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A message from the ADS Board of Directors re: USEF's recent decision revoking Affiliate status from ADS

Jan 21, 2017 2816 Views 1 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

January 20, 2017

To the Members of The American Driving Society, Inc.

The Board of Directors of The American Driving Society, Inc. (“ADS”) was saddened and dismayed Thursday night when we read the letter we received from William J. Moroney, CEO of US Equestrian(“USE”). The letter announced a precipitous decision taken by the USE Board of Directors in a closed session at their recent meeting in Lexington Kentucky. That decision was to summarily terminate the ADS’s 40-year tenure as the USE Driving Affiliate. We were not allowed an opportunity to attend the secret USE Board meeting or to speak on the matter at any time with the Board, Mr. Moroney or Mr. Kessler (USE President), on this hugely important matter.

The ADS has been the driving affiliate of USE and its several predecessor organizations for more than 40 years. During that time we have worked tirelessly to promote the sport of carriage driving in all of its forms and to ensure the highest standards of sportsmanship and ethical treatment of our equine partners. We are not aware of a single instance of an ADS member being sanctioned for drug or other violations and are proud of the record of competitive and general driving achievement and camaraderie of our members both in the United States and abroad. Indeed, at the recent USE members meeting three members of the ADS family were given major awards by the USE in recognition of their current and long term accomplishments.

The letter from Mr. Moroney states that the ADS and USE had failed to reach agreement on an affiliate agreement and that ADS had requested “exceptions” that the USE Board was not prepared to grant. We were not informed of the decision or indeed of the discussion so we are not absolutely certain we know to what the letter refers.

Some time ago, the then USEF requested that ADS craft a new affiliate agreement and that ADS provide a team to work with USEF in drafting such a document. While we were surprised to learn that no template existed, members of our Board worked many hours to bring that process to a conclusion and most recently provided USE with an outline of the major issues that had been addressed during this process. All members of the negotiating team were in agreement on all of these issues save the licensure of officials who act as judges or technical delegates at ADS only (non-USEF) competitions in Combined and Pleasure Driving. The ADS feels strongly that our unblemished record of more than 40 years of providing this function and substantially all the training for both ADS and USEF officials should continue. The discussion document noted that USEF staff had stated a strong preference for the licensure activity to be the sole purview of the USEF. At no time were any lines drawn or ultimatums given by either party, at any forum, to which we were invited by USEF.

We are baffled that the continuation of a 40-year tradition of service could somehow become an unacceptable exception to some unstated rule. We have questions about the lack of due process in this decision – we have not been informed or provided an opportunity to meet with the Board of the USE or its senior officials. Like you, we have been summarily told that we are no longer the driving affiliate.

It is our plan to ensure, to the best of our ability, that no member of the driving community is disadvantaged by this reckless behavior by the USE. We deeply regret the actions of the USE Board with respect to our status as affiliate and the several steps that they have taken today which will negatively impact our members, our organizers and the sport of driving.

We are proud of the traditions of the ADS and pledge to our members and the driving community at large that we will continue to uphold those traditions and to support the driving community with the same level of service, education, competition organization and other activities as we have for the past 40 years. Many of our current Board members have served ADS and the driving community for ALL those years and are eager to continue that service into the future.

The Board of Directors of The American Driving Society, Inc.

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1 Comment(s)

Pat Cheatham

A good position and letter to members from our Board. Thank you for providing a link to the Chronicle's report although I didn't appreciate USE's implication that ADS wasn't adhering to affiliate responsibilities - don't believe I've ever seen them. I recommend the same letter go to the Chronicle's editors.

Pat Cheatham

Newnan, Georgia

1/21/2017 2:55:15 PM
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Memo from the Governance & Bylaws Committee, September 15, 2018 Proposed Bylaw Changes

Sep 17, 2018 489 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

*Note to members: This proposed bylaws changed will be up for vote by the board at the November 7, 2018 ADS Board Meeting, and if it passes will be ratified by a vote of the members at the ADS Annual Meeting of Members on Dec 1, 2018.

The business of managing the affairs of the ADS has become increasingly complex. The ADS continues to rely, for the most part, on the efforts of volunteers as committee members, officers and directors. The bylaws of the ADS describe the role and title of Vice President but are silent on the issue of having more than one such individual. We believe that it would be useful for the board to be able to designate more than one Vice President. As a result, we are recommending changes in the bylaws of the ADS to specifically allow for the Board of Directors to choose more than one individual to be designated a Vice President. In the event that the board nominates more than one Vice President, one is to be identified as “First Vice President” solely for the purpose of identifying the individual who would act as in the place of the President in circumstances in which the President could not fulfill the responsibilities of that office.
Motion to be put before the ADS Board of Directors - We recommend the following changes be made to the bylaws of the ADS:

