Aug 25, 2020

Facts and Figures from Every AEC

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Leslie Law is one of three to win the Advanced division at the USEA American Eventing Championships on a score in the 20s. USEA/Hannah Bennett Photo.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has hosted the USEA American Eventing Championships every year since 2004. This year, the USEA and Equestrian Events, Inc (EEI) made the extremely difficult decision to cancel the 2020 edition of the AEC due to the health and safety concerns of holding a national championship during the COVID-19 pandemic. In honor of what would have been the first day of competition at the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds, let’s look back at every AEC starting from the beginning.

In the history of the AEC, only one rider, Ashley Stout, has finished with a score in the teens. Three riders - Leslie Law, Becky Holder, and Tamra Smith - have won the Advanced division with a finishing score in the 20s. Only one division has had 89 starters, the most starters out of any other division, and one AEC holds the record for being the largest event in North American history.

Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, North Carolina was the first home of the AEC from 2004-2006. USEA Photo.

2004

  • Location: Raeford, N.C.
  • Venue: Carolina Horse Park
  • Starters: 413
  • Biggest division: Open Training with 89 starters
  • Lowest score: Karen O’Connor and A Phar Cry in the Training Horse division with a 26.75

2005

  • Location: Raeford, N.C.
  • Venue: Carolina Horse Park
  • Starters: 391
  • Biggest division: Open Training with 66 starters
  • Lowest score: Susan M. Mossner and Satin Dust in the Open Novice division with a 23.0

2006

  • Location: Raeford, N.C.
  • Venue: Carolina Horse Park
  • Starters: 496
  • Biggest division: Open Novice with 72 starters
  • Lowest score: Mary McKeon and IdleHour McHenry in the Open Beginner Novice division with a 24.8

*2006 was the first year Beginner Novice was offered at the AEC

The USEA American Eventing Championships took place at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois from 2007-2009. USEA Photo.

2007

  • Location: Wayne, Ill.
  • Venue: Lamplight Equestrian Center
  • Starters: 518
  • Biggest division: Open Beginner Novice with 75 starters
  • Lowest score: Emily Beshear and Phinneus in the Novice Horse division with a 22.6

*2007 was the first year the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships were held in conjunction with the AEC. The YEH Championships were held in conjunction with the AEC in 2007 and 2008.

2008

  • Location: Wayne, Ill.
  • Venue: Lamplight Equestrian Center
  • Starters: 386
  • Biggest division: Junior Beginner Novice and Junior Novice, both with 42 starters
  • Lowest score: Erin Miller and The Tempest in the Novice Amateur division with a 21.1

2009

  • Location: Wayne, Ill.
  • Venue: Lamplight Equestrian Center
  • Starters: 386
  • Biggest division: Junior Beginner Novice with 59 starters
  • Lowest score: Tracey Corey and Super Nova in the Training Amateur division with a 24.7
Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Georgia was the host of the AEC from 2010-2012. USEA Photo.

2010

  • Location: Fairburn, Ga.
  • Venue: Chattahoochee Hills
  • Starters: 647
  • Biggest division: Junior Beginner Novice with 65 starters
  • Lowest score: Doug Payne and Crown Talisman in the Preliminary Horse division with a 24.2

2011

  • Location: Fairburn, Ga.
  • Venue: Chattahoochee Hills
  • Starters: 467
  • Biggest division: Junior Beginner Novice with 67 starters
  • Lowest score: Lauren Nicholson (née Kieffer) and Czechmate in the Training Horse division with a 25.0
Becky Holder and Courageous Comet at the 2012 AEC. USEA/Hannah Bennett Photo.

2012

  • Location: Fairburn, Ga.
  • Venue: Chattahoochee Hills
  • Starters: 566
  • Biggest division: Junior Beginner Novice with 81 starters
  • Lowest score: Logan Elliott and Cady O’Daly Michael in the Novice Amateur division with a 21.5

*In 2012, Becky Holder and Courageous Comet made AEC history as they set the record for the lowest finishing score in the Advanced Championship with a 27.7.

Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas hosted the AEC from 2013-2015. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

2013

  • Location: Tyler, Texas
  • Venue: Texas Rose Horse Park
  • Starters: 408
  • Biggest division: Junior Novice and Novice Amateur, both with 41 starters
  • Lowest score: Hannah Smitherman and Buster Brown in the Beginner Novice Amateur division with a 22.9

*2013 was the first year the AEC offered both a Junior Beginner Novice division and a Junior Beginner Novice Under 14 division.

2014

  • Location: Tyler, Texas
  • Venue: Texas Rose Horse Park
  • Starters: 396
  • Biggest division: Junior Training with 35 starters
  • Lowest score: Erin Pullen and Strider Can Fly in the Beginner Novice Horse division with a 20.0

*2014 was the first year the USEA Adult Team Championships was hosted during the AEC.

2015

  • Location: Tyler, Texas
  • Venue: Texas Rose Horse Park
  • Starters: 340
  • Biggest division: Beginner Novice Amateur with 34 starters
  • Lowest score: Tamra Smith and Favian in the Novice Horse division with a 21.5

*In 2015, there were three riders that won two different divisions: Tamra Smith, Heather Morris, and Arden Stephens.

