17 February 2011

Red Hills International Horse Trials Scheduled for March 11 - 13

We had the pleasure of covering the Red Hills Horse Trials the first two years of it's existence.  It is an absolutely beautiful horse trials set in a absolutely lovely facility and run by a great group of folks to benefit a worthy charity. For those of us from the northern areas, the course seems exotic -- loaded with lush vegetation,  hanging moss, all set in a deep coastal forest loaded with tall pines.  

The Red Hills course, originally designed by Mark Phillips has changed over the years... "This year’s RHHT cross-country course was designed by internationally-renowned Scottish designer Hugh Lochore, who now calls Tallahassee home. According to Lochore, the 2011 course is “more flowing, puts the jumps on better footing and should be more spectator-friendly.” He is also very enthusiastic about the new water jump complex created this year."

Perhaps it's not the place to be in a Tornado - as happened to us the first year running.  But if you haven't yet taken a trip to Tallahassee for Red Hills, consider doing so in March. It's definitely worthy of a road trip, not to mention a ride! ~ ed

Here's a little Promo Video from Red Hills... 

Updated: 2011-02-16
From Red Hills
As it gears up for 2011, Red Hills International Horse Trials salutes all who made possible last year’s success following an economy-driven year’s hiatus! Entries have been pouring in for this prestigious and eagerly-anticipated event scheduled for March 11 -13, at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park, Miller Landing Road in Tallahassee, Fla. Once again, top riders and horses throughout the country and around the world are expected.

This year’s combined training event is key for many major competitors aspiring to the 2012 Olympics which will be hosted by Great Britain. Also, Red Hills will kick off the 2011 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, one of seven prestigious events in that competition.

This year’s RHHT cross-country course was designed by internationally-renowned Scottish designer Hugh Lochore, who now calls Tallahassee home. According to Lochore, the 2011 course is “more flowing, puts the jumps on better footing and should be more spectator-friendly.” He is also very enthusiastic about the new water jump complex created this year.

Red Hills has grown in prestige throughout the equestrian world since its inception in 1998. More than 25,000 spectators come out to watch the popular competition among top riders who praise the hospitality and community support they experience in Tallahassee. A mark of Red Hills’ credibility in the equestrian world is the fact that last year it was chosen as the initial site to carry out two new programs designed to promote safety in the sport-- a cardio/pulmonary study of the horses and a global education program for eventing officials. A cadre of veterinarians and officials from around the United States and abroad were present to assist with these initiatives which will continue in 2011, along with some new safety measures, air vests for riders, and jumps designed to break apart upon heavy contact.
Jane Barron, co-organizer of Red Hills, states “we are excited to have been asked to participate in these creative new scientific and educational programs which will make Eventing even safer for all horses and competitors. And we look forward to the 2011 Horse Trials being the best yet, thanks to our many generous sponsors and more than 500 volunteers. Indeed, we salute them all!”

Red Hills competition will begin at 8:00 a.m. each day of the weekend and will last until late afternoon. Spectators can also enjoy the Red Hills Avenue of Shops, concessions, educational exhibits and special activities for children. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed at all times. The stable area is off-limits to spectators who are asked to stay within the designated viewing areas for all competitions.

Shuttles will be available to transport visitors to the competition arenas each day. Donations of $15 per adult per day are suggested, or $25 for a three-day pass. Children under 12, accompanied by an adult, are admitted free. Members of Club Red Hills will receive free admission to the Horse Trials as well as an official program. (The fifty dollar membership fee also includes a membership card, window decal plus a discount in the Red Hills Outfitters Store).

A non-profit organization, Red Hills Horse Trials has donated $325,000. to its charitable beneficiaries, Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park and the Tall Timbers Research Foundation, Inc. over the years.
Red Hills Will Field Six USA Riders from the World Equestrian Games!

