On October 18, two days after she moved into her leadership role with WE United, President Barbara Price received an email from the Executive Board of the Confederation for Working Equitation.
The email included a two page proposal from the Confederation in which the Confederation invited WE United to become a Group Member Organization of the Confederation, with two seats on the Confederation’s Executive Board (subject to approval of the current members of the Confederation’s Executive Board). The proposal also outlined a series of requirements, including requesting a response by November 15.
Within 24 hours of receiving the proposal, President Price replied to the Confederation Executive Director, letting her know that the proposal had been received, informing her it was not something she alone could consider, matters of this import needed the approval of the WE United Board of Directors. At that time, the WE United Board was awaiting the appointment of 4 members. In the interim, she shared a possible different approach for the two organizations to work together that may be less disruptive to the thriving WE United structure.
The Confederation’s Executive Director indicated that the Confederation was not interested in considering that alternate proposal. Upon the installation of a full board of directors, President Price shared the Confederation’s proposal, along with her ideas on a different approach to collaboration, with the WE United Board.
The WE United Board of Directors dedicated the first meeting of the full 2018 Board to discussing the Confederation’s proposal. After a great deal of discussion, the WE United Board of Directors voted unanimously to respectfully decline the proposal from the Confederation for Working Equitation to become a Group Member of that organization.
The Board made this decision because it is the Board’s belief that the proposal is not in the best interest of our organization or membership. Specifically, the following significant objections are noted:
1) The governing structure of the Confederation is incompatible with the democratic and representative principles WE United has established and which are expected by our members. We cannot in good faith put our membership under a non-elected Executive Committee making decisions without member accountability.
2) The proposal would limit WE United’s choice of representatives on the Confederation Executive Board to the discretion of the existing Confederation Executive Board, effectively stripping WE United of our own representation.
3) The proposal would end the highly-regarded WE United Judge and TD credentialing programs.
4) The proposal states that all National awards programs would shift to management by the Confederation. WE United has led the way in developing and promoting National achievement awards for the sport. We have recognized National Top Ten, Lifetime Rider Medals, and High Point Breed Awards since our inception in 2016. In 2017, we added recognition for Regional Top Ten. These are very popular programs—147 awards were made in 2016; 332 will be made in 2017. All WE United members are automatically enrolled in these National Awards Programs as part of their $25 annual membership fee. The proposal would require members to pay an additional $60 for individual membership in the Confederation if they want to continue to participate in a National Awards Program. Thus, significantly diluting our awards program and resulting in increased costs to our members.
The WE United Board of Directors remains open to working with Confederation leadership to find a mutually acceptable way the involved organizations can work together to enhance and expand the sport of Working Equitation in the United States.
One proposal that the WE United Board would like to explore is a formal agreement to collaborate in key areas such as International Relations, the US Protocol with WAWE, the US National Team, the U.S Rulebook, and the U.S. Officials Certification Programs, while allowing both groups to remain autonomous. That proposal is presented below.