I was chatting with a friend a few weeks ago while
stalking perusing the entry list for the 2019 edition of the American Eventing Championships. My friend competes at the Preliminary and Intermediate levels, and she lamented her decision not to head to Kentucky after also going to Montana (adulting and bills and such). I lamented my decision not to stow away in a friend’s trailer and be there for moral support.
We resolved to follow along with all things #AEC2019 to stave off the FOMO. And I have to say: I was utterly blown away by the efforts made by all to pull off an epic weekend of eventing. Let me list the little things that truly impressed me this weekend (and I’m sure the list would be twice as long had I actually been there!).
Social media: If you’ve followed along with the USEA on social media this weekend, you may notice that they really went hard on storyboarding their Instagram stories and producing high-quality video highlights. This may seem small or labor-intensive (spoiler alert: it is!), but it really increases the quality of coverage and brings a whole new level of esteem to the AECs. Well done, mysterious USEA social media person.
Live feeds: The live stream, graciously manned primarily by Rob Burk, ran smoothly all weekend thanks to the hard work of RNS Video. Putting on any live stream is hard work, especially for cross country, so we thank each and every individual who made the live feed happen. Those of us at home thank you!
Rolex Stadium: Ok, seriously? The photos of everyone going down that rubber bricked path leading into Rolex Stadium gave me epic chills. Can you just imagine the emotions every single rider felt heading into that stadium for show jumping? I truly appreciated that, rather than reserving the big arena for the upper levels, everyone got to enjoy this experience of a lifetime. I assume pure logistics played a role in this decision, but I have to tip my hat to the efforts made to make this experience unforgettable in every way.
Iconic cross country courses: And while we’re talking about this hallowed ground concept, let’s just talk about how the lower levels also got to jump through iconic cross country questions like the Head of the Lake. For the training level riders, I even felt a bit of nostalgia for the big kids’ course a few years ago that featured a very similar entrance into the Lake. That will surely make for some epic photos (hint: don’t forget to visit Shannon Brinkman to purchase your show photos!) and even more unforgettable memories.
Interviews of every winner: Everyone loves to feel like a winner, and when you’ve just beat out dozens of your fellow riders to take home the ultimate prize, you absolutely deserve some press coverage. Mad props to all the media members doing their absolute best work to give each and every one of these winners their due.
Putting on the biggest horse trial in North American eventing history is no small feat. It takes the massive efforts of hundreds of people and the support of many, many sponsors to pull this off. A round of applause for Equestrian Events, Inc., who have working tirelessly over the past many months, assembling the bags for volunteers, placing those fabulous misting fans, making sure the course designers were superstars, and so many other things that were making the AEC rival the “Best Weekend All Year,” the Kentucky Three-Day Event, which they also organize.
From all of us here at EN, we’d like to thank everyone who made #AEC2019 as magical as it was. What a wonderful reminder of how incredible our sport is at all levels, and what a true celebration of the grassroots that make our sport complete.
Want more feels? This one really got me:
23 Champions – 6 Days – The largest event in North American history! Relive all of the best moments of #AEC2019 #BetterTogether #USEventing
Posted by United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) on Sunday, September 1, 2019