USA Senior Championships Seeking New, 3-Year Host Venue & Maintain Split With Youth Title Events

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United States Grand Prix Championship pair of Laura Graves and Verdades. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
United States Grand Prix Championship pair of Laura Graves and Verdades. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WAYNE, Illinois, Aug. 26, 2016–The United States Grand Prix and Intermediate Championships coupled with the Under-25 Brentina Cup are looking for a new home for the next three years but maintaining the split with the youth competitions.

A likely bidder for the adult half of the Festival of Champions intended to be staged in May for 2017 through 2019 is Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina that is seeking to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games. The same organizing team managed the Grand Prix and Intermediate championships at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds in Wellington, Florida in 2015.

The decades-old championships have been going through an identity crisis since 2013 after years of being staged at the historic U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey and occasionally moved to California. The championships were also frequently final qualifying for American teams for Olympics, world and continental championships and often drew large crowds.

The championships were moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 2013 but were seen by only a handful of spectators. They were moved back to Gladstone in 2014.

However, in 2015 the championships were split with pony, junior, young rider and Under-25 staged here outside Chicago in conjunction with the young and developing horse championships while the Grand Prix and Intermediate divisions were in Wellington, Florida in December.

This year, the event ran into more serious issues with the youth divisions again staged with the young and developing horse championships but the senior championships were dropped by Epona Farms in Thousand Islands, California and re-scheduled for Paso Robles midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

With just five weeks to go sponsorship has been light and the Olympic team bronze medal horses that could be a spectator attraction are not expected to take part.

The USEF wants to schedule the Grand Prix, Intermediate and Under-25 championships in May with the possibility of also being the selection trial for the 2018 World Games and the 2019 Pan American Games.

Tryon is expected to meet the criteria as a championship venue as it is staging two CDI3* competitions this year as well as the American Eventing Championships scheduled for next week.

The pony and youth divisions are expected to held alongside the young horse championships at this same venue next year. The North American Junior and Young Rider Championships are held about a month earlier and students have returned to school after the summer vacation.

Deadline for applying for the Grand Prix, Intermediate I and Under-25 championships is later this month with a final decision to be made in the fall.