Some of the most talented riders and horses in the sport of eventing train in Aiken during the winter.
They include Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin.
In 2016, Dutton won an individual bronze medal in eventing while riding Mighty Nice and representing the United States during the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Prior to then, Dutton was a member of Australia’s gold-medal winning three-day eventing team at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and Sydney, respectively.
Martin was a member of the U.S. Olympic eventing team in 2012 and 2016. Last year, Martin, riding Tsetserleg, was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. eventing team during the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. He also captured an individual gold medal.
Another equestrian with Aiken ties, Doug Payne, was on the America’s Pan Am team and finished fourth in the individual competition aboard Starr Witness.
Inaugurated in 2019, the $50,000 LiftMaster Grand Prix-Eventing showcase has brought top riders and their mounts to the Aiken Horse Park Foundation’s Bruce’s Field during its first two years. It is scheduled to return in 2021.
The Aiken Horse Show has been an Aiken tradition for more than 100 years, and the competition is still going strong. One of the biggest attractions for riders and spectators is the show’s beautiful location in Hitchcock Woods. Bruce’s Field and Highfields are among the sites of other major horse shows in Aiken.