Southern Hospitality Makes US Dressage Finals A Must-Attend Event

US Dressage Finals - The Centerline of Champions. Photo by Susan J Stickle Photography

By Ross Creech

Each November, over 400 of the top adult amateur, open, and youth riders from across USDF’s nine regions, converge on the ‘horse capital of the world’, Lexington, Kentucky, the Kentucky Horse Park, and the famed Alltech Arena to take their turn riding down ‘the centerline of champions’ to compete head-to-head at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. Since its inception in 2013, the US Dressage Finals has become one of the hottest tickets for dressage riders and enthusiasts in this country, and here are just a few reasons why. 

The US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® is a one-of-a-kind competition. No other dressage show provides such a unique opportunity to see top adult amateurs, from every part of the country, competing for national honors, in a championship setting, alongside their open and youth rider counterparts. 

Lucy Tidd and Ellert HB cantered to victory in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur Freestyle Championship at the 2021 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. Photo by Susan J. Stickle Photography.

The aspect of the US Dressage Finals that routinely receives resounding and unanimous praise from competitors, officials, volunteers, and attendees alike is the championship atmosphere surrounding the event. From the moment you turn into the entrance of the Kentucky Horse Park, the buzz of the Finals is palpable. The flags lining the entrance, the welcome message to competitors and attendees on the roundabout marquee, and the uniformed brigade of volunteers spread across the grounds, make the growing excitement inevitable and make it undeniable that you are about to experience something special. 

For many considering attending the US Dressage Finals, one thing that is guaranteed to factor in, is the time of year. Early November is a busy time for everyone, as we careen toward the Thanksgiving and winter holidays. But fear not, the amazing sponsors and vendors who attend the annual US Dressage Finals Trade Fair make multitasking a breeze, allowing you to get in the holiday shopping for both the horse-lovers and non-horse-lovers in your life. From tack and equipment, to clothing, jewelry, art, and just about anything else you can imagine, attendees are sure to walk away with some great finds… which may or may not end up as gifts!

We’ve all heard of ‘southern hospitality’, but the US Dressage Finals takes it to another level, starting with the FREE admission to the event. Additionally, saying nothing of the great concessions and local options available in and around the Kentucky Horse Park, the welcome and competitors parties held on the concourse of the Alltech Arena, which are also free to all in attendance, feature delicious appetizers and drinks with a Kentucky flare, and are often highlighted with live music. The parties are also accompanied by an electric evening of competition, live in the Alltech Arena. For those looking for an even more elevated experience, some VIP packages are available for purchase.

Not only is Lexington, Kentucky considered ‘the horse capital of the world’ and home to the world-renowned Kentucky Horse Park, but the horse park itself plays home to USDF. Opening its doors in 2006, the USDF National Education Center is situated on the top of a beautiful hill, with a beautiful view of the famous Rolex Arena across the lake. Featuring the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame, Lendon F. Gray Bookstore, and Gypsy Woods Farm Resource Center, the USDF National Education Center and the Kentucky Horse Park truly are ‘our old Kentucky home.’

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