The first FEI competition of the 2021 U.S. eventing season is upon us at Elinor Klapp Phipps Park in Tallahassee Florida at the 23rd annual Red Hills International Horse Trials. As in years past, the event will offer CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S international divisions and Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced horse trials divisions.
Hallie Coon and Caroline Martin tie for busiest rider of the weekend, each with six rides. Coon has three in the CCI2*-S, one in the CCI3*-S, one in the CCI4*-S, and one in the Advanced and Martin has two in the CCI2*-S, two in the CCI3*-S, one in the CCI4*-S, and one in the Preliminary.
Jennie Brannigan makes up just over 15 percent of the Advanced division on her own with her three rides – FE Lifestyle, Stella Artois, and Twilightslastgleam. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp is the only rider in the Advanced with multiple rides – Cooley Be Cool and Cooley Moonshine.
Colleen Loach and Tamie Smith are tied for the most rides in the CCI4*-S, each with three rides apiece. Loach will compete on Qorry Blue D’Argouges, Vermont, and FE Golden Eye and Smith will compete on En Vogue, No App For That, and Elliot-V.
Tamie Smith and her daughter, Kaylawna Smith-Cook, will compete against each other in the CCI4*-S. They both traveled from their home base in Temecula, California to Florida to train and compete this winter.
The only previous winner of the CCI4*-S at Red Hills returning this year is RF Scandalous (Carry Gold x Richardia), who won the division in 2018 with Marilyn Little. However, Voltaire de Tre came close in 2020 with Leslie Law, finishing second to Sharon White and Cooley On Show.
Passepartout is the only horse in the field besides RF Scandalous that has a CCI4*-S win on their record. He won the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers last fall and was runner-up in the CCI4*-L at Galway Downs shortly after, piloted at both events by Tamie Smith. This weekend, Smith-Cook takes back the ride from her mother.
Another ride of Smith’s, En Vogue, is the only other horse in the field that has come close to winning a CCI4*-S in recent years, taking second in the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers in 2019.
Five finishers from last year’s Red Hills CCI4*-S are back for another crack at it this year: Fernhill Wishes, ridden by Karl Slezak (4th); More Inspiration, ridden by Holly Jacks-Smither (11th); Magnum’s Martini, ridden by Nilson Moreira da Silva (15th); Fernhill Limited Edition, ridden by Alexandra Green (18th); and Islandwood Captain Jack, ridden by Caroline Martin (23rd). Miks Master C, who finished ninth in the CCI4*-S in 2020 with Maya Black, and Reddy or Not, who was 13th in the CCI4*-S in 2020 with Kyle Carter, are both in the Advanced this year.
Riders in the CCI4*-S represent the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil.
Historically, a strong dressage performance has been crucial to a win at Red Hills International. In the last seven years, each winner of the CCI4*-S has been either first or second after the dressage phase.
This year, show jumping will take place on Saturday and cross-country will run in reverse order of standing on Sunday.
Wayne Quarles (USA) will serve as the Technical Delegate (TD) for the CCI4*-S, Advanced, Intermediate, and Preliminary divisions. Gretchen Butts (USA) is the TD for the CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S. Leslie Threlkeld (USA) will be assisting.
The CCI4*-S Ground Jury includes Peter Gray (CAN) and Jane Hamlin (USA). The Ground Jury for the CCI3*-S is Robert Stevenson (USA) and Helen Brettell (GBR), and the Ground Jury for the CCI2*-S is Amanda Miller (USA) and Debbie Rodriguez (USA).
Michael Etherington-Smith and David O’Connor return for their sixth year designing courses at Red Hills. Etherington-Smith will focus on the CCI4*-S and Advanced tracks with O’Connor assisting on the CCI4*-S and also designing the CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, Intermediate, and Preliminary courses.
Chris Barnard is the show jumping course designer for the fifth year in a row.
$30,000 in prize money will be up for grabs across the six levels offered – $5,000 per division.
No spectators will be allowed at Red Hills this year and the event will be observing the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan guidelines and procedures. All those present on-site are asked to wear a mask at all times. Temperatures will be checked daily and different colored wristbands will be issued.
Due to the recently reported case of EHV-1 in Ocala, Florida, all horses will be required to supply three-day health certificates and perform twice-daily temperature checks.
"Too plain" is not a description that fits today's wire-to-wire winner of the Twin Rivers Spring International's inaugural CCI4*-L. But that's what Amber Levine heard five years ago after importing the now 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) as a sales prospect. So, she kept him. His long-delayed debut at the CCI4*-L level proved the wisdom of that decision.
This year’s pre-Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event USEA Official Podcast isn’t a traditional preview show, but rather Host Nicole Brown and the team of Max Corcoran, Rob Burk, and Diarm Byrne are discussing their favorite Kentucky memories as everyone gets giddy for the 2021 event!
At the second-to-last of 40 efforts, "I thought, 'This is actually happening,'" said Amber Levine of a faultless finish with Cellar Farm's Cinzano today to stay on their 31.5 lead going into show jumping tomorrow morning in the Twin Rivers Spring International CCI4*-L. The Jeffs Hot Tub Waves complex at 19 a/b was the awkward exception to a Hugh Lochore-designed course that otherwise "rode great" for the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) in his long-delayed debut at the level. An entirely new portion of the course around the racetrack featured a series of bright-white painted obstacles, but nothing distracted Cinzano's "tunnel vision for those flags." Levine expects a similar game attitude tomorrow and has a rail to spare.
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