May 18, 2020

100 Days Until the 2020 AEC

By Kate Lokey - USEA Staff
USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

“We are continuing to monitor the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic and are committed to hosting a safe and healthy competition for all AEC competitors,” said EEI Executive Director Lee Carter. “Along with Mary Fike and the team at the USEA, we will be implementing the appropriate safety measures as recommended by the USEF, CDC, state, and local authorities. At the same time, we are focused on making the 2020 AEC a memorable experience for all our human and equine athletes.”

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) and US Equestrian (USEF) extended the suspension of events due to COVID-19 through May 31, 2020 with the hopes of returning to competition in June. The 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is scheduled to take place 99 days from now, August 25-30 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The USEA, Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), and Mary Fike are working hard to develop best practices moving forward to safely host the Championships, but understand that this year’s AEC will be a new normal.

“We are lucky to have an outstanding organizing team including EEI and Mary Fike and I am incredibly confident in their ability to reduce risk as much as is possible,” said USEA CEO Rob Burk. “We have already begun planning how we can host the AEC while carefully following local, state, CDC, and WHO guidance. We have studied the USEF COVID-19 Licensed Competition Action Plan and are incorporating it, and we are applying the WHO risk assessment tool to better prepare over the next several months. This AEC is going to be one for the record books, and it will have its own unique feel. The entire team is sensitive to the fact that this needs to be no less special than every other AEC while at the same time implementing new cautionary measures related to COVID-19.”

The USEA Board of Governors has requested data from the USEA’s I.T. Department to evaluate all the options to alter qualifying criteria for the AEC in lieu of the current competition shut down. The USEA is looking at how many horses and riders have lost the opportunity to qualify for 2020 in order to develop the best available options.

“Maintaining the safety of the riders and horses remains paramount, followed by ensuring the highest level of competition,” said Burk. “We are analyzing options to maintain a similar size pool of qualified competitors as in previous years. Currently, over 2,200 riders and 2,500 horses are already qualified to compete. The options on the table to alter qualification include, but aren’t limited to, easing placing requirements, allowing those that qualified in 2019 special dispensation, and/or extending the qualifying period earlier in 2019.”

The qualifying period for the 2020 AEC is currently May 27, 2019 - August 18, 2020. Other options are being looked at as well, and the USEA Board of Governors will make these decisions in the coming weeks, and those decisions will be announced to the membership as soon as possible.

The USEA staff continues to be available for our members. Please contact us with any questions. For questions about the USEA’s decisions please contact [email protected]. For specific questions regarding the AEC, please contact [email protected].

For more COVID-19 resources, visit here.

About the USEA American Eventing Championships

The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is the pinnacle of the sport for the national levels. Held annually, the best junior, adult amateur, and professional competitors gather to vie for national championship titles at every level from Beginner Novice to Advanced. This ultimate test of horse and rider draws hundreds of horses and riders from around the country to compete for fabulous prizes, a piece of the substantial prize money, and the chance to be named the National Champion at their respective levels. The 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held August 25-August 30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

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