The 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is two months away! On August 31, eventers at every level from across the country will kick off their Championship week in Kentucky and will be competing against the nation’s best horses and riders. The 2021 AEC will be held on August 31 - September 5 at the iconic Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.
To provide an event unlike any other, the USEA will be teaming up with expert organizers, including the same organizers who run the Kentucky Three-Day Event, Equestrian Events, Inc (EEI), and Mary Fike. The event officials will be the best in the country, with the Olympic course designer Derek di Grazia designing every AEC cross-country course and Bobby Murphy as the show jumping course designer, which will be held again this year in the Rolex Stadium.
From the parties to the prizes, there are several event updates to share below.
VIP Hospitality Tent
From Tuesday through Sunday, there will be an exclusive VIP Hospitality tent at the arena with premium seating and delicious food and drinks. Make sure to stop by the VIP tent for breakfast and/or lunch every day during the times below.
A cash bar will be open until 5:00 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.
AEC Party Information
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.
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
The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Spice Girls, N’Sync, The Backstreet Boys, and more! Come dressed as your favorite boy band or girl band from any decade.
Friday night’s party will be full of entertainment with drinks, dinner, dancing, fun outfits, and the finale of the Advanced Final. Starting at 6:30 p.m., Advanced competitors will show jump in the Rolex Stadium. Following the Advanced Final, you can dance the night away to your favorite songs.
Each horse receives one ticket, and additional tickets may be purchased here.
AEC Divisions, Prizes, and Purse Money:
In partnership with all the generous AEC sponsors, the AEC will offer some of the best prizes all year! The top finishers of every AEC division will take home a bundle of prizes and prize money. Beautiful ribbons and perpetual trophies will also be provided across all levels for Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced.
The $60,000 USEA Adequan Advanced Final is back! In partnership with Adequan, the winner of this division will take home a $30,000 personalized check. The other $30,000 will be distributed through 25th place. Stay tuned for more details on prizes.
For the seventh consecutive year, the USEA Adult Team Championships (ATC) will return to 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. Mixed Area teams are allowed and encouraged, but the ATC teams must attend their awards ceremonies to receive cash and prizes from the USEA ATC sponsors.
Additional Helpful Information:
Friends and family can watch championship competitors ride from the comfort of their own homes as the 2021 AEC will be live-streamed. More details on the live stream will be coming soon.
The AEC Event College presented by LandSafe Equestrian will take place again this year. LandSafe will have an educational tent in the vendor village where they will provide free educational seminars on various topics.
Interested in volunteering? The AEC will have special apparel and items for the volunteers of the AEC. For more information on volunteering, click here.
The AEC will be following the USEF Covid-19 Action Plan as well as Kentucky’s state guidelines.
Competition Schedule and Qualifications:
Every morning, the competition will tentatively start at 7:30 a.m., and every evening from Wednesday - Friday, an evening function will be held for competitors, officials, friends, and family. The provisional competition schedule is available here.
Mark the calendars! The AEC entries will open on Tuesday, July 20, and close on Tuesday, August 17.
**If qualified after the closing date, the USEA recommends you enter before the closing date pending qualifications.
The qualifying period for the 2021 AEC is May 25, 2020 – August 23, 2021. The 2021 AEC qualification criteria was updated after the cancellation of the 2020 AEC. Click here to read the full 2021 AEC qualification criteria.
The organizing team of EEI and Mary Fike have secured room blocks, and there are also camping options. Please visit the AEC accommodations page for more details.
The USEA looks forward to seeing everyone in Kentucky! Stay tuned to the USEA website for more event updates and details.
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.
Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday.
Most couples share a kiss and part ways at 8:00 a.m. as they head off to their own work days, but eventing power couple James and Helen Alliston do it all together. We gave our USEA members the opportunity to submit their questions for this West Coast-based couple, and USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown gets them to share all on many topics: eventing in the U.S. versus the U.K., who is the most competitive of the two, dealing with warmer temperatures, why James likes to drive illegally slow, and so much more!
The Plantation Field International CCI4*-S concluded today with the cross-country phase, and the final standings were nearly a matter of “last one standing.” As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought a torrential downpour to the area, a number of riders decided to opt out: of 39 competitors, only six completed, and 17 withdrew before the start of cross-country.
After 15 years of successfully cultivating and establishing the Future Event Horse (FEH) program for eventing breeders and owners, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) has merged the FEH program with the Young Horse Show Series (YHS). The updated YHS allows for a more comprehensive show series for sport horses in the U.S., as the YHS is now open to young talent with a future in eventing, as well as hunters, jumpers, and dressage.