TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Red Hills International Horse Trials announced that it will end after 25 years.
The announcement was posted both on Facebook and the Red Hills Horse Trials website.
Red Hills has always been a popular event in Tallahassee, welcoming competitors from around the world. It's run by volunteers who worked tirelessly year after year to provide a great community experience to the more than 20,000 spectators.
It was supported by funding from Visit Tallahassee and Leon County Tourist Development.
Chair of the Communication Committee Lori Elliot explained that RHHT must apply with the United States Equestrian Federation every few years.
They were not granted the highest level of rider for 2023-2027, which Elliot said undermines what the event is. Without this, the Olympic riders wouldn't be coming which also means some of the lower level riders they mentor would not be coming.
"It guts our event," Elliot said.
Without knowing how many entries they would have, Elliot said they couldn't take a chance.
"We need about 200 entries to make the event financially viable in addition to sponsorship and the patrons that come in," Elliot said.
With what Red Hills was granted by the USEF, the event would have looked vastly different without having the highest level of riders, so Red Hills asked if they could sit out for a year to plan how to host a new event.
"They said no, if you sit out a year, you still lose everything and have to start from scratch," Elliot said. "Either way, we are out for the next five years. It was a bit outside of our hands."
While anyone can apply to develop a new event, the current event in its current form isn't there, Elliot explained.
"Who knows what the future will hold, but it's really a matter of starting again because it's all volunteer driven," Elliot said. "At this point, I think everybody is just catching their breath because it wasn't something we fully anticipated or expected."
Elliot added that, while she's unsure what the future holds, even if they were to reapply in five years, it would be completely from scratch and, as a full volunteer board, it's difficult to ask people to be on hold for five years.