Tallahassee, FL - 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 2007, 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.
Red Hills is named for the sloping terrain and rich red earth known as the “red hills” of North Florida and South Georgia. The international horse trials features a challenging cross-country course newly updated and highlighted by an impressive new water compound. It was designed by
Scotland’s Hugh Lochore, a former three-day event competitor. The course, which was originally built by Lochore in 1998 under the direction of Capt. Mark Phillips, is set in the central area of a120-acre indigenous plant/horticultural park owned by Tallahassee ecologist and horse
enthusiast Colin Phipps. It features a variety of formidable obstacles, including water, banks and ditches which wind through Phipps’ arboretum. Eric Bull has been building the course since 2008.
Four dressage rings, a challenging stadium course, good stabling, the “Red Hills Avenue of Shops,” “Saddlers’ Row,” Red Hills Food Court, and a variety of exhibits, educational demonstrations and park and botanical tours are staged on adjoining Northwest Florida Water Management District land known as the Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park.
For more information, and for Press Credential forms, see www.rhht.org.