The $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field, presented by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (GPE), is the most thrilling sports event on the Aiken winter calendar! Held the first weekend in March, this action-packed event brings you all the excitement of the Olympic equestrian sport of eventing in a condensed, spectator friendly, format. An invitational event, the GPE hosts the top eventing athletes in the world, many of whom have competed and will be competing at Olympic and World Championships. General admission and VIP tickets are available for purchase online at aikenhorsepark.org/eventing beginning December 1st.
Friday morning the competition kicks off with the Dressage phase of competition. Each horse and rider pair preform a pattern, or “test”, where each move is scored on a scale of 0 to 10. The sum of these scores are combined, then subtracted by the number of total possible points, multiplied by 100 and then finally subtracted by 100. This is a very confusing way of saying lowest score wins (think golf). The two following phases of competition can only add penalty points, and each rider’s goal is to “finish on their Dressage score”.
Horse and rider pairs then carry their Dressage score forward to the two jumping phases of competition. At the showcase, Show Jumping comes next on Friday afternoon. Competitors attempt to clear the “track” within the time allowed and without knocking down any rails. A refusal, rail falling down, or exceeding the time allowed all add penalty points to the pair’s Dressage score.
The final phase of competition takes place on Saturday afternoon. Cross-Country is the heart and soul of eventing, and is without question the most exciting and adrenaline pumping portion of the event! Horse and rider pairs attempt to navigate the Cross-Country course, which weaves in and out of the arenas at Bruce’s Field, and incorporates elements like water, ditches, and banks. All of the Cross-Country jumps at the showcase are built to replicate iconic Aiken landmarks or themes. Pairs attempt to complete the course closest to the “optimum time” without going over. Exceeding the optimum time, refusals or runouts, or activating safety devices built into some of the fences, all add penalty points to a pair’s score.
At the end of all three phases, the pair with the overall lowest score wins!
In addition to the primary competition, the GPE boasts plenty of other entertainment including:
- Demonstrations from other equestrian sports/groups
- Kid friendly activities
- Delicious on-site food vendors
- Fun shopping at the Vendor Village
- Opportunities to meet and greet some of the top eventing athletes in the world
Alongside the thrilling competition between these top competitors, is also the ever popular “Ride for Charity” event. The GPE works with local and national charitable organizations, and pairs them with teams of riders competing at the event. The top 3 finishing teams earn prize money for their respective charities. The GPE also provides an opportunity for these organizations to share their mission with all the attendees and worldwide spectators!
With all the action and excitement packed into these two days, the $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing at Bruce’s Field, presented by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, truly is #AnEventLikeNoOther