Crowds Pack Red Hills International Horse Trials

By: Red Hills International Horse Trials Release
By: Red Hills International Horse Trials Release

Tallahassee, Fla. -- March 17, 2011 --

Sunny skies and perfect temperatures added to the success of Red Hills International Horse Trials, held March 11-13, at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee, Fla. More than 23,000 spectators turned out over the weekend to watch two hundred top riders from
11 countries and 25 states compete in this prestigious United States Equestrian Association (USEA) Adequan Gold Cup event.

Allison Springer and her Irish thoroughbred, “Arthur,” won the CIC three-star competition, with a score of 53.3 points. This was a first Adequan Gold Cup victory for Springer, who rode as an alternate for the U.S. team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG). In addition to prize money and trophies, the 36-year old Virginian was happy to win a year’s lease of a Mercedes!

Asked about her Red Hills experience, Springer replied, “This is a really important event because there are not many competitions that have this sort of atmosphere with the crowd. Especially with a horse like “Arthur” who is a nervous horse; it’s so good for him to come here and get this experience.”

Astride “Neville Bardos,” Australian native, Boyd Martin, who relocated to the United States in 2007 and now resides in West Grove, Pa., came in second place with a score of 54.6. Martin was a member of the 2010 U.S. WEG Team and one of the six WEG riders at RHHT.

Commenting on his first time at Red Hills, he said, “I thought it was a successful weekend; it’s one of the best events in America. It is a very competitive event where we saw the best riders and the best horses get out there and do battle in this Adequan Gold Cup.” Red Hills is one of only seven Gold Cup events sponsored by USEA Adequan.

Perfect Stadium Jumping rounds by Michael Pollard, Chatsworth, Ga. (66.1) and “Iscarius” and Canadian Selena O’Hanlon on “Colombo” (66.2) brought them third and fourth place finishes, respectively. Former Olympic gold medalist Leslie Law and “Rehy Lux” (GBR) moved up into fifth place with 69.6 points after Doug Payne and “Running Order,” knocked off a rail on the penultimate jump and finished sixth. U.S. Olympian Karen O’Conner, The Plains, Va., and a popular “regular” at Red Hills, finished in 7th place in the CIC3* division with 75.7 points.

Vests that work like air bags, and advances in jumps using frangible pins that break apart when hit, as well as cardio-pulmonary monitoring of the horses, were included in the safety precautions
for the second phase of eventing, Cross-country.

“Red Hills has a focused interest in assuring the safety of our cross-country courses while continuing to provide riders with a challenging competition experience,” explained Jane Barron, co-organizer. “The welfare of the horse is of paramount importance at Red Hills!”

The cross-country course was designed by Scotsman Hugh Lochore, who now resides in Tallahassee, and is set in the central area of a 120-acre indigenous plant/horticultural park owned by ecologist and horseman Colin Phipps. The course winds through hilly, wooded terrain and features a variety of formidable obstacles, including banks, ditches and a new water complex, “Huck Finn’s Folly.” Fourteen years ago, when Red Hills began, the original course was designed by Captain Mark Phillips, chef d’ equipe of the United States Eventing Team, and built by Lochore. Eric Bull is the current course builder.

In addition to the three phases of Eventing competition, Dressage, Cross-country and Stadium Jumping, spectators can also enjoy the Red Hills Avenue of Shops, Saddlers’ Row, the Red Hills Food Court and a variety of exhibits, educational demonstrations, and special activities for children. Park and botanical tours are conducted and the Parade of the Live Oak Hounds is an annual attraction during Stadium Jumping.

“We have more than 400 volunteers and they are the backbone of our event,” stated Marvin Mayer, Red Hills co-organizer. “This year our theme was a “Salute” to the wonderful support from our community......sponsors and volunteers, and of course, to the terrific competitors.”

Many of the volunteers have been involved since the inception of Red Hills in 1998. This year, Lane Walker, a high school student, joined the crew, and for his Eagle Scout project, raised the money for, and worked with Hugh Lochore, to build one of the new cross-country jumps on the Advanced course.

Donations of $15 per day are charged for admission to Red Hills, with children under 12 admitted free. A non-profit organization, RHHT has donated $350,000 to its charitable beneficiaries, Tall Timbers Research Foundation, Inc. and Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park over the years. Proceeds for the 2011 event are unavailable at this time.

For complete scores for all divisions of competition, Preliminary, Open Preliminary, Advanced, CCI*, CCI** and CCI***, and to learn more about Red Hills International Horse Trials, please see
www.rhht.org.


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