Fall is coming. For our sport it’s high-gear time, time to kick it up, get riding, schooling, training, prepping for stars or move-ups. Championships are coming. It’s a dizzying whirl of national championships, area championships and young horse championships.
For the most part, riders have to qualify for eventing championships with placings earlier in the year, or within the qualifying period. For all of the 10 areas of the USEA, the area championships are part of an existing area horse trial, which hold designated championship divisions alongside the regular divisions.
One would expect Area championships to be held at the end of the season, but this is not the case in any area of the U.S.!
In Area III, the season’s end came in mid-summer, at Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials in Fairburn, GA, held July 8-9, 2017. The rest of the year riders work toward 2018 championships. This is the earliest area championship held. It concludes the southern area’s “season,” which starts over in the winter and winds down in spring.
Area II, Area IV, Area VI and Area VII all have one or two horse trials following their area championships. Areas like Area IV,VII, X and IX basically have seasons from mid-May to early October, while other areas, such as III, stretch from January to November.
Area I has its season championships in August, at Town Hill Farm Horse Trials, Lakeville, CT, Aug. 25-27. No less than eight fall horse trials follow in that area.
Area V has a split championship, with Meadow Creek Park – The Fall Social Event, Sept. 16-7, in Kosse, TX, holding the BN-N championship divisions, and Oct. 28-29, six weeks later, the T-P championships are held in Benton, LA, at Holly Hill Fall Horse Trials. In between those two championships there are three regular horse trials.
In Area VII, the area championship is a part of Park Equine Kentucky Classique Horse Trials, held at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, on Sept. 1-3, 2017, the same weekend as the American Eventing Championships in Tryon, NC; and five Area VII horse trials are held after the championship in that area through September and October.
Nationally, the USEA recognizes the Future Event Horse championships in two locations, the western championship competition at Twin Rivers in CA, in Area VI, Sept. 21; and the eastern championship at Loch Moy, home of Maryland Horse Trials, in MD, Area II, Sept. 23-24, 2017. The Young Event Horse Championships are also held on both coasts; western championship at Woodside International Horse Trials, Woodside, CA, Oct. 5, and eastern championship at Fair Hill International Three Day Event, Elkton, MD, Oct. 12-13. These are the only eventing championships held in the United States that conclude the season for these horses.
The overall national championship for eventing, the American Eventing Championships (Aug.30-Sept.3, Tryon, NC), comes on Labor Day weekend; the fall eventing season pretty much follows the AECs, so the qualifying for this championship splits two years. The qualifying period stretched from May 30 last year to August 21 for 2017. (AEC qualification summary here.)
Here’s a roundup of all eventing championships in the U.S. by area.
- Area I (New England) Qualifying criteria here; Town Hill Farm Horse Trials, 8/25-27/17
- Area II (Mid Atlantic) Qualifying criteria here (2016 rules, not updated yet for 2017): Virginia Horse Trials, 10/26-29
- Area III (South) Qualifying criteria is a PDF linked on this page: 2018 championships not yet set, 2017 championships were held in July at Chattahoochee Hills
- Area IV (Midwest) Qualifying criteria here; Heritage Park Horse Trials, Olathe, KS, 10/6-8
- Area V (Texas and surrounding) Qualifying criteria here; split championships at two events, Meadow Creek Park Horse Trials, 9/16-17, and Holly Hill Fall Horse Trials, 10/28-29
- Area VI (California) Qualifying criteria here (2016 pdf); Fresno County Horse Park Horse Trials, 10/20-22
- Area VII (Northwest) Qualifying criteria here: Aspen Farms, 9/8-10
- Area VIII (Upper midwest) Qualifying criteria here: Park Equine Kentucky Classique Horse Trials, 9/1-3
- Area IX (Southwest) Qualifying criteria here: Las Cruces Horse Trials, 10/14-15
- Area X (West) Qualifying criteria here: The Event at Skyline, 10/6-8