Article V. Directors
Section 1.
b) Change …”Vice President” To ‘’’Vice President(s)”
Section 4.
Change “whenever called by the President, Vice President or any two” to “whenever called by the President, Vice President (s), or any two)”
Article VI Officers
Section 1.
change “President, Vice President” to “President, one or more Vice Presidents”)
Section 3.
Vice President The Vice President – change name to Vice President(s) and The Vice President(s) shall
Add “in the event that the Board of Directors appoints more than one Vice President, one of these shall be designated as “First Vice President” for the sole purpose of applying the remainder of this Section.”
In the first sentence, change “The Vice President shall” to “the First Vice President shall”
Change “the Vice President to” “The Vice President(s) shall” in the last two sentences.
Article VII. Executive Committee
Change “the Vice President” to “the Vice Presidents”
Article XII Financial Policies
Section 3.
Bank Drafts
Change “countersigned by the President or Vice President to” “countersigned by the President or Vice President(s)”
ADS members should email comments to: danrosenthal@americandrivingsociety.org
Daniel M Rosenthal
Chair - Governance and Bylaws Committee
The American Driving Society, Inc.

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USEF Presidential Modification

Jul 25, 2018 730 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

July 20, 2018

  Dear Mr. Nicoll:

Thank you for submitting a Request for a Presidential Modification to the application of DC922.4 on behalf of the USEF Driving Sport Committee. A Presidential Modification is granted in cases of substantial, extraordinary circumstances. When measured against that criterion, it has been determined that your Request meets the standard for a Presidential Modification and is, therefore, approved.

As a result of this Presidential Modification, driving carriages at the Preliminary and Intermediate levels will not be subject to the minimum weight requirements outlined in DC922.4 for the remainder of the 2018 competition year.

In reviewing the Request, it was noted that the Driving Sport Committee has approved a rule change which removes the minimum weight requirement of a driving carriage at the Preliminary and Intermediate level. It was also noted that 2018 is the first year in which driving competitions are offering Preliminary and Intermediate levels. This Presidential Modification is effective immediately and will continue through the effective date of the approved rule change – December 1, 2018.
For more information


 William J. Moroney
 USEF Chief Executive Officer

cc:       Murray Kessler, USEF President
            Matthew Fine, USEF Chief Compliance Officer
            Mike Arnold, American Driving Society President
            Danielle Aamodt, USEF Director of Driving


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Safe Sport

Jun 27, 2018 713 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

The ADS and Safe Sport

Safe sport is a right of all athletes, and The American Driving Society, in partnership with USEF, supports this initiative.  Our policy statement is below, along with our position on drug testing.

As the Recognized Affiliate of USEF, the ADS will reciprocate any sanction imposed by USEF for a violation of the Safe Sport or Drugs & Medications policies. 

Driving should be enjoyed by all and safe for all.  Please take a moment to read our policy below.

As the Recognized Affiliate of United States Equestrian (USEF), the ADS supports their policy on Safe Sport, as follows:

There are numerous reasons to engage in equestrian sport at any level, from the beginner to the Olympic athlete. Equestrians share a love for the sport and a personal bond with the horse. People often engage in equestrian sport, whether in the role of an athlete, official, staff member, or other participant because of their love of horses and simply to have fun. In addition, equestrian sport encourages a healthy lifestyle and builds self-confidence. 

Unfortunately, sport can also be a high-risk environment for misconduct. All forms of misconduct are both intolerable and in direct conflict with the United States Equestrian Federation’s Vision Statement: to continue to lead equestrian sport in the United States while ensuring fairness, safety and enjoyment for an ever growing number of people.

There are six primary types of misconduct covered in this Safe Sport Statement for the purpose of athlete protection: 

• Emotional Misconduct 
• Physical Misconduct 
• Sexual Misconduct 
• Bullying 
• Harassment 
• Hazing 

Misconduct may damage an athlete’s psychological well-being.  Athletes who have been mistreated may experience social embarrassment, emotional turmoil, psychological scars, loss of self-esteem, and negatively affected relationships with family and friends. Misconduct often hurts an athlete’s competitive performance and may cause him or her to drop out of sport entirely. 

There is now a national Safe Sport Helpline that you can call 24 hours a day at 866-200-0796.

Any inquiries about the policies contained in this Safe Sport statement should be directed to safesport@usef.org or you can contact one of the following individuals on the Athlete Protection Team: Sonja S. Keating, General Counsel skeating@usef.org | 859 225 2045 Sarah Gilbert sgilbert@usef.org | 859 225 2022 Emily Pratt epratt@usef.org | 859 225 6956

The ADS and Drug Testing

As the Recognized Affiliate of United States Equestrian (USEF), the ADS will support their policy on drug testing as follows:

At USEF licensed competitions where there are ADS competitions held in conjunction with those USEF licensed competitions, all horses shall be subject to drug testing in accordance with USEF rules, which can be viewed through the following link:  https://www.usef.org/compete/resources-forms/rules-regulations/drugs-medications.  The use of drugs to mask pain, impact on equine behavior or enhance results is not compatible with equine welfare or true sportsmanship.

