Once you drive through those gates, there is a certain feel that makes it special and unique. It's been well thought out for now and for the next generation. The future is very bright for Bruce's Field.
- Phillip Dutton
Born from the vision and generosity of Bruce Duchossois, it has quickly become a venue of choice for discerning equestrians in multiple disciplines. Under the direction of the Aiken Horse Park Foundation Board, Bruce’s Field was built to be a premier facility, guaranteeing a memorable experience for horse and rider alike. Since our first horse show in 2015, our reputation has attracted top level amateur, professional and Olympic equestrians from across the country and the world. This unprecedented reception and growth has quickly outpaced our current permanent facilities. We have depended on temporary solutions to accommodate the growing number of horses and the thousands of their human counterparts who travel to Aiken on a regular basis to enjoy all that Bruce’s Field offers. To maintain our standard of excellence and remain a favored destination, we must expand our permanent facility and continue to incorporate state-of-the-art improvements.
With the immediate goal of preventing residential development, his dream was to grow it into South Carolina’s premier equestrian facility and pay forward the generosity of his predecessors whose gifts created the Aiken he loved… a town with a special heart for horses and riders, competition and training. He envisioned a modern, progressive facility yet filled with ambiance and traditions that were precious to him; events infused with hospitality, character and integrity. Bruce wanted the venue to be a place where the community’s many charitable and civic endeavors could be accommodated for the benefit and enjoyment of all residents and visitors. Bruce established the Aiken Horse Park Foundation in June of 2013 to carry on his vision. He did not live long enough to see his dream realized, but the Foundation he created has carried forward his vision and is committed to maintaining the his expectations.
to initially raise the funds necessary to allow us to build those structures necessary to become financially self supporting. Our capital improvements will provide for multi-use access insuring Bruce’s Field’s long-term sustainability both to discerning equestrians and local organizations. This expansion is an important part of the Park’s and of Aiken’s Next Chapter.
Bruce’s Field has already become an important asset to the equestrian yearly schedule and to our Aiken community. Annually, we host 18 weeks of nationally sanctioned equestrian competitions including Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, and Eventing. A minimum of 10 weeks of schooling opportunities are scheduled annually attracting local, national, and international riders. We also provide the venue for educational clinics, as well as the State of South Carolina Equestrian Special Olympics. The annual Charity Horse Show has allowed the Foundation to present checks in excess of $110,000 thus far to a number of charities. In 2019 the first Grand Prix Eventing Showcase attracted riders and spectators from 4 continents. This continuous influx of visitors adds millions of dollars into the local economy through direct use of locally owned equestrian related businesses, hotel accommodations; dining, shopping, and taxes generated resulting in the general support of Aiken.
Bruce’s dream and generosity are undeniable. The Foundation’s implementation and continuous cultivation of the tangible and intangible has yielded another hallmark in the world of equestrian sports, and has provided Aiken with yet another reason to celebrate her equestrian tradition. We are depending on your commitment to also pay it forward and allow us to write The Next Chapter.
His dream; to nurture and develop this property into South Carolina’s premier equestrian facility yet maintain its historic character has been met with enthusiastic reception by the equestrian community.
As stewards of Bruce’s vision, additional permanent barns and a covered arena have been designed and developed by the Foundation with the same level of sensitivity as have the existing structures.
He wanted to build a community resource, a community asset for generations to come. Bruce always tried to do the best he could with his animals, with his friends, and with his competition. We are dedicated to his wishes and committed to taking Aiken Horse Park, Bruce’s Field, to a never ending higher level of attractiveness and of competitiveness.
– Craig J. Duchossois
These specialized tents are expensive to rent and do not provide a comfortable or memorable experience for our exhibitors.
Additional permanent stabling will create a consistency in offerings for all guests to equally experience the hospitality that is the hallmark of Bruce’s Field. The added income provided by permanent stalls yields a long-term revenue stream ensuring that Bruce’s Field and Aiken’s historic horse district will remain strong, vibrant and an asset to the community; as well as honoring Bruce’s vision of creating South Carolina’s premier equestrian facility.
We have the best footing in the country. It can rain buckets or it can be dry and the footing is always the same. The open park like atmosphere of this place really causes horses to take a deep breath, relax and just enjoy their time here. It is very natural for horses. There is nothing artificial about this place.
– Daniel Geitner
but there are no covered arenas in the historic horse district.
The addition of such a facility will benefit both the equestrian and the community at large by providing event hosting not dependent on the weather or time of day.
A covered arena allows for many opportunities to increase the revenue flow ensuring Bruce’s Field’s long term viability.
This versatile mixed use facility further supports Bruce’s dream and the Foundation’s mission “To promote Aiken’s equestrian way of life and to encourage the community’s civic, educational, and charitable endeavors”.
It is a venue that may be used by all disciplines, and it was Bruce’s hope that it would be used by all disciplines.
– Jane Hottensen
as have locations in Florida and North Carolina. The debate as to which location is more accommodating for equestrians is not new. What is new is the infusion of major capital investments by for profit entities into the equestrian infrastructures that are now offered in these alternate locations; investments that position other communities to become the premier equestrian lifestyle destinations of the Southeast.
Since our first horse show in 2015, Bruce’s Field has quietly but steadily impacted the economy of Aiken. Most residents do not realize the thousands of visitors nor the millions of dollars Bruce’s Field infuses into our local economy on an annual basis through the direct use of local equestrian support services and businesses, local hotels and restaurants, utilization of local retail opportunities and the resulting sales, accommodation and hospitality taxes that support education and local municipal projects.
Bruce’s Field has certainly helped keep Aiken relevant in the region, and although we don’t plan to compete with investments in infrastructure on the scale of Ocala and Tryon, we will continue to improve what we do best and be THE park-like venue known for embracing hospitality, old fashioned values and integrity. That said, we cannot simply stand still either, or we risk Aiken and Bruce’s Field being left behind.
Not only did Bruce create a first-class equestrian facility, his legacy continues to support the city that he loved; a city staying true to its heritage to this very day.
We see a movement now to increase our equestrian community with other disciplines, and Bruce’s Field certainly meets those needs in a great way. It gives world class athletes an opportunity to come to our community and compete. It is so amazing watching Olympians and international competitors come to Aiken, fall in love with it, buy homes here and become part of our community. This is a very special place and we feel very blessed for that.
– Mayor Rick Osbon