Organizers of the Red Hills Horse Trials and CIC***/** announced yesterday, Feb. 4, that a lack of entries has forced the cancellation of the competition.
Slated for March 13-15, the popular event in Tallahassee, Fla., was an integral part of the East Coast spring calendar. But serious accidents and course-design controversy plagued the event last year, and the economic downturn has had a significant impact on sponsorship.
“It is with extreme sadness that we must cancel the 2009 trials,” said organizer Jane Barron in a press release on the U.S. Eventing Association’s website. “Fundraising has been difficult in the current economic environment…and we cannot reasonably anticipate the economic viability of the event in 2009. We have currently shifted our efforts toward 2010 and the successful kickoff of the Continental Cup Series.”
The new CIC*** series was proposed to include Red Hills, Galway Downs (Calif.), The Fork (N.C.) and Rebecca Farm (Mont.).
With the Red Hills CIC off the calendar, riders may have difficulty qualifying for CCI competitions later in the spring. The next East Coast CIC, held at The Fork Stables in North Carolina, will take place in early April.
“We are very sad for our friends at Red Hills, but we understand why they made the decision to cancel,” said The Fork’s owner, Jim Cogdell, in the same press release. “It is a possibility that The Fork will have to consider also. We hope to get a strong entry on opening date so that we can meet the expenses that are incurred by putting on an event. I know this is a concern of every organizer in the country right now. If we do not get the required number of entries we will have no alternative but to cancel this year.”