The 20th anniversary edition of Red Hills International kicks off later this week, March 8-11, at Elinor Klapp Phipps Park in Tallahassee. The cross country track is always a sight to see, a mossy-green scenic tour through open spaces and woods of live oak and pine — riders have been known to pick up billowing bridal veils of Spanish moss along the way.
The 2018 edition marks Mike Etherington-Smith’s fourth year as designer of the CIC3* and Advanced courses; the CIC2*, Intermediate, CIC1* and Prelim courses are designed by David O’Conor. Shout-out to builders Tyson Rementer and Levi Ryckewaert for their work in creating a course that melds seamlessly with the landscape.
“Over the last few years I’ve been working with the team here at Red Hills to create as much versatility within the venue as possible, to give the opportunity to turn the course around, do some changes of direction and give a slightly different feel to the course from year to year,” Mike explains.
EN outlined a few of the changes last week, the biggest being that the courses are turned around for all levels. Competitors have other improvements to look forward to as well. “Massive amounts of work have been done by the team here in improving the footing and opening up the rides … it looks so different now to when I first came here,” Mike says.
Let’s have a first look, courtesy of the good folks at CrossCountry App. There is audio from Mike on the CIC3* — thank you for the recordings, Jane Barron! We’ll be along later this week with an updated gallery of the fences, dolled up, flagged and ready for action — Red Hills has already posted a few photos on its Facebook page here.
Elsewhere on the grounds, preparations are well underway! Hosting an event takes a village, and we salute everyone who is hard at work behind-the-scenes this week at Red Hills.
A total of 39 combinations are entered to contest the CIC3*, which will serve as the first major competition on the 2018 calendar for U.S. and Canadian combinations as we look ahead to the World Equestrian Games at Tryon. Click here to view the entry list.
The action starts Friday, March 9 with dressage for all divisions. Both show jumping and cross country will take place for the CIC3* on Saturday, March 10, along with cross country for all other divisions. Sunday, March 11 will feature show jumping for all remaining divisions. Click here for the full schedule.
Tickets for spectators can be purchased on the Red Hills website.