May 24, 2024

Three Months Until the Start of the 20th Anniversary USEA American Eventing Championships

By Kaleigh Collett - USEA Staff | Press Release
USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

The 2024 United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is just over three months away, which means it is time to start planning your trip to Lexington, Kentucky! For the second year in a row, the AEC, which is brought to you by the USEA and its organizing partners at Equestrian Events, Inc and Mary Fike, will return to the iconic Kentucky Horse Park from Aug. 27 to Sept. 1.

Coined as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Lexington has countless attractions and activities to explore! The AEC will offer up to 26 divisions this year covering all levels of eventing competition, including the newly recognized Stater level through the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final. The AEC will also host the 2024 USEA Adult Team Championships (ATC) at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, and Preliminary levels.

Entries & Qualifications

Entries for the 2024 AEC will open on Tuesday, July 16. The USEA anticipates significant interest for this year’s event, so it is strongly recommended to enter on opening day. Entries will close on Tuesday, August 13.

The 2024 AEC qualification period is May 22, 2022, through August 13, 2024, and both horse and rider must be qualified for the AEC at the level they wish to compete. For more information, please visit the AEC qualification page, and view the lists of Qualified Riders and Qualified Horses.

The City: “Horse Capital of the World”

From famous Thoroughbred farms and racetracks to world-renowned veterinary clinics, Lexington is home to some of the most iconic equestrian destinations. The Bluegrass region has more than 450 horse farms and many open their doors to visitors. Visit Horse Country offers the unique opportunity to tour many of these well-known equine farms and facilities that cater to the racing and sport horse industries.

Lexington is also known for its natural beauty, with easy access to over 90 parks and green spaces in the area where visitors can enjoy the outdoors through hiking, canoeing, and more! Finally, if Kentucky Bourbon is calling your name, of-age visitors can check out over 15 nearby distilleries on the Bourbon Trail to learn the history and craft of America’s Native Spirit. Consider booking a bourbon tour from one of several local tour companies to get the most out of the experience.

With the AEC overlapping the Labor Day weekend, there are also many special events and activities happening in the area. Cirque du Soleil OVO, a high energy, acrobatic production about the life of insects, will return to the Rupp Arena on Aug. 29 – Sept. 1. Art on the Town, a new program of the City of Lexington, will host two events during the week of the AEC to introduce visitors to the craft of several local artists and authors: Art on the Town at Thursday Night Live on Thursday, August 29 and the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, August 31. In addition to Art on the Town, Thursday Night Live at The Fifth Third Pavilion will also feature local food and drinks and great music from several live bands from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET.

For more information on things to do in Lexington, go to visitlex.com. Kentucky Tourism also has a wealth of information on tourism attractions in the area.

The Venue: Kentucky Horse Park

The Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) is owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and covers 1,229 acres of famous Bluegrass off Iron Works Parkway in Lexington. Best known as the host venue of the annual Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the Kentucky Horse Park boasts state-of-the-art facilities like the Rolex Stadium, along with a number of ancillary training facilities and stabling that provide every competitor with a world-class experience from the time they arrive. Coupled with the abundant expertise of the Equestrian Events, Inc. staff, the AEC at KHP is sure to be an unforgettable competition experience.

While at the Park, consider checking out one of the many attractions available on-site. Visit one of four museums on the property, like the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Another not-to-be-missed attraction at KHP is the Hall of Champions, which honors many of horse racing’s greatest legends, and as of 2024, now pays homage to one of eventing’s most decorated horses, Custom Made (Bassompierre x Purple Heather), who was ridden to an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia by David O’Connor.

Travel

For those traveling to the AEC from out of town, there are several ways to get to Lexington. Three airports are within approximately one hour of the venue: Blue Grass Airport (LEX), Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). These airports offer non-stop service through various carriers from several major U.S. cities and have the option to utilize rental cars or public transportation on the ground.

For traveling around town, visitors can easily access taxis and ride share services, like Uber or Lyft, or take advantage of public bus service in downtown Lexington provided by LexTran. For those that plan to drive to the AEC, the Kentucky Horse Park is accessible from Interstate 75 north or southbound. When utilizing GPS or phone mapping functions, be sure to use “4089 Iron Works Pike” (not “parkway”) as the street address, as these services may not accurately direct to the park otherwise. For a full list of driving directions, click here.

Accommodations

More information on discounted room rates secured through the USEA and EEI will be available in the coming weeks. Until then, competitors are welcome to review the variety of accommodation options available in the area to start determining needs. If you are interested in staying in a hotel, the Marriott Griffin Gate Hotel and Everhome Suites Lexington North are great local options within 15 minutes of the horse park. For those that prefer rental options, Airbnb and VRBO have many homes and apartments available in the greater Lexington area to accommodate longer term stays and large parties. For those traveling by RV or camper, the Kentucky Horse Park has limited camping spots available for 2024 AEC competitors. Click here or call 859-259-4257 to make your reservation today.

Additional accommodations will be announced as the event approaches, so continue to check the AEC Competitor Information page for updates.

For general questions about the AEC, please contact Kate Lokey. For questions regarding AEC qualifications, contact Hannah Seagle. To confirm qualifications, visit the AEC Qualified Riders and AEC Qualified Horses lists throughout the year.

About the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC)

The USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is the pinnacle of the sport at 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 combinations 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 2021 AEC garnered over 1,000 entries and now stands as the largest eventing competition in North American history. The 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds will be held Aug. 29—Sept. 3 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, Horse & Country; Gold Level Sponsors: ARMA, Parker Equine Insurance, PulseVet, Smartpak, Standlee; Silver Level Sponsors: Auburn Labs, Canter Culture Riding Apparel, Ecogold, Kerrits, Rood & Riddle, The Jockey Club; and more!

About the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final

The $60,000 Adequan® USEA Advanced Final will take place at the 2024 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, Aug. 27—Sept. 1, 2024. Thanks to Adequan’s amazing support, the Adequan® USEA Advanced Final will bring together the country’s top riders to vie for $60,000 in prize money and the title of Adequan® Champion. To qualify for the $60,000 Adequan® USEA Advanced Final at the AEC in 2024, competitors will need to complete a minimum of two events without cross-country jump penalties at any USEA recognized Advanced horse trials, CCI4*-S, CCI4*-L , CCI5*-L, World Championships or Olympic Games. Click here to learn more about the $60,000 Adequan® USEA Advanced Final. About the USEA Adult Team Championships

About the USEA Adult Team Championships

The USEA Adult Team Championships, which debuted in 2014, is the capstone event for the USEA Area Adult Team Challenges, providing adults the chance to compete as a team and represent their Area of the country in a friendly and fun environment. Historically, adult riders had three regional Team Challenges in which to compete with fellow adults in a team environment, with the locations changing each year. In 2013, the USEA Adult Rider Coordinators voted to move to support Adult Team Challenges taking place in all 10 Areas across the country, with the finale being the ATC at the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds. Each Area can send up to eight teams from Beginner Novice through Preliminary level to the ATC. Adult Riders know how to have a good time, and there is no doubt that they bring an increased level of excitement and camaraderie to the AEC! Click here to learn more about the Adult Team Championships.

The USEA would like to thank ARMA, The Chronicle of the Horse, Equilab, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Kerrits, Nutrena, Sidelines Magazine, and SmartPak for sponsoring the USEA Adult Team Championships.

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