A new international competition for horses and riders will be making its debut March 1 and 2 in Aiken.
Its official name is LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field.
There will be a purse of $50,000.
The dressage and stadium jumping phases of the competition are scheduled for March 1. The cross-country phase will be held March 2.
The Aiken Horse Park Foundation, or AHPF, is the organizer of LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing.
“We’ve invited the top 40 eventing riders in the world, and the interest from the international eventing community has been overwhelming,” said Horse Park Foundation Vice President and Treasurer Tara Bostwick.
Philip Dutton, who has won Olympic medals while riding for Australia and the United States, is the chairman of the Grand-Prix Eventing Committee.
Also, he's scheduled to compete at Bruce’s Field along with Boyd Martin, who has been a member of two U.S. Olympic teams.
Joining them, Bostwick said, will be Andrew Hoy, who has won multiple Olympic medals while riding for Australia.
Bostwick added superstar German rider Michael Jung is “hoping to come” to Aiken. He is a three-time Olympic gold medalist.
“It’s like LeBron James wanting to come to Aiken to play basketball,” Bostwick said.
General admission tickets are on sale for $12 apiece for March 1 and $12 each for March 2. The cost for a general admission ticket for both days is $20.
VIP Enclosure Passes are $375 apiece.
Sponsorship opportunities also are available.
For more information, visit aikenhorsepark.org and click on the Grand-Prix Eventing 2019 link on the home page.
There will be a craft beer festival on March 2.
“We are hoping that people will come and picnic, enjoy the beer festival and enjoy the competition during this world-class event,” Bostwick said. “Aiken has traditionally had crowds at the flat races (Aiken Trials), steeplechases and polo. This is another opportunity to experience a whole different competition in Aiken and enjoy a festive atmosphere.”
Gates will open at 8 a.m. on March 1 and 11 a.m. on March 2.
Capt. Mark Phillips, who was an Olympic gold medal-winning rider for Great Britain, is the designer of the Grand-Prix Eventing cross-country course.
The plans he created for the jumps “acknowledge Aiken’s rich history,” Bostwick said.
One jump looks like St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. The inspirations for the designs of the other jumps include the Battle of Aiken and the Savannah River Site.
“Another cool thing is that we will be offering free valet parking for people who choose to come to the event on bicycles,” Bostwick said. “There will be someone to make sure the bikes are safe and sound. We are trying to be a environmentally-friendly event.”
A Ride for Charity also will be part of Grand-Prix Eventing.
Every rider competing will represent a local charity. The riders that finish first, second and third in the competition will earn $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, for their charities.
An application for charities that would like to participate in the Ride for Charity can be downloaded at aikenhorsepark.org. Click on the Grand-Prix Eventing 2019 link on the home page.
Bruce’s Field is at 931 Powderhouse Road S.E.
Want to go?
WHAT: LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field
WHEN: 8 a.m. March 1 and 11 a.m. March 2
WHERE: Aiken Horse Park Foundation's Bruce's Field, 931 Powderhouse Road S.E.
COST: Tickets $12 for each day or $20 for admission both days
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit aikenhorsepark.org.