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2011 Red Hills Horse Trials Preview

In two weeks, hundreds of people from all over the globe will be right here in our own back yard.

Organizers are just about ready for the 2011 Red Hills Horse Trials.

Two years ago, organizers canceled Red Hills because of the economy. But, this year, they say they're back at 100 percent.

The course has been redesigned.

It's quiet now on the 120-acre Phipps Farm. But, it will be a different story come March 11th.

Olympic equestrians from across the world will converge on Tallahassee for the annual Red Hills Horse Trials.

18,000 to 25,000 spectators are expected to travel to witness the international competition.

One of the organizers, Jane Barron, said, "They come not knowing what to expect and they really become enthralled. Many of them will have a favorite horse, pretty color, just like the looks of the rider and they'll follow that horse and rider pair all through the weekend and really get behind that rider and cheer like crazy."

The main feature this year will be the new water complex.

The center area here will be filled with water.

It's newly designed to be opened up to allow up to eight ways of jumping it, using what's called frangible fences, or Dora logs.

The logs are made of Styrofoam. So, if a horse makes the mistake of missing his jump, when the horse hits the log, the log breaks apart, allowing the horse and his rider to safely walk away.

Hugh Lochore is the designer of the course. He said, "When the first horse goes around, I tend to hide behind a tree and close my ears and my eyes. Then, someone will tap me on my shoulder and tell me the first horse went clean. Once the first horse clears, I'm okay. It's a pretty cool spectacle."

With 200 horses and their riders, Red Hills is always a huge economic impact to our region.

Organizers say they don't have hard numbers, but say when you have hundreds of people spend money on hotels and food down to gas and horse feed, it's significant.

Red Hills is March 11th-13th.

We are airing a half-hour preview called "The World of Eventing" here on WCTV Saturday, February 26, at 7:30pm.

Eyewitness News will also have live coverage and special reports throughout the weekend of the event.


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