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Saddling Up for Trials

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

It's time to saddle up and get ready for the Red Hills Horse Trials! It's not only bringing horseback riding Olympians to Tallahassee, but about 25,000 spectators as well.

It looks beautiful and very, very difficult. Let's just say the Red Hills Horse Trials isn't exactly for the novice rider.

The scenery: picture perfect. The horse: seems to be in good shape. The rider: let's say she's in for a surprise, because this course doesn't get its world-class status for nothing.

It's a confidence builder for the horse. That's what Martha Little says as she takes us on a ride through the championship course designed for the best equestrians.

“Red Hills is one of the best competitions because of the way it’s organized and because of the course,” says Martha.

A course that includes 30 jumps ranging in difficulty. Known to many as the cross-country course, these obstacles are not for beginners. As the course nears its end they approach “devil’s triangle”. Most will breeze through it, but myself, I don't think so!

It's a sport requiring stamina and trust between the horse and rider. It's what the people love to see and it's why thousands flock to the capital city year after year.

Many call the horse trials a triathlon. That's because day one is the dressage: a French word meaning training. Day two is cross-country and day three is stadium jumps. It all starts Friday.

In the past the rain clouded the event. Even if it does rain, riders say the ground is perfect for horses. With the combination of clay and sand, they can keep their footing.


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