The United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena, are now 100 days away, and will return to the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, North Carolina on Labor Day weekend for its second and final year before moving to the Colorado Horse Park in 2018.
For 13 years, the AEC has offered qualified USEA members of all ages and levels the chance to compete in the only national championship of its kind in the United States. Each year, hundreds of juniors, adult amateurs and professionals travel from across the nation to participate in this prestigious competition, vying for the chance to win a piece of the prize money, an unrivaled number of prizes and to be named the best in the nation at their respective levels.
In 2016, the AEC recorded 665 starters, which stands as the largest event in the history of the United States in terms of competitors. The 2017 edition is set to break all the records as it offers Championship divisions from Beginner Novice through Advanced, Adult Team Championship (ATC) divisions and the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final.
Ryan Wood galloping to an Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion Title at the 2016 AEC. USEA Photo.
Entries for the 2017 AEC open on July 18 and close on August 15. To view the omnibus listing for the Championships, go here. Horses and riders must be registered USEA members across all levels (BN-A) at the time of gaining qualifications. Horses and riders, not necessarily as a combination, must be qualified for the level in accordance with Appendix 3 of the USEF Rules for Eventing and achieve the qualifying result(s) at the level to be entered. The qualification period for Beginner Novice through Intermediate is May 30, 2016 – August 21, 2017.
The TIEC facility has been undergoing a series of development planning and construction after being named the host site of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian™ Games, which will be run from September 11-23, 2018.
Aerial view of the Tryon International Equestrian Center's arenas and derby field. TIEC Photo.
The USEA and TIEC are working together to make the second year of the AEC at Tryon even better than the first. There have been multiple facility upgrades, including more restaurants, better parking and traffic patterns, and of course, developments on the cross-country tracks. The USEA also plans to arrange the event schedule so that there is constant activity occurring in the George H. Morris main stadium during all days of competition, enriching the experience for sponsors, spectators, owners and competitors alike.
Attendees will enjoy unmatched amenities across the rapidly growing elite facility. Spanning 1,600 acres, TIEC provides a world-class equestrian competition setting, offering permanent stabling for up to 1,200 horses and 12 all-weather, all-purpose riding arenas. The facility also offers state-of-the-art lodging on grounds with their one bedroom cabins, three-to-five-bedroom log cabins and housing rentals spread throughout expansive property. Nine on-site restaurants provide a variety of dining options, while an 18-hole golf-course and clay shooting range are also operated by resort management and only minutes away from the main facility.
Spectators can enjoy fabulous amenities at the facility. TIEC Photo.
Last year, AEC competitors were able to try the new cross-country footing technologies developed at the facility, and TIEC and the USEA are confident it will be even better this year, as the roots have had more time to grow and ensure more stable footing.
TIEC has worked with Mirimichi Green and Equestrian Services International (ESI) to incorporate the most advanced nanotechnology on the market, produce a root zone and footing surface on the expansive 12-acre derby field located at the facility, as well as other portions of the cross-country track designed by Captain Mark Phillips. The turf grass seed and sod, produced by TiffTuff Turf, which is used in conjunction with the Mirimichi Green products and ESI footing, has now had more time to stabilize, which should result in safer, more suitable cross-country rides this year.
The glades at the 2016 AEC. USEA Photo.
The plan is to extend some of the upper level cross-country courses at AEC onto the White Oak property across the river, where competitors will get to experience every rider’s fantasy of galloping across a pristine golf course. The property is the former site of an 18-hole golf course, and sits on over a decade-long root grown turf, with natural terrain that has been groomed and maintained to international standards.
The tracks across all levels have been enhanced, and the derby field will be designed with a flow for more galloping room with less fences encumbering the area. More levels will gallop down into the glades this year, which will also help open up the courses for most divisions. Riders across all levels will also find more natural, permanent fixtures on course. Many banks, ditches, coffins and trakehners have been built so that horses and riders can enjoy a natural feeling while galloping across country, no matter the level.
Lauren Kieffer competing a young horse at the 2016 AEC. USEA Photo.
The 2017 Championships are expected to be the largest and most prestigious AEC to date with the new enhancements to the elite facility. We are looking forward to cheering you and your horses on at the Tryon International Equestrian Center on Labor Day weekend, and invite you all to come join us for this exciting landmark event. We hope to see you there!
The USEA would like to thank all of the generous AEC Sponsors!