horses, and USHJA Feed Aid has provided feed assistance to 170 boarding operations and 2,168 lesson horses.

We are so grateful for our feed partners and to the members who have donated money to feed school horses across the United States. Our next community campaign is for Helmet Safety. We are once again providing matching funds for any donations to support helmet safety research undertaken by the Virginia Tech Helmet Research Lab. Stay tuned for an announcement about how you can help.

We have launched a Diversity Task Force. This is a very dynamic group of people, and I am looking forward to hearing their thoughts about how we can improve our USHJA community through greater inclusion and awareness.

You are an amazing group of people. Please stay safe and take time to be kind. We are all struggling, but we are #USHJAhorsestrong