It’s almost here! The 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) is only eight days away. The 2021 AEC will start on Tuesday, Aug. 31, run through Sunday, Sept. 5, and will be held at the iconic Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. Before you start making the trip to Kentucky, read below for event updates and more details on the championship week.
AEC Entry Information:
Bringing in a record number of entries, the 2021 AEC will be the biggest and best one yet. The closing date for the 2021 AEC was on Tuesday, Aug. 17 and as of Wednesday, Aug. 18 there are over 1,000 entries - marking it as the biggest three-day event in North American history!
Due to the record number of entries, there is currently a waitlist for almost every division but, even with a waitlist, spaces may open up in the coming days due to scratches, qualifications, etc. Each entry is timestamped by when the payment was received. The 2021 AEC Entry Status is available here.
The 2021 AEC calendar listing can be found here.
What to expect for the 2021 AEC:
Teaming up with Equestrian Events, Inc. and Mary Fike, the USEA will bring a professional team to the AEC for a top-notch competition. To bring the championship feel on dressage day, there will be two dressage judges for every dressage test at every level. For cross-country, the Tokyo Olympic course designer, Derek di Grazia has designed all seven cross-country courses. Di Grazia is working closely with Kentucky Three-Day Event course builder Mick Costello to provide pristine footing and beautifully crafted cross-country jumps. For show jumping, the USEA has guaranteed that every rider at the 2021 AEC will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the world’s greatest champions by finishing their weekend in the legendary Rolex Stadium. All warm-up and competition arenas will boast world-class German Geo Textile (GGT) footing.
Every morning, the competition will tentatively start at 7:30 a.m., and the provisional competition schedule is available here.
The 2021 AEC will also feature the $60,000 USEA Adequan Advanced Final with prize money dispersed through 25th place, and the USEA Adult Team Championships (ATC) for adult riders competing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels in the Rider and Amateur divisions at the AEC.
The AEC will be following the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan as well as Kentucky’s state guidelines.
Hundreds and thousands of dollars are up for grabs at this year’s AEC! Every division will be awarded prize money and a fabulous array of prizes. Over $100,000 in prize money will be dispersed from Beginner Novice to Advanced level. The Jockey Club will also award Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) prizes in all AEC divisions that include a cooler, ribbon, and prize money to every T.I.P. Champion and T.I.P. Reserve Champion. Please note that in order to receive a T.I.P. award at the AEC, the Thoroughbred must have a T.I.P. number. Click here to apply for a T.I.P. number.
VIP Hospitality Tent:
The VIP Hospitality tent will be open Tuesday through Sunday with premium seating, and delicious food and drinks. Every day a new breakfast and lunch will be offered and a cash bar will be open until 5:00 p.m.
Get your VIP tickets in advance by clicking here.
AEC Party Schedule:
Luau Welcome Reception | 6:30 p.m. at the KHP Big Barn
Celebrate the 2021 AEC by kicking off the week with a luau-themed welcome party. Bring your best luau-themed attire, whether it be floral shirts, hula skirts, or apparel with palm trees, pineapples, coconuts, or tiki huts. Each horse receives one ticket, and additional tickets may be purchased here.
Adult Rider and Young Rider Party | 6:30 p.m. at The Cove
Adult riders and young riders can come together to celebrate being together at the AEC with drinks, dinner, and the beautiful historical backdrop of The Cove.
AEC Event Officials Party | 6:30 p.m. at The Hall of Champions
This evening function will be open to the 2021 AEC event officials in appreciation of their hard work.
Battle of the Bands Themed Competitors Party | 6:30 p.m. at the VIP Hospitality tent
Dress up as your favorite rock band or pop group on Friday, Sept. 3 with The Battle of the Bands Themed Competitors Party held at the VIP Hospitality tent. The Competitors' party will have drinks, dinner, dancing, fun outfits, and the exciting finale of the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final. Each competitor receives one ticket per number of horses they have entered in the AEC, and additional tickets may be purchased here.
