Deniro Z has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the sport with Liz Halliday-Sharp. From his first CIC* in 2015 to his most recent finish at his first four-star at Luhmühlen in Germany a little more than a week ago, “Niro,” has answered every question Halliday-Sharp has asked.
The 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero VDL—Zonne-Trend, French Buffet xx) owned by the Deniro Syndicate moved up to advanced last year and did his first CIC*** at Blenheim (England), where he finished fifth in the 8- and 9-year-old class. He went on to his first CCI*** at Boekelo (the Netherlands), where he was 16th.
This spring, he finished in the top 10 at CIC***s at The Fork (North Carolina), the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International (North Carolina) and Wiesbaden (Germany) before his four-star debut.
“He’s genuinely just a happy horse,” said Halliday-Sharp. “I think he enjoys what we all do, and we’ve always been very good friends, even when I first had him.
“He’s becoming quite demanding because it used to be that [Fernhill By Night] was the big man,” she added. “He somehow knew when he did Boekelo that he’d done something big, and now he knows he’s a superstar. Which he is, obviously!”
We went behind the stall door with Niro and Halliday-Sharp to learn more.
All photos by Lindsay Berreth.
• With his Boekelo and Luhmühlen finishes, Niro has gotten to be a bit of a diva in the barn, whether he’s in Ocala, Florida, over the winter or in England during the summer months.
“He knows he’s a superstar,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He can be quite demanding if the schedule doesn’t go as planned.”
• He goes on the walker every morning, then gets ridden or turned out. “I try to ride him early because he sits there and bangs the door whenever I go past,” she said.
• When he’s excited, Niro likes to flap his lips.
• He gets cheeky at shows.
“He can be a bit of a wild man,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He’s very good in the ring, but you definitely have to watch him. The girls won’t lead him around. I just get on and start trotting if he’s fresh. But he always goes in the ring and performs. He enjoys his job. He’s a very happy horse and enjoys work and is always ready for what’s coming next.”
• At home, Niro enjoys hacks and changing up his routine. “All the horses have a pretty varied schedule. We try not to drill them all the time,” said Halliday-Sharp.
• At shows, Niro enjoys a friendship with Halliday-Sharp’s other advanced horse Fernhill By Night, or “Blackie.”
• Niro likes to play with Halliday-Sharp’s Jack Russell Arnold. “Arnie and Niro wind each other up,” she said. “It’s so funny. He’ll bang the door, and Arnie will run barking at him. Niro will sometimes do it when the dog is going past him just so he’ll run up and start barking at him.”
• Niro enjoys regular chiropractic and physio work and wears an FMBs rug.
• Niro is “a bit of a princess” about rain, and he’s a big fan of bananas.