View Full Version : AECs and the calendar questions

Jun. 13, 2011, 10:13 AM
We were having a discussion about this at our barn and no one knew the answer, but I'm sure someone here will!

First, what is the logic behind why the AECs are held the first week of September, instead of say... the first or second week of October?

We are in Area 8/ Michigan. The area season doesn't start until April, and in Michigan, not until June. I imagine it's similar in New England and other northern areas? It doesn't give a lot of time for qualifying rides, especially if you don't like to run back to back weekends.

The other thing is, our barn has a lot of young riders - high school and college. It's really hard on them (and their parents) to make the decision to miss the first/ second week of school. We've definitely had people not go (or spend the weekend doing homework :lol:) because of that.

Also, last year in Georgia the weather was beastly, and I imagine it's more temperate in October. Even in Chicago, the weather in October is generally great for riding - the risk is more that it might be too cool, rather than too hot, but that seems like it would be easier on horses and riders.

Second, this year (I think it's the first time) rides from most of August 2010 will count for the 2011 AECs, even though they also were also qualifiers for the 2010 AECs. This just seems strange - events that "double qualify." ??

I get that there are events near the end of the qualifying period that might lose entries as people have already made their QRs, but I guess I still don't understand the logic and/ or if it could be remedied by moving the AECs back 5-6 weeks.

Around here, folks will usually spend the summer at a level, if they're doing well then they'll do one of our fabulous move-up type UHTs in the fall, spend the winter working out any kinks discovered at the move-up, and be ready to go (or not) at the new level the next spring/ summer. So it's a bit weird to have people in our barn qualified for the championships on horses they haven't ridden since last August. ??

Btw, this isn't any sort of personal whining on my part - I'm not trying to qualify - Baxter has enough things to work on without worrying about that!

Carried Away
Jun. 13, 2011, 12:17 PM
I have wondered the same thing...would much rather see AEC's in October as that's when our season in Area IV starts to wind down. There are 2 HT's I'm planning on going to in Sept instead of AEC's that are much closer/cheaper.

If AEC's were pushed back a month I'm sure a lot more people would go, including my barn since there isn't as much to do around here in Oct. More time to qualify is a good thing!

Jun. 13, 2011, 01:33 PM
There's a lot of competing tensions here: riders in cold climates want AECs in September because their season shuts down by early October and it's hard to get prep runs in plus trailering gets dicey; folks in warm areas want it as late as November so they can maximize their fall runs; people getting ready for fall three days want it earlier to use as a prep run for Fair Hill or Galway; competitors trying to make it the end of their season want it later; organizers want it away from their dates or on a two week cycle with their dates; etc., etc., etc. The current timing is intended to maximize the best options for the most people, but for sure it won't make everyone perfectly happy.

Jun. 13, 2011, 02:44 PM
Thanks GS. I assumed there was some logic behind it, but as someone up north, I'm sure most folks up here would actually prefer it to be later (not so late that the snow is flying, of course). Right now it comes right on top of two of the nicest events in Area 8, Richland Park and South Farm.

Obviously it's not possible to please everyone, but I am an "optimization" kind of person. Does anyone survey or do a "needs assessment" among likely competitors to come up with the calendar - as in, what proportion of folks doing three days are likely to do the AECs (as in, is there a lot of overlap between the groups), etc? Has that evaluation been done periodically? Just wondering if the profile of the competing demographic has changed since the AECs started, etc.

Jun. 13, 2011, 05:48 PM
I agree with all you've said, Baxter's mom....I'm here in Area VIII too and since we don't get a chance to get going until May, it would be much nicer to have those events in our area in September to go to, then go to AEC's.... And then it would be a fabulous way to wrap up the season!