Allentown, N.J.—May 8
Two weeks ago Liz Halliday-Sharp wasn’t quite sure what she’d have as she headed out onto cross-country at the inaugural Land Rover Kentucky CCI4*-S with Cooley Moonshine.
She’s been working on rideability and finding the right controls on cross-country, and with a difficult course and pouring rain, things could have taken a turn for the worse.
But “Billy” stepped up, finishing third, and Halliday-Sharp headed into this weekend’s Jersey Fresh International CCI4*-S full of confidence in the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cobra—Kilpatrick Duchess, Kings Master).
The pair were second after dressage on 25.6, jumped a double-clear show jumping round this morning, and added 7.2 time penalties over Morgan Rowsell’s cross-country course this afternoon to take the win.
“He was outstanding this weekend in all three phases,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He’s a brilliant jumper, and he’s very brave. He’s also very, very strong, so it’s taken awhile to get him figured out. I’d say we’re still working on the controls and everything, but today was definitely the best rideability I’ve had. I was really pleased with how the whole course went. That was the main goal, just keep learning and getting him sorted out for the future because he’s only a 9-year-old, and this is his first season at advanced. I still had a few moments where he kind of ran through the bridle a little bit, but he’s very careful and very brave, so that makes a difference.”
Halliday-Sharp’s had Billy, who’s owned by the Monster Partnership, since he was 5, and she’s enjoyed forging a partnership with him.
“He’s quite a blood horse. He can be a bit hot and a bit nervous and a bit wild in the jumping phases, so it’s taken a bit of work with that, but he’s always been massively talented,” she said. “He did Le Lion [young horse championships] as a 6- and 7-year-old and finished third and second there in tough conditions, so he’s a real fighter, and he’s one I always thought would be a super five-star horse and hopefully a team horse. I’ve just kind of taken my time this year to figure him out a little and get the brakes sorted out and all that. I think we’re finally starting to get somewhere, which is exciting.”
Halliday-Sharp was happy to have a good time at her first Jersey Fresh; she’s lived in England for the past 20 years full-time, but has moved back to the states permanently, basing in Lexington, Kentucky, and Ocala, Florida.
“It was fun to have some people back out,” she said. “I thought we were very lucky with the weather today, and the ground felt really good, so I thought that was really great for all of us. It’s a twisty track, but it wasn’t horrendous. It was better to ride than expected from what I’d heard about how it can be here.”
She’s taking her time with Billy, waiting for the fall for a four-star long, possibly Boekelo (the Netherlands) with the Connaught Grant she won in 2019. “He’s not one I want to go around for the sake of it,” she said. “I think hopefully we’re heading the right way. This is by far the best he’s ever gone. I think Kentucky was brilliant for him. I think that 4*-S was the making of him. He was there for the whole week, and he got in all the atmosphere, and it’s just a lot going on. They have to settle in. That course was a lot in the pouring rain, and he just came out even better.”
For full results, click here.
The Chronicle of the Horse will be on-site all weekend for the Jersey Fresh International bringing you reports from each round of competition, beautiful photos and stories from the competitors. Follow along with all of our coverage here, and be sure to read our June 7 issue for more in-depth coverage and analysis of the event.