With a former member of its board of directors, Murray Kessler, now the president of the U.S. Equestrian Federation, the North American Riders Group (NARG) has decided to use the funds it raises in what it considers to be a more useful manner.
As a part of its new program to continue its work to improve conditions for equestrian competitors, NARG did not hold an annual meeting last year, is not holding an annual meeting this year, nor is it producing the NARG Top 25 horse shows list, as it did for many years.
The 25 top shows list made a large number of shows upgrade their standards, such as footing, prize money, fences, courses and stabling in hopes of either moving up on the list or making the list.
"We are no longer producing the NARG Top 25 nor distributing the NARG Grant," said NARG Director Jennifer Markee. "We still work with the USEF and the IJRC to advocate for ahletes but more behind the scenes. The cost of the NARG Top 25 and the Annual Meeting was substantial, and the time spent fundraising to enable us to do those things seemed less effective."
"We also have new officers in place," said Markee. "When Murray Kessler moved to USEF President we felt we had an advocate in place as well."
Mark Leone of Franklin Lakes, N.J., was elected president last May, and Canadian Tiffany foster was elected vice president.
NARG WAS begun by Chris Kappler in 2009, and he and McLain Ward served as president and vice president until last May, when Leone and Foster were elected, and Kappler moved to the position of treasure.
Serving on the board of directors are Mark Leone, Tiffany Foster, Chris Kappler, Kent Farrington, Jimmy Torano, Will Simpson, Enrique Gonzalez, Mark Samuel. Missy Clark and Lauren Hough.
Those names are among the most successful and influential riders and trainers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The mission of the North American Riders Group is to unite professional riders, trainers and owners to use their collective strength to make show jumping in North America the best in the world.
NARG has a press release that gives the backgrounds of Leone and Foster.
"Leone was elected to the NARG board in 2016, and he currently serves as Zone 2 Jumper Chairman and sits on several committees at the USEF.
He has served as "athlete representative" to the United States Olympic Committee and was a member of the 2010 World Equestrian Games Show Jumping Selection Committee.
His diverse skills are crucial to his position as president of NARG.
Leone will keep the organization focused, and he looks forward to building on the strong foundation established over the last seven years.
His passion, commitment and a lifetime of dedication to the sport is compelling, and his amicable nature supports team building and communication.
He commands a deep understanding of the sport from the local to the Olympic level.
We are privileged and grateful for the expertise and excitement Mark brings to the NARG leadership as the organization moves forward and develops new initiatives and goals.
We are also pleased to announce that Tiffany Foster will serve alongside Mark as Vice President.
Elected to the NARG board in 2015, Foster has shown incredible insight and delivered well-informed solutions.
As a top Canadian athlete that competes around the world, she will be NARG's boots on the ground.
Foster is one of three NARG board members currently serving on the International Jumping Riders Club communicating NARG interests to the FEI.
We are grateful to have Canadian representatives actively participating in our organization."
IN 2009, Chris Kappler took a concept that riders and trainers had contemplated and brought it to life by creating NARG.
Serving as President, he brought the group from a fledgling start-up to a dynamic and influential success.
He organized a board that included nine Olympic athletes and seven Olympic medal winners.
He compelled riders, owners and trainers to join NARG and kept the group focused on the significant tasks.
NARG initiatives have significantly improved North American shows and compelled the governing bodies in all three countries to better serve the needs of show jumping equestrians.
Former board members include former vice president, Mclain Ward, who served alongside Kappler for six years.
He has determination, passion and a strident commitment to the sport, and he has a clear vision and a strong attitude about the direction of top sport, plus he is incredibly articulate and has an educated opinion about the issues.
To aid NARG in governance, the board felt it needed the experience of a successful businessman, and Kesssler was the perfect fit for that role.
He understood NARG's perspective and developed the board's ideas into actionable plans could be execute in a targeted and strategic manner.
Beezie Madden served as secretary for six years, and she committed endless hours of behind the scenes work.
Andre Dignelli was another excellent addition to our board with his connection to younger athletes.
NARG is a strong advocacy group working for the sport of show jumping.
There continues to be strong interest in the NARG Top 25, and one of the goals of NARG is to further develop that initiative by focusing on governance, fair play, horse welfare and above all horsemanship.