The Plains, Va.—Aug. 23
Liz Halliday-Sharp knows that in eventing, sometimes you’re winning, and sometimes you’re on the ground—it’s just part of the sport.
During today’s cross-country at the MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S, she got to experience both of those, as she took a tumble from Flash Cooley, one of her four rides in the division, but dusted herself off and went on to speed to the win with Deniro Z, finishing on her dressage score of 24.2, which was a personal best.
“I’m not worried,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He’s a super horse. It’s disappointing, but it’s part of our sport. Sometimes you fall on your ass, then pick it up and carry on!”
Halliday-Sharp was the last to go on Deniro Z, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Zapatero—Zonne-Trend, French Buffett xx) owned by Ocala Horse Properties and the Deniro Syndicate, and she knew she’d have to go double-clear to stay ahead of Will Coleman and Off The Record, who’d added a rail to their score this morning but finished under the time on cross-country.
“I wasn’t totally sure if I would be able to do it because I knew how fast Will was, and when he had a rail, I thought, well, it’s on, because he’s so fast, and he had an absolutely mega cross-country round,” said Halliday-Sharp. “I was in the warm-up and heard he went inside the time and was like, ‘Right then. Let’s get this done.’ He’s such a wonderful horse. He just tries so hard, and we have such an amazing partnership now.”
Great Meadow got a heavy thunderstorm yesterday afternoon that made the ground soggy and deep in places. As a result, and with this being the first CCI4*-S to run since the COVID-19 shutdown, only five pairs out of 60 to start made the optimum time of 6 minutes 45 seconds over David O’Connor’s course.
Five pairs picked up 1 or more jumping penalties, and there were three retirements and two rider falls—Halliday-Sharp from Flash Cooley and Jennie Brannigan from Bliss III, but both riders and horses walked home.
“I was maybe a bit chancey in a few places and had a few sketchy ones, but for the most part, it was a good round, and I just really had to get the job done,” said Halliday-Sharp. “Speaking from someone who’s spent a lot of time in England and Europe, I thought the ground held up amazingly well. I thought it was going to be really, really wet. It was a bit sticky in places, so the horses got a bit tired, but for the most part it was really good.”
Halliday-Sharp and “Niro” were fourth after dressage, and when the leaders after show jumping, Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, added some time to their score today, the door was open.
“There’s still a few little things that could be better in the dressage, but still, he did a personal best, which is really, really great,” she said. “The show jumping was one of the best rounds we’ve ever had, so I was thrilled with that.”
Halliday-Sharp is hoping to wrap up her season at the new Tryon CCI4*-L in November.
To watch the livestream visit https://horseandcountry.tv/en-us/.