I’ve been to the American Eventing Championships at the past three locations (Illinois, Georgia, Texas) as well as its inaugural event at Tryon International Equestrian Center last year. I’ve experienced it in various capacities (rider, friend, coach, press), and from each and every angle from which I’ve participated, the AEC has never ceased to remind me — regardless of the role I happen to be playing at the time — why I just plain love the sport.
This is a special event, because it’s more than JUST an event. It’s a panoramic view of eventing as it exists here in the U.S. — the pyramid-shaped representation of Beginner Novice to Advanced level riders, the connective tissue that exists between amateurs and pros, the sport’s sweeping geographic scope, and the heroic roles performed by organizers, volunteers and supporters. Walking around the showgrounds feels like looking inside a clock, watching all the different-sized gears turning in tandem.
This year’s edition is one for the history books, literally. With over 760 starters, #AEC17 is the biggest USEF horse trials ever, a monumental distinction that speaks to the ever-expanding growth of our sport. (For more fun exercises in AEC number crunching, check out the USEA’s “Fast Facts: 2017 USEA American Eventing Championship.”)
Speaking of the USEA, let’s raise a glass to the smart, good-looking folks who puts countless hours into making the AEC happen. Just imagining what it takes to pull something off of this magnitude boggles the mind, but their end-game shines through in every aspect of the event. The USEA team understands how hard everyone worked to get here, and they want to make this pinnacle event an experience that competitors can cherish for a lifetime.
And, because one toast just isn’t enough, let’s raise ’em two more times: once for the event’s fantastic sponsor team, including presenting sponsors Nutrena and Land Rover, and one more time for the event’s hardworking volunteers. Southern hospitality at its finest. Salut, y’all.
#AEC17 kicked off today with Training and Prelim dressage. Here are your Wednesday division leaders! See detailed results here.
Loving those smiles — what it’s all about!
Here’s what’s happening tomorrow at #AEC17. Screenshot all the thingz.
Forecast looks ah-mazing!
For eventing fans who are stuck at home …
… Chinch and the Leslies (awesome band name!) will be here at TIEC all week, bringing you the latest from the feel-good event of the year. And please do keep an eye on useventing.com for coverage, too, because — realtalk — did we mention there are over 760 starters? Um, yeah, no stuffed animal can be in 760 places at once. Plus Jenni is across the pond, reporting live from that other event … what’s it called … oh yeah, Burghley. All of which is to say, you just keep on living your best snuggie life, Amy — we’ll bring the action to YOU.