The Tryon International Equestrian Center hosted the AEC in 2016 and 2017. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

2016

  • Location: Mill Spring, N.C.
  • Venue: Tryon International Equestrian Center
  • Starters: 666
  • Biggest division: Training Amateur with 63 starters
  • Lowest score: Julia McElligott and Ricky in the Junior Beginner Novice division A and Courtney Cooper and Tender Bravissimo in the Training Horse division, both with a 22.5
  • There were 37 states represented
  • The most horses ridden by one rider: 7 (Buck Davidson and Ryan Wood rode seven horses each)
  • The oldest horse that competed was 28 years old (Hercules V ridden by Elizabeth Fettig in the Junior Beginner Novice Under 14 division)
  • The tallest horse was 18.2 hands (Zues ridden by Michele Clark in the Master Training Amateur division)
  • The youngest rider was 9 years old (Slater Boos in the Junior Novice division)
  • The shortest horse was 13.1 hands (Jasper ridden by Delaney O’Neil in the Junior Novice division)

*In 2016, Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous made AEC history as they set the record for the lowest finishing score in the Intermediate Championship with a 22.7.

Ashley Stout and Deo Volente during the awards ceremony at the 2017 AEC. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

    2017

    • Location: Mill Spring, N.C.
    • Venue: Tryon International Equestrian Center
    • Starters: 753
    • Biggest division: Junior Novice with 58 starters
    • Lowest score: Ashley Stout and Deo Volente in the Junior Beginner Novice Under 14 division with a 19.8
    • There were 38 states represented
    • The most horses ridden by one rider: 7 (Jennie Brannigan rode seven horses across four different levels)
    • The oldest horse that competed was 23 years old (Olivia White’s C A Khaptivating ridden by Lauren Meyers in the Junior Beginner Novice division)
    • The tallest horse was 18 hands (Beau Riley ridden by Jeff Leis in the Novice Master Amateur division)
    • The youngest riders were 10 years old (Slater Boos in the Junior Training division and Darcey Dean in the Junior Beginner Novice Under 14 division)
    • The shortest horses were 13.1 hands (Flying Diamond Anticipation, FMF Liesl, and Merrylegs)

    *This was the first and only year in AEC history for a rider to finish with a score in the teens. This record was set by Ashley Stout on Deo Volente. The USEA was deeply saddened by Ashley's passing in 2019. The USEA sends its heartfelt condolences to Ashley's parents, Susan and Craig, family, friends, and connections.

    The 2018 AEC was held at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

    2018

    • Location: Parker, Colo.
    • Venue: Colorado Horse Park
    • Starters: 305
    • Biggest division: Junior Beginner Novice with 31 starters
    • Lowest score: Cami Pease and Vibrant in the Beginner Novice Amateur division with a 24.5
    • There were 29 states represented
    • The most horses ridden by one rider was 5 (Tamra Smith rode five horses across three different levels)
    • The oldest horse that competed was 26 years old (Murrflight, owned and ridden by Faith Redmond in the Beginner Novice Rider division)
    • The oldest rider was 74 years old (Jane Worrall who rode Mystique Knights in the Beginner Novice Amateur division)
    • The youngest rider was 11 years old (Emma Sletten in the Junior Beginner Novice division)
    • The shortest horses were 14 hands (Taylormor Penelope, Master Jockey, and P.S. American Girl)

    *This was the first year and only year so far to offer non-championship 'festival' classes alongside the AEC.

    The 2019 AEC was held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The AEC will return to the Kentucky Horse Park in 2021. KTB Creative Group Photo.

    2019

    • Location: Lexington, Ky.
    • Venue: Kentucky Horse Park
    • Starters: 925
    • Biggest division: Intermediate with 65 starters
    • Lowest score: Carla Jimmerson and Valley Creek Carlin LeBeau in the Beginner Novice Master Senior Amateur division with a 25.1
    • There were 42 states represented
    • The most horses ridden by one rider was 5 (Boyd Martin rode five horses across three different levels)
    • The oldest horse that competed was 24 years old (There were four 24-year-old horses: Hideaway’s Special Delivery, With Perseverance, In My Feelings, and Twilight Moment)
    • There were 229 junior riders and 603 amateur riders that competed
    • The highest pinny number assigned to a rider was 1014

    *With 925 total starters, this was recorded as the biggest event in North American history.

    While the USEA is devastated about the cancellation of the 2020 AEC, the future is bright for 2021. The 2021 AEC is scheduled to take place on August 31 – September 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

    About the USEA American Eventing Championships

    The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) 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 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held August 31-September 5, 2021 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

    The 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 Gold Level Sponsors: Parker Equine Insurance, Standlee Hay; Silver Level Sponsors: Park Equine, Mountain Horse, The Jockey Club; Bronze Level Sponsors: Athletux, Black Petticoat, The Chronicle of the Horse, Devoucoux, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis, Farm House Tack, FITS Riding, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, LandSafe, Parks Tax & Consulting PLLC, Retired Racehorse Project SmartPak; Contributing Level Sponsors: Amazon, Big Ass Fans, GLC Direct, Cross Country App, FarmVet, Georgetown Tourism, GLC Direct, Haygain, John Deere, L.V. Harkness, Santa Cruz Animal Health, WeatherBeeta; Prize Level Sponsors: Active Interest Media, Astrid’s Oil, Dressage TestPro, EQ AM Magazine, FLAIR, Hound & Hare, I Love My Horse, Great British Equinery, Mare Modern Goods, Ride Heels Down, Tack of the Town, Weatherbeeta.

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