Lexington, Ky. – The Broxton Bridge Plantation in Ehrhardt, S.C., will host the inaugural USEF Endurance National Championships. Running November 14-16, as part of the 2019 North American Endurance Championship event, combinations will vie for USEF National Champion and Reserve National Champion honors at the CEI1*/CEIYJ1* and CEI2*/CEIYJ2* levels. In addition, an unofficial FEI team competition will be integrated into the competition at the CEI1*/CEIYJ1* and CEI2*/CEIYJ2* levels to strengthen team development skills. The CEI1*/CEIYJ1* divisions will complete a ride composed of three loops for a total of 80.6 kilometers, while the CEI2*/CEIYJ2* will ride 120.7 kilometers made up of five loops.
“It is awesome [adding a national championship], and it’s a privilege to compete in it. We are all close friends and like family. I have been riding with these people for years. I am very excited for it and happy they are [offering it],” said Annie Whelan, who competed in the 2017 FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders and Juniors and will compete in the CEIYJ2* division with Fine Cut Gold owned by Valerie Kanavy. “I am going to treat this like any other FEI ride, since I have ridden this course multiple times. My main goal is to finish.”
The team competition will operate in a similar format to that of FEI Nations Cups™, open to teams from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The USEF Endurance Sport Committee developed this concept as an avenue to provide additional exposure to the processes, responsibilities, and expectations of competing on a team. This opportunity replicates a similar team environment athletes will encounter as they represent the United States in world championship competition. For some athletes and crews, this will test their previous experiences.
“After just recently competing at the [FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors], I am excited about working together in [a team environment] again,” said Kate Bishop, who placed the highest for the U.S. team at the 2019 world championship and will compete on the CEIYJ2* Southeast team with EBS Regal Majjaan this week. “If [a team member is not helping you], then you’re helping someone else on the team, and that’s what I love so much about [the team setting]. Everything you do and every decision you make is for the team and to better the team.”
Teams can be composed of three to five combinations, with four U.S. teams fielded across the divisions. Only the top three scores from each team will count for the team classification, with medals awarded to the top three teams. Athletes from medal-winning teams who successfully complete, but whose scores did not contribute to the team result, will also receive a team medal. The FEI will recognize the overall order of finish.
USEF National and Reserve National Champion titles will be awarded to the two highest-placed competitors in each senior and young rider competition. The top 12 in each senior and young rider division will also be recognized with individual awards.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOPC, and USEF sponsors and members.