USHJ What? USEF, USHJA, and FEI: A Breakdown

At present, various organizations worldwide have either canceled, postponed, suspended, or otherwise modified equestrian competitions due to either recommendations by governing sports organizations or mandates from their countries.  The Nation Media Team is working together to provide rolling updates on these events.

Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography/USEF.

On March 13 2020, the FEI recommended that all competitions be suspended for 30 days (through mid-April).  Shortly thereafter, the USEF issued the same recommendation that competitions be suspended for 30 days. On March 16, the USHJA suspended all shows for 30 days.

These organizations issued similar recommendations and actions, though they are quite different from each other.  Together, they work to govern equestrian sport – though at different levels.  Let’s break these governing bodies down to understand their differences.

The FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) is a service organization committed to providing its members and the greater equestrian community internationally with solid leadership and governance at all levels, while encouraging best practice and horsemanship.  Its mission celebrates the bond between horse and human (think the #twohearts hashtag) and stands to develop equestrian sport globally in a modern, sustainable, and structured manner with equal opportunity and athlete/horse welfare.

For the FEI, think global, all disciplines.

The USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) is the national governing body for equestrian sport in the USA.  It rebranded in 2017 as US Equestrian, though the USEF nametag is still quite commonly used in the industry.  US Equestrian is dedicated to uniting the equestrian community in the USA, honoring achievement, and serving as guardians of equestrian sport.  It is dedicated additionally to pursuing excellence, promoting growth, and maintaining an equal playing field for horses and human athletes.  The organization strives to foster growth at both the newcomer level as well as the internationally competing US Equestrian Team (USET).  It licenses competitions across the country and is committed to assisting with equine welfare during crises and natural disasters – in this regard, working very closely with local and state governments.

For the USEF, think national, all disciplines.

The USHJA (United States Hunter Jumper Association) is the organization of the USA specifically dedicated to unifying and representing hunter and jumper disciplines through education, recognition, and sport programs. Its vision is to increase awareness and participation in hunter/jumper competition and sport through programs and services, such as education, awards, and other competitions.  The USHJA provides representation for hunter/jumpers, advocacy, and regulatory input.

For the USHJA, think national, niche (hunter/jumper specific).

Though it is unclear exactly when athletes will be able to start competing again or participating in group activities at home, it is important to understand that each governing organization serves a vital role in both helping to keep our community united and protecting us during this uncertain time.

For more information about the FEI, click here.

For further information about the USEF (US Equestrian), click here.

For more information about the USHJA, click here.

Stay safe, and be well.