Volunteering at the 2021 AEC:
Get a front-row seat at the AEC by volunteering! Every AEC volunteer will receive a goodie bag which will include exclusive AEC volunteer apparel. In addition to the goodie bags, AEC volunteers will have the opportunity to be featured on the USEA website. After the AEC has concluded, the USEA will feature one special AEC volunteer in an article published on the USEA website and USEA social media. The volunteer will be selected at random but the more days you volunteer, the higher your chances are at getting picked to be featured.
AEC competitors are also urged to volunteer to give back to the sport we all love. Stay an extra day, or work around your ride times and volunteer your morning or afternoon.
Volunteers can sign up here.
The AEC Event College:
The 2021 AEC Event College Presented by LandSafe will take place this year at LandSafe’s educational tent in the AEC Trade Fair. Three topics will be covered at the 2021 AEC Event College: safety, horsemanship, and fitness. Each daily seminar will be interactive, will feature professional speakers like the USEA President Max Corcoran, and will focus on one of the three main topics.
There will also be a special bonus Olympic Q&A session seminar on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 4:30 p.m. a the Landsafe tent and will feature the U.S. Eventing Olympic team made up of Doug Payne, Phillip Dutton, and Boyd Martin.
AEC Trade Fair:
The AEC Trade Fair will have over 30 shops and boutiques that have horse tack, equestrian apparel, food, and the official AEC gear. The AEC Trade Fair will be open every day Tuesday through Sunday, and will be conveniently located close to stabling and the show office. Click here for more details.
AEC Live Stream:
Friends and family can watch championship competitors ride from the comfort of their own homes as the 2021 AEC will be live-streamed. The 2021 AEC live stream will feature all levels of competition and will be done by RNS Video with commentary by Frankie Thieriot Stutes of Athletux.
Need accommodations? Click here for more details.
The USEA looks forward to seeing everyone in Kentucky!
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. In fact, the 2019 AEC garnered over 1,000 entries and took place with 925 starters, now standing as the largest eventing competition in North American history. The 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held August 31 – September 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.
The 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds would not be possible without our wonderful sponsors! The USEA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support: Presenting Sponsor: Nutrena Feeds; Advanced Final Title Sponsor: Adequan; Platinum Level Sponsor: Bates Saddles, Vetoquinol USA Gold Level Sponsors: Parker Equine Insurance, ShowConnect, Smartpak, Standlee Hay; Silver Level Sponsors: Auburn Labs, Park Equine, Mountain Horse, The Jockey Club; Saratoga Horseworks; Bronze Level Sponsors: 70 Degrees, Athletux, Black Petticoat, The Chronicle of the Horse, Devoucoux, Dubarry of Ireland, Equilume, FITS Riding, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, LandSafe Equestrian, Parks Tax & Consulting, Retired Racehorse Project, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis Contributing Level Sponsors: Big Ass Fans, CrossCountry App, FarmVet, GLC Direct, Haygain, John Deere, L.V. Harkness, Santa Cruz Animal Health; Prize Level Sponsors: American Saddlebred Horse Association, Astrid’s Oil, Bluegrass Animal Products, Dressage TestPro, EQuine AMerica Magazine, Flexible Fit Equestrian, Achieve Equine/Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Great British Equinery, Horse & Country, Hound & Hare, I Love My Horse, Mare Modern Goods, Romitelli Riding Boots, Strides for Equality Equestrians, Tack of the Town, VetBlue, Weatherbeeta.
Interested in tapping into the audience of three-day eventing? Consider partnering with the United States Eventing Association (USEA) in 2022! The USEA is a non-profit 501 C (3), which serves as the national association for the Olympic equestrian sport of three-day eventing.
Whether you are a rider preparing for a move-up or a trainer looking to ensure your training program is well-rounded, the soon-to-be released USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is the go-to guide to assist you in navigating key decisions. Lucky enough, attendees of the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first people outside of the those involved in its creation to access this passion project that the ICP Committee has put two years of research and hard work into developing.
In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.