May 30, 2019

The AEC is 90 Days Away! Preview the Horse Capital of the World

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

For the first time in eventing history, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC) will be held at the iconic Kentucky Horse Park. On Labor Day weekend, August 27 - September 1, eventers from every area will flock to Lexington, Kentucky to take part in the 2019 AEC. Over $100,000 offered in prize money dispersed across all levels, the 2019 AEC will be an event almost as legendary as the grounds beneath it.

The Kentucky Horse Park can be seen from I-75 with horses grazing on Kentucky’s famous bluegrass surrounded by black fence lines. The park encompasses 1,229 acres and has tourist attractions, pristine competition facilities, a 260-site resort campground, and more than 30 offices of national and regional equine organizations and associations, including the United States Equestrian Federation, United States Pony Clubs, Inc., United States Hunter Jumper Association, Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, KWPN-NA (Dutch Warmblood Studbook), EQSportsNet, Equestrian Events, Inc, American Hanoverian Society, and American Farriers Association.

The park is home to equestrian competitions of many different disciplines including polo matches, dressage, hunter/jumper, para-equestrian dressage, driving, para-driving, endurance, reining, eventing, and vaulting. The Park is open and busy year-round but from April to August, it hosts elite shows like the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, the Annual Egyptian Event, the Country Heir Hunter Jumper Show, Champagne Run Horse Trials, the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, Breyerfest, and now the 2019 AEC.

RedBayStock.com Photo.

Take advantage of everything the park has to offer and walk through the Hall of Champions, a barn filled with an elite group of champion horses like the famous racehorse, Funny Cide. Pay tribute to Man O’ War by visiting the Man O’ War Memorial located near the visitor’s information center where Man O’War is buried next to five other notable racehorses – Brushup, War Hazard, War Kilt, War Relic, and War Admiral.

Learn the history of the horse by touring one or all four of the museums found on grounds: The International Museum of the Horse, Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries, The American Saddlebred Museum, and The Wheeler Museum.

Snap a picture with one of the 17 sculptures that are scattered across the park. One of most recent sculptures is of Bruce Davidson Sr. riding Eagle Lion, an eventer who set the record of winning the Kentucky Three-Day Event six times. The living legend’s well-deserved sculpture acts as a centerpiece before visitors find their seats in the Rolex Stadium grandstand.

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

From learning horse history to shopping at the AEC Trade Fair, championship competitors will have various options to fill any empty spaces in their schedule. But once they make it off grounds and venture into Lexington Ky., they will find trendy boutiques, hip restaurants, craft breweries, and a passionate college campus that ‘bleeds blue.’

Enjoy an outdoor concert in the heart of downtown Lexington for ‘Thursday Night Live’. Plan a trip to the Keeneland racetrack which offers tours on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays. Take a short 30 minute drive to visit the famous bourbon distillery, Woodford Reserve, in Versailles, Ky. With horse racing, bourbon, and live music, the quaint town of Lexington is a place that will be easy to stay in and hard to leave.

The Rolex Stadium, where every AEC competitor will show jump. RedBayStock.com Photo.

After competitors get a taste of Lexington from both inside the doors of the Kentucky Horse Park and out, they will end their weekend with show jumping in the legendary Rolex Stadium also known as the Johnson Ring. The week will start on Monday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. when all cross-country courses will be open for walking and it will end on Sunday with Beginner Novice show jumping. For a schedule of events please click here.

“There have been horses on this ground for more than 200 years..” is the opening to the History of Kentucky Horse Park and over 200 years the park has well earned its reputation as one of the best equestrian venues in North America.

It’s time to bring on the 2019 AEC!

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The qualifying period for the 2019 AEC is May 28, 2018 through August 19, 2019. Please click here to see how to qualify for the AEC. The qualified rider list is available here. The qualified horse list is available here. Entries open July 16 and close on August 13. The USEA recommends all competitors enter early. Find the prize list here.

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 27 – September 1 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Click here to learn more about the USEA American Eventing Championships.

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My name is Molly Hunt and I am 13 years old from Area II. I have qualified for the American Eventing Championships at Beginner Novice with my 19-year-old mare, Lena. She is an American Paint Quarter horse. We have had a tough road to the AEC.

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