Red Hills International, a popular destination for eventers prepping for Rolex or stepping up a level, announced today that a new cross country course design team has been put in place in preparation for 2016 and beyond.
“Etherington-Smith’s international experience at the highest levels of the sport, combined with O’Connor’s 17 years of experience competing and coaching at Red Hills creates a true dream team,” Marvin Mayer, co-organizer of Red Hills, said in a press release. “Needless to say, Red Hills is extremely proud to have two of the sport’s premier professionals as part of our family.”
Mike Etherington-Smith will take the reins of the CIC3* course design from Hugh Lochore, and David O’Connor will be collaborating for the CIC2* and CIC* courses. Mike has stepped up his involvement in course design this year and is renowned for his design of the courses at both the 2000 and 2008 Olympics as well as the World Equestrian Games in 2010.
A big priority for the new design team is to expand the galloping lanes in an effort to give the competitors more time out in the open while on course.
Another priority will be to improve the footing at the venue, and the team has already been hard at work preparing the footing for next spring. The footing has had lime added and has been added and had top dressing and seed drilling, all of which have already begun to yield positive changes.
Additionally, fiber will be added to the crushed stone base in the arenas with the intent being to give the horses more cushion while competed on the surface.
We’re excited to see these new improvements, as well as the new vision in the cross country courses brought about by Mike Etherington-Smith and David O’Connor. We’ll see you in Tallahassee next spring!