GMO & safesport question

Our GMO has 8 adult board members and 1 jr board member. We are having the conversation about communication with the Jr member and if all communications via email, phone, text, etc should also include the Jr’s parent.

My thinking is the parent should be cc’d on all communication. Some board members say that since we are a GMO of USDF we really don’t have to adhere to the Safe Sport policies. What say you oh wise COTH members?

I think in today’s day and age it’s a best practice to include parents / guardians on any communication with a minor, even if it not required by an organization. It doesn’t just protect the minor it protects the adults in the situation as well. It can help cut down on miscommunications and if something does go wrong it can be helpful to be able to say that an adult close to the child was aware of what was being said.


Bearx2 Thank you and that was my thoughts as well.


I kind of feel for all sides of this debate.

Can you imagine being the parent of a couple of kids doing things and having to be included in every email communication of a GMO board along with everything else?

My opinion does not mean much because I have no kids.

I think there should no communication with the junior with out other adults (plural if no parent) included. I think a group email between all members of the board, so eight adults and the one junior should be fine with out including the parent.

I think any not full group emails with the junior should include the parent.

Why not have a conversation with the junior and their parent on the topic? Does the board have in-person meetings? Does the parent come to those?

(I do not disagree with what Bearx2 said either, but I just feel like official communications with a large group should be OK.)


I’d ask the people at either USDF or SafeSport.


We do have in-person and zoom meetings once a month. The parent has not been included in some of the recent communications between the president of the GMO and the jr board member. The parent does come to the board meetings and has asked to be included on all correspondence between the jr and other board members.


Atlatl, we are talking with or regional director. So far have not gotten a clear answer back yet.

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Then there is no question here.
The parent wants to be included on everything, include the parent on everything.

The board is making a huge mistake if the parent has asked to be included on everything and has not been included.


Here you go.



I forgot to mention that I believe whomever is saying the above has it absolutely backwards.

Because you are members of USDF you are obligated to adhere to Safe Sport policies, that’s why there is the training requirement.


The parent has asked to be included, which should be enough anyway-- but the rule on this is pretty clear.


Thank you all. You have confirmed my thoughts on the matter. I do appreciate all of your thoughts.


SafeSport is USEF, not USDF. If you are a USDF member only, you do not have to go through SafeSport training - that’s only for USEF members. But I find it hard to believe a GMO leader wouldn’t also be a USEF member and thus they’d be bound by SafeSport. And even if they aren’t it still feels like the spirit of the law if you are participating in equestrian sports to follow the guidelines. I do wonder if there is something in USDF guidelines that indicates USDF only are also bound by SafeSport.


General info:
and link to governance:

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According to that, per the letter of the law, it does not appear that a GMO board member is required to complete SafeSport training simply for being a GMO board member.

But really, if the parent asked for it and it’s a best practice it’s absurd to use letter of the law and I don’t know why the board member wouldn’t adhere to it. It’s pretty easy.


Personally, I think it is a mistake to allow GMO Officers to be exempt.
And I agree re: the parent. For the board of that GMO to think the parent’s request isnt important is … well, foolish!!


How many GMO board members do we think aren’t USEF members?

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You’d probably be amazed at some of the smaller GMOs…

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This!!! If a parent has asked to be included in the correspondences then they should be. One of the issues brought up again and again in child sexual abuse scandals is the need for organizations to be transparent when it comes to interactions with minors. If your organization can’t/ or wouldn’t be transparent in regards to communication with a minor then may want to reconsider having a minor on the board.


I would indeed, Since USDF is the national dressage organization, I assumed that national requirements applied.