December 2017 - Eye on Eventing
Written by by Lauren Billys
Thursday, 30 November 2017 20:14

USEA Convention in Long Beach gives attendees a glimpse of our region’s unique character.

by Lauren Billys

To those attending the United States Eventing Association’s annual convention, I am happy to welcome you to USEA Area VI. We are honored to host the event, set for Dec. 6-10 in Long Beach. Each year the convention hosts the year-end awards, educational seminars, and meetings to plan for the upcoming season’s activities. Being the host of the convention, our area is recognized and highlighted for our achievements and character.

Area VI is the biggest area for eventing in the whole of the United States based on size. On the East Coast, many riders drive a matter of one to two hours for an event. In comparison, many riders drive a minimum of three hours to get to their closest events; it is not unlikely to drive the whole of a day for a horse show.

Although many picture the East Coast as the hub of three-day eventing, many top riders in the country have come from California. Not to mention that many riders from California have ridden in Olympic Games, Pan American Games and World Equestrian Games. In the same ring you could have a number of Olympic riders and first time competitors without even knowing.

I remember when I first began diving into the eventing scene in Area VI, I was in awe as I worked around the horse show and had sightings of Hawley Bennett-Awad, Gina Miles, and Bea and Derek DiGrazia.  But it wasn’t long before I was able to meet these riders and develop friendships with them. The closeness and accessibility to these kinds of top riders make our area a close-knit group supported by riders of all levels.

The accessibility to top riders and intermixing of all levels of riders truly highlights the Area VI character of a family of riders who love to compete in three-day eventing. This is my favorite characteristic of our area. As eventers from around the country will come to our area, I hope they can feel this unique character of Area VI and we can celebrate the many achievements of this year.

Columnist Lauren Billys contested the 2016 Olympics in Rio, on behalf of Puerto Rico. She continues to compete and is accepting students and horses at Lauren Billys Eventing on the Monterey Peninsula. Visit for more info.

As we start to close this year, I am still celebrating the achievements of our area including our Area VI Young Rider team taking home the gold medal, some big wins from our top riders throughout the country, and a few of our West Coast riders that headed to a success in European competitions. As our family starts to gain more successes, our area is becoming a more solidified force in the country. I hope for more exciting highlights to come in 2018.

For more information about the US Eventing Association Annual Meeting & Convention, visit