Red Hills Horse Trials Begin

While football may rule around here, equestrian sports are second only to soccer in popularity worldwide.

And that excitement is spreading in the Capital City.

The 14th Red Hills Trials began Friday morning.

This international competition shows off the spirit, courage, and athleticism of the rider and horse.

Riders say it takes endless hours of training to get there.

Dressage is commonly referred to as "horse ballet." Those watching at the Red Hills Horse Trials say it is quite the performance.

Nina McKissozk is visiting from Philadelphia. She said, "I especially love the horses. They're just like human beings. They have so many different personalities and confirmation and how much heart and willingness and athleticism they have. So, it's a joy to look at the wonderful animals and the riders."

The competitive event dressage, which shows off the horse's natural athletic ability and training, kicked off the 14th Red Hills Horse Trials at the Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee Friday.

Nearly 200 horses and riders from across the world are competing in the weekend-long trials.

Six of the eight riders who represented the USA at the 2010 World Equestrian Games are at Red Hills, among many other Olympic-caliber riders.

Elizabeth Iorio is coaching the Venezuelan team for the Pan American Games with her young horse, "Iron Cowboy."

Iorio said, "He's a future horse. He's learning and getting better and it's quite exciting to watch them grow. But this is the time where you look for progress, not perfection."

Before the competition, there is a lot of preparation for the rider and the horse.

Red Hills Rider Randy Ward from Boston, Massachusetts said, "Make sure they get the right nutrition and giving them good exercise; make sure they get the proper grass and all that kind of stuff."

Iorio added, "Red Hills has been absolutely extraordinary."

18,000 to 25,000 people are expected to come to Red Hills this weekend.

One family enjoying the day Friday is the perfect example of how Red Hills if for any and everybody. The family members said they don't know anything about riding or competition. But, they came out anyway just to enjoy the view.

Red Hills continues Saturday, March 12th, with cross-country from 8am to 5pm and the final phase on Sunday features the talent and beauty of show jumping over colorful obstacles in an arena.

For more information, go to the Red Hills section at the top of this homepage.

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