Horses entered in the ADS competition only are not subject to a drug fee.


For further information about Safe Sport, you can click on the link below for an online webinar.   

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Interested in the NEW ADS Safety Vest Rule?

Interested in the NEW ADS Safety Vest Rule?

Check out this article and much more in the May 2018 issue of The Whip

May 9, 2018 1451 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

The new ADS rule reads: To require protective vests that meet applicable domestic or international standards for everyone participating on a carriage during a marathon or any competition that includes marathon-type obstacles starting January 1, 2019.  Junior requirements would be unchanged.

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Introducing ADS’s New Executive Director

Introducing ADS’s New Executive Director

Dec 21, 2017 3571 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

December 20, 2017

Cross Plains, WI. - The American Driving Society, Inc. (ADS) is proud to announce the promotion of Abbie Trexler to the position of Executive Director. Trexler was promoted from inside the organization after an open application and search process.

“Abbie reenergized The Whip in her last year and a half as Editor of ADS publications,” said ADS President Mike Arnold. “We look forward to her enthusiastic leadership and continued excellence.”

Abbie previously held the position of Associate Editor of The Morgan Horse magazine, and trained and bred Morgan horses prior to her work in publishing. She’s based in Pennsylvania where she resides with her husband and two small children.

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Nominations Sought: ADS Board of Directors

It’s time to begin assembling a slate for officers and directors who will serve a two-year term between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020

Dec 12, 2017 1299 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

Nominations Sought: ADS Board of Directors

Pat Cheatham, Chair - ADS Nominating Committee

 It’s time to begin assembling a slate for officers and directors who will serve a two-year term between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020. These slates will be published on July 1, 2018 and will be voted upon during the 2018 Annual Membership and Board of Directors-elect meetings. The membership will elect the board of directors and the elected directors will elect the officers.

I ask all ADS members to think about the tasks and challenges faced by our society and submit names of persons they would like to have as an officer or director. You may send suggestions to

ADSNomCom@americandrivingsociety.org. Please tell us which position you would like to see your candidate serve and why, along with the individual’s e-mail address and phone number. Your submissions will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee and the person suggested may be interviewed. Your suggestions should be submitted no later than April 15, 2018. Any information received by the Nominating Committee will be held in strict confidence.

Members may also nominate someone for the board of directors from the floor during the 2018 Annual Membership Meeting.  Details for nominations from the floor will be published along with the proposed slate of candidates in July.

The ADS Nominating Committee makes every attempt to select individuals with the knowledge and expertise necessary to carry out the duties of the Board for the good of the society and our sport. All nominees must be members in good standing with the ADS. In addition to the regional directors, we work toward a geographical spread so all areas of the country are well represented.

Resources: Current Roster of Officers & Directors:


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2017 ADS Proposed Bylaw Changes

Sep 26, 2017 1467 Views 8 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

Notice to Members
Board of Directors
The American Driving Society, Inc.
Proposed Bylaw Changes 

The American Driving Society, Inc. is incorporated in the State of New York as a Not for Profit Corporation and also holds Federal Tax 501 (c ) 3 status allowing donations to ADS to be tax deductible according to law. 

As a New York Not for Profit Corporation we are required to follow New York’s applicable laws.  New York has made revisions that make it necessary for us to amend our Bylaws in order to comply.
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2017 ADS Proposed Bylaw Changes
Comments can be sent to gbl@americandrivingsociety.org  or simply comment below for all to see.

8 Comment(s)

Mike Arnold

I do not agree with the removal of Robert's Rules. They have been used in full force only when an issue required it and offer many places for relaxation of the process. We could use something like: https://wiki.hacdc.org/index.php/MIBS_Simplified_Rules_of_Coordinated_Consensus_through_Chaos

but that is a bit more informal than I am comfortable with.


9/26/2017 4:53:41 PM
Margaret Grillet

The President, as the presiding officer of the Board of Directors, does have the duty of conducting the meeting in a constructive and orderly manner but should not be required to abide by Robert's Rules. I noticed at the meetings I participated in that compliance with Robert's Rules was often distracting (as very few are familiar with the rules and those that are argue about them), impeded constructive and helpful discussion of the topic, and often resulted in confusion on what was being considered for a vote.

I also believe that the President's term should NOT be perpetual and that it is a very bad practice for an organization like the ADS to not have a term limit. Change is a vital part of the organization and without term limits, change will not happen. Consider modifying the term limit, but do not remove it.

