The U.S. Eventing Association has announced the selection of Lexington, Ky., as the host city of the USEA American Eventing Championships for a two-year term beginning in 2019. The 2019 and 2020 events will be managed by Equestrian Events Inc. and Mary Fike, organizer of the Park Equine Kentucky Classique. The events will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The AEC just completed a successful two-year term at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C. which boasted the largest starter numbers in U.S. eventing history. The 2018 AEC will be hosted at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colo.
Since the AEC began in 2004 at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, N.C., the site of the event has moved every few years. From 2007-2009 the AEC was held at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill., followed by Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Ga., from 2010-2012, and then Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas, from 2013-2015. Starting in 2019 the AEC will be coming to the state of Kentucky and Area VIII for the first time in its history.
“It’s exciting to welcome the AEC to Kentucky,” said EEI Board President Stewart Perry. “Through our partnership with Mary Fike, we are looking forward to having a direct avenue to support all levels of our sport.”
“We think it’s about time the AEC comes to the Horse Capital of the World!” said Fike. “We are confident that the competitors who come to Kentucky will have an experience to remember at the Kentucky Horse Park.”
EEI is a non-profit Kentucky corporation formed in 1975 initially to stage the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. EEI is the organizer of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Fike is the organizer of Spring Bay Horse Trials, Park Equine Kentucky Classique Horse Trials and Hagyard MidSouth Team Challenge, each held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“It will be an honor to have the AEC hosted by one of the crown jewel facilities in our sport,” said USEA President Carol Kozlowski. “I can attest to the thrill of galloping and jumping over some of the best ground and well-designed courses in the country, and I’m eager for our members to have the fantastic experience of competing at the Kentucky Horse Park. Everything that makes a championship really special will be found there, and I’ll do everything I can to be competing there myself!”
USEA Chief Executive Officer Rob Burk also noted, “I am incredibly thankful to the Tryon Equestrian Partners for their amazing efforts as the hosts of the AEC in 2016 and 2017. We are also excited to work with the same organizing team at the 2018 AEC at the Colorado Horse Park. I know the TIEC ownership, managers and staff will continue to make it a hub of equestrian sports in America. I am also excited to go to bluegrass country for 2019 and beyond. I can’t wait to see the looks on the faces of the AEC competitors as they complete the competition in the same stadium ridden in by the greatest riders in the world!”
To keep the AEC accessible to as many qualified riders as possible, the USEA is also announcing that the new AEC location will not impact the costs for competitors. The USEA is making plans to reduce the costs to the competitors starting in 2019. At the same time, the AEC will continue to boast over $100,000 in prize money and hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional prizes.