Red Hills Horse Trials Start

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TALLAHASSEE - The annual Red Hills Horse Trials kick off this weekend at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee.

Organizers are banking on spectators to bring in big bucks for the community.

"Tallahassee is well known, especially in equestrian world," said Tom Barron, chairman for the event. "But, frankly, internationally it's got a name and reputation that it didn't have 10 years ago."

Organizers hope its new reputation brings in a big crowd. Over the next three days they expect 40,000 people to come watch riders and their horses in action.

"Cross country is my favorite one, but mostly it's just the horses," said 10-year-old Grace Sweeny, who came to watch the races.

It's obviously all about the horses, but people who come here say there's a whole lot more to do then just watch the competition.

"I bought a t-shirt and a hat, a little baby shirt for my friends little baby, see how cute," said Holly Treace, who took a break from the trials to do a little shopping.

Dozens of vendors set up shop for the weekend. They estimate local and out-of-town spectators will spend a few million dollars at the trials and exploring the rest of Tallahassee.

"Some is spent with the event itself, which then turns around and spends it on the community for all the services and products that are needed to put the show on," Barron said.

"It's just fun," Treace said. "It's good to be out here enjoying the nice weather, and it's a cool thing in Tallahassee to do."

Organizers hope that outlook will keep bringing in the bucks and keep Tallahassee's reputation growing.

Professors at FSU will conduct a study this weekend to see exactly how much the trials really do impact the local economy.