May 24, 2021

Moving Forward: Less Than 100 Days to the AEC!

By Kate Lokey - USEA Staff
USEA/Kim Beaudoin Photo.

After an unfortunate past year with the cancellation of the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds, the AEC is back on schedule this summer! The 2021 USEA AEC will take place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. August 31 – September 5 and will run in accordance with the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan with the USEA’s organizing partners Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI) and Mary Fike.

“We were absolutely gutted to cancel the AEC in 2020, but we are confident that we are moving forward for 2021,” said USEA CEO Rob Burk. “The USEA Board of Governors, the USEA staff, EEI, Mary Fike, our sponsors, and all of our partners are full steam ahead. Over the past year, we have proved that our sport can be conducted in a healthy competition environment. Make your plans and book your travel because this is going to be a championship for the record books!”

After the cancellation of the 2020 AEC, the USEA Board of Governors approved new updates to the qualification criteria for the 2021 AEC. The qualifying period for the 2021 AEC is May 25, 2020 – August 23, 2021. All riders and/or horses who qualified to compete at the 2020 AEC will be automatically qualified for the 2021 AEC, pending completion of one event meeting the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) at the level (or one level higher) within the time period of April 23, 2021 – August 23, 2021. The USEA Board of Governors instilled the additional completion as a safety measure so that horses and riders are not facing a championship level course without competing for over a year. Keep in mind this is only relative to those who qualified for the 2020 AEC. Competitors who did not qualify for the 2020 AEC but are aiming for the 2021 AEC should obtain the standard AEC qualifications within the qualifying period of May 25, 2020 – August 23, 2021. Click here to read the full qualification criteria for the AEC.

The 2021 USEA AEC provisional schedule is now available online and may also be viewed below. Please note this is a provisional schedule and may be subject to change based on entry numbers.

2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds Provisional Schedule

Monday, August 30

8:00 AM Sponsor/Vendor Setup

3:00 PM All Cross-Country Courses open

Tuesday, August 31

7:30 AM Dressage – Intermediate and Preliminary

Wednesday, September 1

7:30 AM Dressage – Advanced, Modified, and Training

7:30 AM Cross-Country – Intermediate and Preliminary

Thursday, September 2

7:30 AM Dressage –Novice

7:30 AM Show Jumping – Intermediate and Preliminary

7:30 AM Cross-Country – Advanced, Modified, and Training

Friday, September 3

7:30 AM Dressage – Beginner Novice

7:30 AM Show Jumping –Advanced, Modified, and Training

7:30 AM Cross-Country –Novice

Saturday, September 4

7:30 AM Show Jumping – Novice

7:30 AM Cross-Country – Beginner Novice

Sunday, September 5

7:30 AM Show Jumping – Beginner Novice

Continuing tradition from 2019, the USEA and organizing group of EEI and Mary Fike have guaranteed that all competitors will show jump in the iconic Rolex Stadium again in 2021. This will be a year to save the date on your calendars, as you won’t want to miss the opportunity to gallop across the sweeping Kentucky Horse Park and put your final hoof prints inside the prestigious Rolex Stadium.

“We are so excited that the 2021 event is just around the corner,” said Lee Carter, Executive Director of Equestrian Events, Inc. “We missed welcoming the eventing community to the Kentucky Horse Park last year. Along with Mary Fike, we are committed to providing an event where riders not only compete for a national championship but leave with unforgettable memories.”

For more important information for competitors at the 2021 AEC, please visit the competitor information page here. The organizing team of EEI and Mary Fike have secured room blocks at the Marriott Griffin Gate, Clarion Hotel, Residence Inn Lexington North, and the Hilton Garden Inn Georgetown. There are also camping options, and to book your accommodations in Lexington, visit the AEC accommodations page here.

Check the list of qualified riders here. Check the list of qualified horses here. For questions about your qualifications, email [email protected].

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 USEA would like to thank presenting sponsor Nutrena Feeds, Advanced Final Title sponsor, Adequan, Platinum level sponsor Bates Saddles, Gold level sponsors Parker Equine Insurance, SmartPak, Standlee Hay, Silver level sponsors Auburn Laboratories, Mountain Horse, Park Equine, The Jockey Club, and Saratoga Horseworks. The USEA would like to thank all other sponsors supporting the 2021 AEC as well.

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If you’re like most riders you’ve probably heard someone say something like, “Your last mistake is your best teacher,” or “if you’re doing everything right you’re doing something wrong because you’re in your comfort zone.” While I agree whole-heartedly with these sentiments, I actually prefer, “Equestrians don’t make mistakes. Mistakes make equestrians.” They make us bolder, braver, and brighter; but only when we develop a positive relationship with our mistakes and respond to them in productive ways.

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