Opening date for the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships is today! Are you qualified but still hemming and hawing about whether to enter the event, to be held Aug. 27-Sept. 1 at the Kentucky Horse Park? I’ve attended the AEC at its past five locations (Illinois, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Colorado) in various capacities (rider, friend, coach, press), and I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.
No matter what corner of the Eventing Nation you call home, AEC is a true destination event. You better believe I’m heading to the 16th annual edition, and I don’t want you guys to miss out!
Here are six reasons to just put that entry in already:
- You earned it. You worked hard, you qualified (see AEC qualified riders and horses), and now it’s time to go enjoy the victory lap of your successful season. Don’t miss the opportunity to test yourself against horses and riders from around the country for the chance to earn the ultimate title of National Champion.
- It’s the feel-good event of the year. The USEA goes above and beyond to make sure competitors and their peeps have a fun, celebratory and memorable experience. Cash and prizes + swag galore + parties every evening = why would you miss this, seriously?
- The venue is legend. It’s the Kentucky Horse Park! It’s hallowed ground. For those of us who aren’t four-star riders (*cough* most of us), this is our chance for a moment of glory in Rolex Stadium.Visit the Kentucky Horse Park website here.
- Bring the whole family. Lexington is known for its horses, of course, but there’s plenty of draw for your un-horsey kin as well. Send the husband off on a journey down the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and promise the kids a trip to the Park’s playground or one of its museums after your ride. Lexington is one of the South’s friendliest, cleanest and most colorful cities, with a vibrant downtown as well as outdoorsy activities galore. You can even set up a home-away-from-home in the Horse Park campground — hot tip: There’s a swimming pool! With a little creativity you can convince that fam that this isn’t just an event, it’s a vacation.
- It really is more than JUST an event. The AEC is 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.
- It’s an opportunity to give back. Speaking of volunteers, the AEC is in need of some. Can you lend a helping hand? Volunteering is a great way to show your support for the sport you love, and the USEA always treats its volunteers like the superstars that they are. Sign up through the Eventing Volunteers portal to make your hours credible with the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP). Teamwork makes the dream work!