The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena is the annual national championships for every level of the sport of eventing. Each September, hundreds of juniors, adult amateurs, and professionals travel from all across the nation to participate in this prestigious competition, vying for the chance to win a piece of the prize money, the fabulous prizes, and for the chance to be named the best in the nation at their respective levels. It is the only competition of its kind, where the best young riders are competing at the same venue as Olympians. It truly is where "the best of the best compete!" As a spectator you can expect to: see amazing displays of riding skill; shop in some of the most unique equestrian themed shops in the country; and witness some of the cutest, and most beautiful, horses and ponies you have ever seen. If you are new to the sport of eventing visit www.discovereventing.com to learn more.
The USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena from the Spectator's Perspective
After an easy drive from Charlotte, you arrive at the amazing grounds of the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Set in the hills of North Carolina with its well thought-out design and fabulous amenities, you might think “This is the nicest facility I’ve ever seen”, and you’d be right. The Center has some of the most amazing features of any horse center in the world and a host of features aimed at making the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena (AEC) a great experience for competitors, friends, family and spectators.
Arriving at the Center in the morning, you might treat yourself to breakfast at the onsite diner before heading over to the arena to watch some dressage. "What is Dressage?" you might wonder. The quick answer is: "An incredible display of horse and rider working together. Like ballroom dancing, they move through the arena, working seamlessly to perform the required movements.” Make sure you catch the competitors in the Adequan USEA Advanced Gold Cup division. These top riders will go head-to-head all weekend for this national championship title as well as the $40,000 purse.
Be sure to make it back to the Center for the first day of cross-country – the cornerstone phase of eventing. The cross-country phase showcases these athletes’ endurance, bravery and across North Carolina’s beautiful rolling terrain. Horse and rider combinations must complete a course of fixed obstacles with the goal of finishing within the time allowed. You will be amazed was horses soar over the fences and gallop across country – spectators are encouraged to cheer on their favorite pairs! USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
For riders who completed their cross-country course yesterday, this becomes their final day of competition where they take on the show jumping. Unlike the fixed jumps on the cross-country course, show jumps can fall down, which accrues penalty points, and time is also a factor on this course. Riders must navigate carefully through a tricky track, a big effort after the endurance testing cross-country phase the day before.
Show jumping day will be filled with nail-biting finales as riders compete in reverse order of standing. The pressure will be on for the overnight leader as they are the last to go. The champions of each division will find themselves showered in prizes as they lead the group on a victory gallop around the area. This is a true celebration of months and months of hard work.