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LEXINGTON, KY (April 10, 2024)- On March 28, the Kentucky State Fair Board (KSFB), in their monthly board meeting, decided not to reconsider their decision to change the governance of their show in 2024. On March 29, David Beck, president and CEO of Kentucky Venues, confirmed that decision in a letter to ASHBA that you can find HERE and on the ASHBA website under KSF News Hub, where you can find all correspondence related to this matter dating back to September 11, 2023.

Since March 28, the American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association (ASHBA) has worked with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to determine a path where the ASHBA Prize Program classes (National Futurities, National Amateur Futurities, Sweepstakes and Breeders Challenge) could be offered at the Kentucky State Fair (KSF) show. Upon finding a path to hold the classes at the show, Allen Bosworth, president of ASHBA, contacted both David Beck and Mark Lynn, chairman of the KSFB, by telephone to explain that a letter would be forthcoming outlining how the classes could be held at the show in 2024, while not violating ASHBA’s bylaws or affiliate agreement with USEF. That letter from April 3 can be found HERE.

David Beck responded to the April 3 letter yesterday and KSF board member, Edward Bennett, posted the letter to his Facebook page later that evening rejecting the path forward. That letter can be found HERE.

The KSFB has suggested that ASHBA could pursue a “waiver” from USEF to hold the Prize Program classes at their show in 2024. They have referenced section 2.14 of the USEF Affiliate Agreement with ASHBA, which can be found HERE, suggesting that a “waiver” could be obtained. However, the language in 2.14 is not a “waiver”, instead it is a way for another organization, such as the Equine Sports Council (ESC), to apply for an “exemption” from USEF. Below is the specific information on how an “exemption” from USEF can be obtained:

If another national organization wanted to apply to USEF to be affiliated or recognized with one of our Recognized Affiliates under 2.14, an authorized representative of the organization would need to contact the Executive Department of USEF to initiate the process.  The organization would have to agree to many of the same requirements our Recognized Affiliates agree to, including being recognized by the federal government as a 501c tax-exempt organization.  Additionally, this includes Safe Sport requirements for the organization’s non-USEF competitions, governance best practices, promotion of USEF, etc.

Another theory on how ASHBA could obtain a “waiver” from USEF is through the ASHBA Star Show program. ASHBA Star Shows were created in 2019 and modeled after the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Star Show program, for shows that do not want to license with USEF. Shows are required to follow basic requirements, such as following USEF American Saddlebred breed rules and the US Center for Safe Sport banned and suspended list. In exchange for following these basic requirements, shows results will be recorded by ASHBA and earn points for KSF qualifying, CH, High Point Awards, etc.

As in previous years, shows that meet all of the requirements in the ASHBA Horse Show Application, which can be found HERE, including those that associate with ESC, are approved by ASHBA. However, the ASHBA Prize Programs are governed by a different set of rules that require that the classes be held under USEF rules, USEF judging specifications, USEF drug testing and at a licensed USEF show. Further, ASHBA bylaws require that ASHBA follow USEF rules. Thus, the ASHBA Prize Programs cannot be held at an ASHBA Star Show and there is no “waiver” available to do so.

The ASHBA Prize Programs Committee has met in anticipation that the KSFB would not pursue the path that ASHBA and USEF worked on to hold the Prize Program classes at the KSF show in 2024. News will be coming out shortly as we finish our due diligence. We sincerely hoped that the KSFB would pursue the path to hold the classes at the show and still hope they reconsider.

We can assure you that we will have the Prize Program classes in 2024. We are excited about the possibilities to evolve our industry for the better, while honoring our traditions and ensuring the future of our beloved breed.