May 22, 2018

Get Ready! The 15th Annual AEC is 100 Days Away!

By Kate Lokey - USEA Staff
The 2018 AEC will be held at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. White Fence Equine Photography Photo.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC) are now 100 days away! The AEC will make history as it celebrates its 15th year while moving to the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado in 2018. This will be the third and final year of the three-year AEC term with the Bellissimo family managed properties of the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and the Colorado Horse Park (CHP).

The 2016 AEC at TIEC boasted a record 665 starters, which stood as the largest event in the history of the United States at the time. Then in 2017, the AEC at TIEC reached new heights, accommodating 753 starters, yet again setting the record for the largest eventing competition in United States history.

The 2018 AEC will be run across Labor Day weekend from Thursday, August 30 to Sunday, September 2. Entries open July 17, and the closing date for entries is August 14. Visit the Omnibus listing here.

The First 14 Years

Lamplight Equestrian Center hosted the AEC from 2007-2009. USEA Photo.

In 2004, the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, North Carolina was the home of the AEC for its first three years. Since the AEC historically has three-year terms with each venue, additional locations include Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois (2007-2009), Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Georgia (2010-2012), and the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas (2013-2015). After the past two years at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, the AEC now moves to the Colorado Horse Park in 2018 for its third term with the Bellissimo properties, celebrating 15 years of the AEC. The AEC is contracted to move into its next term in 2019 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

New this Year: ‘Festival’ Classes!

For the last 14 years, the AEC has offered qualified USEA members of all ages and levels the chance to compete in the only national championship of its kind in the United States. Held annually, the best junior, adult amateur, and professional competitors gather to vie for national championship titles at each level from Beginner Novice to Advanced.

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

2018 will now make history by offering for the first time, the inclusion of non-championship ‘festival’ divisions from Beginner Novice through Preliminary level (excluding Modified divisions for both festival classes and AEC). The non-championship festival classes will serve as normal horse trial divisions and do not require that riders have obtained championship qualifications, but will run in conjunction with the AEC at the Colorado Horse Park. The festival classes are being offered to help increase the recognized eventing opportunities in Area IX and encourage those coming from a long distance to bring their full string of horses, whether they’re young or old or qualified for the AEC divisions or not. These classes may also benefit barns who can now bring more students or others who wish to compete at CHP who did not qualify for the AEC this year.

Championships Offered Within the AEC

The Adult Team Championships (ATC) will return to the AEC this year, marking the fifth year of the ATC at the AEC. The ATC is for riders 22 years of age or older, competing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels in the Rider and Amateur divisions at the AEC. Teams may only be composed of riders competing in AEC divisions, and may not pull team members from the non-championship festival classes. Mixed Area teams are allowed and encouraged and the ATC teams will receive cash and prizes from the USEA sponsors.

White Fence Equine Photography Photo.

The Advanced division at the AEC will continue to serve as the $40,000 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final. Competitors must qualify by completing one of the eleven designated Gold Cup qualifying competitions to be eligible for the Final. The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion receives one of the highest payouts in the sport of eventing in the U.S. and earns the prestigious title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion. The Advanced division is also designated as the USEF National Advanced Horse Trials Championship, the winner of which will be presented with the legendary Jack Le Goff Trophy.

Hosting the AEC in Area IX will provide a great opportunity closer to home for west coast based riders and those in the areas surrounding Colorado. The USEA is looking forward to this landmark event amongst the beautiful Rocky Mountains!

Experience the week of excitement at this year’s Championships - regardless of your qualifications! Please click here to see how to qualify for the AEC. For more information, please visit the AEC website.

The USEA would like to thank all of the generous AEC Sponsors!

About 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. This year, the USEA American Eventing Championships will be held August 30-September 2, 2018 at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

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