The USEA Classic Series was formed in response to the shift away from long format events at the uppermost levels of eventing in the early 2000s. Instead, the tradition of the long format event, including the four phases of endurance day, was kept alive for the Preliminary level and below. USEA Classic Series events also include educational activities on topics ranging from horse inspections and steeplechase to horse care and conditioning.
The Modified level was introduced to eventing in 2017 to bridge the gap between the Training and Preliminary levels, a gap that has frequently recognized as being the biggest “jump” between levels. After watching the Modified level grow successfully over the last four years and with the addition of the new CCI* level as the FEI equivalent to the national Modified level, the USEA is very pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Three-Day Event in 2021.
“An experience of a lifetime,” Phyllis Dawson described of her time competing at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. Dawson and her horse Albany II was the highest placed U.S. event rider and finished 10th individually in the Seoul Olympic Games.
Waredaca in Laytonsville, Maryland hosted this year’s only USEA Classic Series Three-Day Event on October 22-25, 2020, offering Training Three-Day and Novice Three-Day divisions. The event drew a total of 45 entries – 18 in the Training Three-Day and 27 in the Novice Three-Day. Both divisions were led wire-to-wire by the ultimate winners – Ema Klugman and RF Redfern in the Training Three-Day and Jamie Leuenberger and Flight of Fancy in the Novice Three-Day.
Born in Paget, Bermuda, Peter Gray became the first international event rider to represent Bermuda in 1980. He competed all over the world, including three Olympic Games, two World Equestrian Games, a Pan American Games, Badminton, Burghley, and the Kentucky Three-Day Event – all before steeplechase and roads and tracks were removed from the upper levels of the sport.
There have been numerous event cancellations this year due to COVID-19, including all but one of the 2020 USEA Classic Series events. The Waredaca Three-Day Event in Laytonsville, Maryland is still set to take place six weeks from now on October 22-25, 2020. This Classic Series event features Preliminary, Training, and Novice Three-Day divisions and will offer competitors the opportunity to experience the four phases of endurance day, two horse inspections, and a week packed with educational content.
Conditioning makes the horse fit and increases his endurance performance with less wear and tear on feet and legs. The idea is to work his heart and lungs in short intervals, let him recover a bit, then work him again. The following schedule for Training level horse provides an introduction for the horse and rider at the lower levels to the principle of interval training.
The United States is one of the few countries to still see steeplechase in the sport of three-day eventing through the USEA Classic Series. By offering phase A through D on endurance day (phase B being steeplechase), a Classic Series event is a true test of physical and mental fitness for both horse and rider. Jim Wofford, a world-renowned expert in conditioning event horses, has a tried and true system that’s suitable for any Classic Series competitor.
In 2019, Doug Payne completed eight CCI*-L events on four different horses, and every time he jumped clear in the show jumping. This fault-free record resulted in a fifth-place finish with Vandiver at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L, a team gold medal and individual fourth-place finish with Starr Witness at the 2019 Pan American Games CCI3*-L, a second-place finish with Baymax at Virginia Horse Trials CCI2*-L, and a win with Starr Witness at Jersey Fresh International CCI3*-L.
In 1993, Stephen Bradley had something to prove. It was the year after the Barcelona Olympic Games where Bradley had two unexpected refusals at the water complex. “It was very disappointing and a huge learning curve for me,” said Bradley. Little did he know, his path to redemption would result in winning the Burghley Horse Trials CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) – a victory so great that only two Americans have achieved: Bruce Davidson Sr. in 1974 and Bradley in 1993.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about the two formats for our sport, Classic and Olympic (short). I am sure many USEA members are scratching their heads right now and asking, “Which format is right for me?” I am not sure how you are going to answer that question, but for me the decision is already made.