Margaret Grillet

9/27/2017 9:17:45 AM
Jeff Morse

I agree with Margaret on this point: a President's term should not be open ended. But, I also think the literal reading of the current Bylaw wording perhaps means something other than that was intended. My guess is that what was intended was that a president could only serve two consecutive terms before someone else took the position .....and not that once a president served two consecutive terms they could never again be President.. IOW, after two years, there is to be a mandatory break.

9/27/2017 10:34:08 AM
Daniel Rosenthal

Jeff- I think you mean after two terms not two years. I have an issue with not having term limits. My town has two guys who take turns being mayor. Because of our legal structure they are "elected" by the three member town council. Only one member of the council ever gets replaced and the new person loses the vote two to 1. I prefer the two year break to "President for life' for sure but I think term limits that are absolute are a good policy. I was not present when the current bylaws were drafted so have no data on what was meant by the authors.

9/27/2017 2:21:59 PM
Michael Ridge

I do not agree with the removal of Robert's Rules without some replacement. Without some rules, no one knows what is allowed. Can I second a motion only if it is modified in some way? Can I introduce an alternative motion at the same time and have the discussion address both questions? I don't think any organization can make order out of chaos without some rules. Robert's Rules is kind of standard for large corporations, but in a small non-profit it is sometimes better to run meetings to come to a consensus rather than a vote. There could be a simple set of rules that set the order of meetings, the method of announcing a proposal (in writing, on a website, three minute pitch at the Board meeting, etc.).

In the meeting itself, the Chairman enforces civil discussion with ad hoc judgments - one person talks at a time, don't attack the person, stay on the topic,etc.. In this kind of system, the group can do either of the two scenarios I put in the first paragraph.

Googling 'Consensus Building for non-profits' gives you a lot of different systems that could be referenced in the by-laws.

I am agreeing with Margaret Grillet that the Chairman has the responsibility to run an efficient and civil meeting. The Board needs to have some common rules about how the meeting will run and how new ideas can be introduced.

9/27/2017 10:47:32 PM
Jeff Morse

Yes, Dan, sorry I meany 2 terms: " after two TERMS, there is to be a mandatory break." actually, after two consecutive terms.

RE: Roberts Rules.... some system of rules should be maintained. The proposed bylaw language simply abandons any rule system. making it too easy for chaos to ensue and talk about wasting time, how much time would it take to untangle meetings without some formal rules? Perhaps as an alternative to RR, which I get can be a little complicated and arcane, even clumsy, this simple alternative might suffice: http://democraticrules.com/#top For a compareison to RR: http://www.democraticrules.com/pdf/INFORMATION_LEAFLET_2013.pdf

9/28/2017 1:50:26 PM
Merridy Hance

I agree with comments above that term limits should not be removed. This is a volunteer-based organization, in which member engagement should be paramount. Current challenges in filling an executive position do not translate into doing away with term limits. On the contrary, this situation points to the need for even greater member communication, encouragement, and engagement.

Similarly, I agree that Roberts Rules should be maintained as a reasoned way to encourage civil and effective communication and participation with members. Yes, some of the rules may be arcane to some, but that's not to say that we can't educate ourselves in the process. The rules are there to encourage participation, and that's what we're going for.

As a supportive member, I'd be interested in following along as some of these ideas evolve. I see by the website that committees may post their minutes. Please may be the committees be encouraged or required to do this so that we members may have the benefit of being more engaged? I trust the committees to be working in the best interests of the organization, and I trust that the committee members are expert in their assignments; I'd just like to follow their process and reasoning so that when it comes to a BOD or Ex Com meeting in which my representatives' votes are required, everyone can already have been informed and involved.

9/30/2017 6:32:08 PM
Margaret Grillet

As for the election of officers, yes, NY Law provides for either the Members OR the Board to elect officers. Either way is perfectly fine so long as the procedure is followed correctly. If the Board elects the officers, it must be done by the directors who are "duly elected and acting", NOT by the newly elected slate whose term has not yet begun. This a procedural question that is easily handled by either:

1) extending the current officers' terms to the date of the first board meeting of the newly elected Board (historically this is the second or third week in January) where they can be elected by the new sitting board whose term began on Jan 1st, or

2) having the existing board at the annual meeting elect the new officers to begin their terms on January 1st.

The slate of new directors whose terms begin on Jan 1st has no authority to elect officers (or to do anything else) before that date. This procedure and timing issue causes the ADS to essentially have no elected officers from the period of time from January 1 (after the annual meeting) until the date of the first meeting of the newly elected board. If the bylaws are not modified to allow for the members to elect the officers at the annual meeting, then the Policies and Procedures and practice of the board must be updated so that the officers are elected properly.. Its an easy fix, why not do it right?

10/4/2017 7:39:23 AM
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