A year after the qualifying criteria for the 2023 ASPCA Maclay Championships were revamped in a major way, the National Horse Show (Kentucky), which hosts the finals, has released new, significant changes to qualification for the 2024 finals.
Historically riders were required to participate in the ASPCA Maclay Regionals to attend the finals. Due to major changes announced in 2022, riders this year only have to earn the points required in their state of residence, and participation in regionals is optional.
The change has the potential to significantly increase the number of finalists in 2023 (225 riders were invited to compete in 2022; it is not yet known how many will qualify this year). In 2024, National Horse Show officials recently announced, the finals will be limited to 150 participants, and the qualification requirements will be altered to create two distinct paths to qualification.
“As a national championship, the board of directors wanted the class brought back closer to the historic event structure initially intended,” Jennifer Burger, president of the National Horse Show, wrote in an email.
Under the new criteria, the top 50 riders at the end of the 2024 qualifying period (Sept. 1, 2023-Aug. 31, 2024), will be automatically qualified for the finals. These riders are ranked based on points accumulated from their first 14 shows only and are not permitted to compete in regionals. The remaining 100 competitors will qualify out of the regionals. The percentage of finalists to qualify out of each regional will be determined by dividing the 100 qualifying spots by the number of riders to compete in all of the regionals. Riders may elect to compete in a region outside of their home region without having to accrue additional points.
The 2024 changes were made, Burger said, “as a compromise to include both top equitation riders qualifying as the highest point holders and those qualifying through regionals.”
The points required to qualify for regionals are dependent on a rider’s state of residence, and will be recalculated each year based on the proportion of riders who participated in the previous year’s qualifying period. Riders are permitted to compete in 14 Maclay classes during a qualifying period, and if they compete in additional classes, they are no longer eligible to compete in regionals or finals. An exception will be made for riders who have not qualified for regionals after 14 shows: They may continue to compete until they qualify for regionals but must stop once they have accrued enough points.
Riders who make it to regionals but do not qualify for the finals there have one additional opportunity to qualify: Riders who place in the top 12 at the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunt Seat Medal Final (Pennsylvania), the top 10 at the WIHS Equitation Classic (Maryland) and juniors placing in the top 10 at the Platinum Performance Show Jumping Talent Search Final—West (California) and —East (New Jersey), also will be invited to compete at the ASPCA Maclay Championships.
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