The Red Hills International Horse Trials (RHHT) is arguably North Florida's premiere equestrian event that attracts competitors from around the world and spectators from around the U.S. each year - and it's held right here in Tallahassee's own Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park. This prestigious event, named for the sloping terrain and rich red earth known as the "red hills" of north Florida and south Georgia, features a challenging cross-country course, dressage and stadium jumping. Competitors come from 28 states and 11 countries to display their skills in front of world-renowned judges and to earn their place in other little competitions like, oh, the Summer Olympics! It takes more than 400 volunteers to pull off the 3-day springtime event.
Celebrating 15 years in 2012, RHHT is about much more than just competition for the riders or entertainment for the spectators. The event has a comprehensive four-part mission, which is to conduct a nationally recognized "combined training event" to:
- increase awareness of and educate the public about eventing;
- promote cooperation among horse enthusiasts;
- promote the concept of resource protection, land and greenspace preservation, and land management; and
- raise funds to benefit non-profit organizations with compatible educational and environmental purposes (donated over $325,000 to beneficiaries over the past 13 years).
What exactly is "eventing," you ask? According to RHHT: Eventing is one of the fastest growing equestrian pursuits in the world. Riders of all ages and abilities can compete. Developed from cavalry competitions during the early 1900s, it is the ultimate challenge for horse and rider. It tests their partnership and athletic prowess over three days, in three disciplines: the grace and harmony of dressage; the rigors and thrills of cross-country jumping over natural obstacles; and the power and pageantry of show jumping.
The event also includes an Avenue of Shops with vendors from around the country, as well as exhibits and tours of the area - so there really is something for everyone at RHHT.
Check out the official RHHT website for updates on the next event.
Red Hills Horse Trials slideshow is courtesy of Bob Howard.