Red Hills International Horse Trials is proud to announce that six of the eight riders who represented the United States at the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) will be competing at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park, Tallahassee, Florida the weekend of March 11 -13. More than 25,000 spectators are expected to attend the popular event which is once again an Adequan USEA Gold Cup Qualifier.
U.S. Team members Buck Davidson, Boyd Martin, and Phillip Dutton, along with Individuals Becky Holder and Karen O’Conner, and Alternate Allison Springer have entered Red Hills and will be bringing several horses to compete in the various divisions. They are beginning their long road toward qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London. Red Hills takes place early in the annual Eventing circuit, and is a favorite among competitors who praise Hugh Lochore’s
challenging cross-country course as well as Tallahassee’s welcoming hospitality. RHHT organizers’ theme for this year’s horse trials is “Red Hills Salutes Tallahassee,” a tribute which includes the supportive community, the sponsors as well as eventing enthusiasts.

With entries still pouring in, the appeal to international riders is apparent. Returning to Red Hills is Kyle Carter, who rode with Canada’s Silver Medal team, and Jose Ortelli, who represented Argentina at the WEG. Sixty countries participated in the World Equestrian Games, held in the United States for the first time, at the Kentucky Horse Park last fall. More top international riders and horses are expected to enroll before RHHT entries close at the end of this month.

Phillip Dutton, who placed second and Allison Springer, fifth, at Red Hills last year are returning along with other RHHT 2010 winners, Mara DuPuy (first place), Bonnie Mosser (third), and William Coleman (fourth). Fresh from her participation at WEG as an Alternate, Allison, with an A-rated United States Pony Club ranking, is bringing three horses and looking forward to this year at Red Hills as she pursues her goal of making the U.S. Olympic team.

Phillip Dutton, a native of Australia, represented his country in three Olympics and four World Championships before becoming an American citizen and changing his competitive nationality in 2006. Prior to the WEG, he represented the United States on the Gold Medal winning team and was Individual Silver Medalist at the 2007 Pan American Games. In 2008, he made his debut on the U.S. Olympic Three Day Team at the Olympics in Hong Kong where the team placed 7th. He is very active on the U.S. eventing circuit, winning the U.S. Eventing Association’s Leading Rider of the Year title twelve out of 13 years.. He dedicates a good deal of his time to coaching other riders, many of whom have represented the U.S. on championship and international teams. He is bringing seven horses to Red Hills.

Buck Davidson is a familiar sight at Red Hills where he has competed, together with his renowned father, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Davidson, since the early days of the Tallahassee event. Buck and “My Boy Bobby” were winners of the CIC** here in 2007. Many competitions later, he was named #2 Ranked Rider of the Year in 2009 and 2010. He is bringing to Red Hills “Ballynoecastle RM,” the horse he rode in the WEG, along with other horses.

Karen O’Connor is bringing four horses to Red Hills including “Mandiba”, her WEG horse, to compete in the CIC *** division in which they finished sixth last year. Both represented the United States on the 2008 Olympic Team in Hong Kong. A loyal supporter of Red Hills, Karen and her husband, David O’Connor (Olympic Gold Medalist and current coach of the Canadian Team), have been to Red Hills many times and have donated their talents to the organizers’ efforts.

In 200, Australian native Boyd Martin relocated to America with his wife, Silva Martin, a Grand Prix dressage rider who is originally from Germany and now rides for the USA. For the first two years here, Boyd was employed as assistant trainer to Olympic Gold Medalist Phillip Dutton. He changed his citizenship two years ago and in 2010 was named a member of the U.S. Eventing Team’s “A” training list and was on his way to the WEG, his first U.S. team selection. He capped off last year with a top-ten finish at the Pau CCI **** in France, his first European competition. Boyd finished 2010 ranked 5th on the international HSBC FEI Rider of the Year rankings, 3rd overall on the US Eventing Association’s Rider of the Year Leader Board and was the USEA Preliminary Rider of the Year. He is a returning competitor at Red Hills.

Becky Holder, ranked 12th in the nation in 1999, was discovered by Karen and David O’Connor and spent three years training with them on their Virginia farm. She also trained with Capt. Mark Phillips, Chef d’ Equipe of the United States Eventing Team, and is returning to Red Hills where he designed the original cross country course. She has been involved with horses her entire life, serving as whipper-in for the Leavenworth Hunt in Kansas for 11 years. The U. S.’s only  Individual combination, Becky Holder and “Courageous Comet” stood third overall at the WEG following the cross-country phase, but withdrew in the holding box at the third horse inspection because the horse had lost a front shoe and was thought by the veterinarians to have over-compensated in the opposite leg.

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