Equestrian Events, Inc. (1975-1985)

The Early Years (1975-1985)
Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI) is a non-profit Kentucky corporation formed in 1975 initially to stage the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the brand new Kentucky Horse Park.

In October, 1976, as preparation for the World Championships, EEI organized the first horse trials ever held at the Horse Park. In 1977, the organization coordinated the staging of the National Pony Club Rally in August and produced the North American Junior Three-Day Event Championships in September.

The 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships, held for the first time in the United States September 14 - 17, were an unprecedented success. Individual World Champion Bruce Davidson of Pennsylvania retained the world title, riding his young and courageous American Thoroughbred, Might Tango. The popular team of riders and horses from Canada were the winners of the Team Gold Medal.

Shortly after the conclusion of the World Championships, the American Horse Shows Association asked Equestrian Events to host the first major three-day event of the new year, setting the wheels in motion for the 1979 Kentucky Horse Trials and similar events thereafter. In 1980, for example, EEI hosted the Final Selection Trial to choose the three-day team that would compete for the United States in Fontainebleau, France, in the fall.

New support and innovative ideas marked activities in 1981. Rolex Watch U.S.A. became a corporate sponsor of the United States Equestrian Team. The 1981 Kentucky Horse Trials was chosen as the initial sponsorship recipient.

Besides again hosting competition for the USET Gladstone Trophy at the Advanced Level, EEl's modified Advanced Three-Day Event was chosen to be the USET's Final Selection Trial to determine the team to represent the United States at the International Three-Day Event in Luhmuhlen, West Germany. In an effort to maintain the international flavor of the Kentucky Horse Trials, EEI proposed an International Invitational Division at the Preliminary Level and invited leading foreign riders to compete on horses loaned by U.S. combined training enthusiasts. The response from international competitors was enthusiastic, and once again the Kentucky Horse Trials boasted top riders from throughout the world.

Four years after Equestrian Events organized the 1978 World Championships, the 1982 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event fittingly provided the Final Selection Trial for aspirants to the Three-Day Event Team that represented our country at the fifth World Individual and Team Three-Day Event Championships held in Luhmuhlen, West Germany.

In 1983, Equestrian Events and its Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event hosted competition for the USET's Challenge Trophy for United States citizens at the Advanced Level. Recognized as a CCI (Concours Complet Internationale, or International Three-Day Event) by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), European and Canadian riders competed along with Americans. Once again, Kentucky offered a full three-day event at the Preliminary Level.

With the 1984 Summer Olympic Games scheduled to be held in the Los Angeles, California, area, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event was again utilized as a Selection Trial for horses and riders who would compose our U. S. Three-Day Event Team.

The Selection Trial Division was run at the Advanced Level as a Horse Trials in order to enable horses and riders to reach the peak of condition for the Olympics.

An Advanced Level CCI hosted riders from around the world, and the Open Preliminary Three-Day Event provided spectators a glimpse of combined training stars of tomorrow.

In 1985, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event was the starting place for a new four-year cycle leading horses and riders to the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

The Advanced Level CCI that is the hallmark of Kentucky served as the first three-day event in the U.S. at which riders and horses aspiring to a place on the 1986 World Championships Team were observed by officials of the USET Selection Committee. EEI added an Intermediate Level Three-Day Event to provide a more technically difficult competition early in the year for aspiring Advanced Level competitors, and as in past years, a Preliminary Level division was also offered.