Wet, soggy mud. Cool shallow water. Tolling, treacherous hills. The ingredients that make the Red Hills Horse Trials one of the most challenging sporting events around.
The end result, a mix of tragedy and endurance. Two horses perish, an Olympic horse rider in the hospital, and countless tales of the great challenges of the 2008 Red Hills Horse Trials.
Competitive horse rider Callie Judy explains, "When I'm riding, I kind of have to think ahead of what I'm going to do at the next jump... If she's spooky at this jump....I'll work extra hard to make sure she gets over it.
Competitive horse rider Meaghan Marinovich says, "Giving my horse enough confidence to get over the bigger fences, and the trickier lines. Being able to jump into crowds without her freaking out, is also a difficulty. The danger of riding is a harsh reality of the trials. So it's imperative for riders to have the course practically memorized."
Fellow horse rider Babette Lenna explains, "The most difficult thing is all the skinny jumps you have to jump. It takes a lot of accuracy, a lot of precision. Good forward positive riding."
Clark Montgomery and Up Spirit trot away the big winner of the annual event. An event comprised of challenges and for this year, a bit too much tragedy as well.