While the Horse-Canada.com website (and this blog) were getting a face lift, the PR machine at Equine Canada squeaked out a little bomb of a press release which announced that EC has mended its fences with the hell no provinces and soon all the sheep will be safely back in the fold. Say what? After more than a decade of wrangling that became increasingly public up until the point when divorce papers were officially served – a year ago for the Group of Six and four months ago for BC (I hung my head in shame) – everyone sneaked off to a negotiating back room and solved all the problems. Wow.

Worth pointing out is the date that EC announced the successful laying down of arms: August 2nd, the very same day that Obama and his GOP Nemeses signed on the dotted line and saved America from financial oblivion. Gosh, I hope that’s all these two events have in common. Critics of the US debt ceiling bill say that instead of being a New Deal that found a successful compromise between opposing interests, it’s more of a Raw Deal that leaves everyone unsatisfied. Let’s hope the EC vs. provinces reunification deal is nothing like that. I just had a peek at the document, which is now on the EC site. It’s not too onerous a read at a mere 12 pages, and I think I’ve managed to grasp the main points. Let’s see how it breaks down in terms of points for each side:

1. EC Board to be competency based, not constituency based (in other words provinces don’t get automatic representation on the board). Score one for EC.

2. EC to relax some of its ridiculous and myriad laws of competitions, including allowing EC officials to work at provincially (as opposed to EC)  sanctioned competitions. Score one for the provinces.

3. ‘one member one vote’. Huh? The document suggests this was an issue for the hell no provinces, and yet in all my interviews and explorations I never once heard it mentioned. It gives every member a vote: that’s you and me. I’m not giving any points for this one, since it has no history with the battle to my knowledge. Also not getting any points for each side is the topic of the coaching system. EC and the provinces have to tiptoe very carefully through this one, since it’s an NCCP rule that provincial and national sports organizations must share their roles in administering coaching programs. In other words, EC and the provinces have to hold hands like good little kindergarteners on this one.

4. every member of a PSO must be a member of EC as well, regardless of whether that member is a recreational or competitive member. Score one for EC. No, wait a minute. How much membership dough will EC get from the provinces? 10% of gross membership revenues. Ok time for a little quick and dirty math. I’ll use my home province’s fees to see who really won this round. HCBC has roughly 20,000 members, and an adult membership fee is $50. That’s a million bucks, and 10% of that is 1ook. divide that by the number of members and you get $5, which is exactly the amount HCBC dug its heels in about last winter, when they refused to pay the increased EC membership of $10 per body. I think the point has to go to both sides, since the fee is less than EC wanted initially, but if the document is to be believed, all the provinces have agreed to collect the fee. I give half a point to each, since half marks are now allowed.

There’s a bunch of other gunk in the document, but these items stood out to me as those that probably took up the lion’s share of time for the Joint Steering Committee. So who won? I really hope  we, the members, did.