The Board of Directors had their final meeting of the year in mid-December and the 2021 Handbook has now been published. UHCA has been going strong for twelve years. One of the things we’ve wrestled through the years with is getting folks riding in the divisions where they can be the most competitive. We’ve also had extensive discussions about judging and scoring and how we can improve these aspects of UHCA.
With those issues in mind, we’ve made some fairly significant changes to how the Intermediate, Amateur, and Open divisions will work starting in 2021 and changed the scoring scale from a 10-point scale to a 5-point scale. There are a few other minor changes to the Handbook—if it’s cold outside, you no longer have to ask if you can wear a coat—but most are small revisions made for clarity. As always, changes are highlighted in blue to make them easy to locate.
Regarding the scoring scale, each obstacle and horsemanship will now be scored on a 5-point scale with half points possible. Maximum time points will also be adjusted down to 5 to maintain an equitable emphasis on speed. This change will result is total score being much lower in an effort to close the gap on objectivity and allow our judges to score more consistently.
The Intermediate, Amateur and Open divisions will now be Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 respectively. This new structure allows for mid-season moves to a higher level, if performance warrants it, without penalizing a rider for year-end awards. Level advancement will be based on a horse/rider team on the high impact course, not just the rider.
All three Level divisions will be judged by the same set of judges for an event and the judges will not be aware of which level a horse/rider team is registered for. All riders in the high-impact course will be intermingled and randomly drawn for run order together. Since Colts will be riding along with the Level divisions, their scoresheets will be distinctive to alert the judges to be on the lookout for inappropriate gear.
Level 1 horse/rider teams will be automatically entered into Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Level 2 horse/rider teams will be automatically entered into Level 2 and Level 3. Level 3 horse/rider teams will be entered into Level 3 only. However, each horse/rider team on the high-impact will have just one run.
As an extreme example of how this new structure works, if Level 1 horse/rider team has the highest score of all Level 1-3 competitors, that horse/rider team places first at that event in Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 and collects prizes/paybacks for all three levels. They receive 10 year-end placement points in Level 1 only. If a horse/rider team scores in the top 20% of a higher level in each of their first 3 races, the horse/rider team will be automatically moved to the higher level for the remainder of the season.
There are far more details about how this new structure works in the Handbook, so we encourage you to review it. We will plan to review these changes at the Year-End Awards Banquet and Membership Meeting in February and at the first race of the season if needed, so not to worry if you have questions after reviewing the Handbook. Plus, you can always contact a Board member if you have questions.
Congratulations to Jennifer Clark, Chris Elbe, Susan Kuestersteffen, and Josh Rushing for election to the Board of Directors and to Chris Shaner for the office of President-Elect. 2021 UHCA President, Angie Jones will guide us through a much smoother 2021!
Hopefully we’ll see everyone at the 2020 Awards Banquet on February 13, at the Paola Country Club in Paola, KS. Tickets can be purchased on our website. We wish all of you a promising and fulfilling year in 2021. Cheers to good health, grand adventures and plenty of time in the saddle!