Aiken, S.C.—April 7—Liz Halliday-Sharp has had Cooley Quicksilver from the very start of his career, and while he’s one of the quirkier horses in her barn, the gelding has always been one she can rely on.
“Monster” is aimed at the Luhmühlen CCI5*-L in Germany in June, and Halliday-Sharp brought him to Stable View this weekend to run the feature CCI4*-S division.
After two unusual rails down in his last start at Setters’ Run Carolina International (Raeford, North Carolina), where Halliday-Sharp opted not to run cross-country, the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer x Kylemore Crystal) was back on form today, scoring a 23.9 in dressage for second place, and jumping a double-clear show jumping round to move into first.
“I think we made the right decision [to withdraw at Carolina] because he's such a consistent horse; he doesn't have rails, and he just wasn't really feeling himself, so we did the right thing to save him for another day," said Halliday-Sharp. “I was thrilled with him today. I thought he was very professional, and tried really, really hard. Sometimes he can be a bit of a goof and make some silly, unnecessary mistakes, but he really fought for me today, and I was I was very pleased with the test.”
Buck Davidson and Carlevo took the early lead after dressage on 22.5, but two rails over John Williams’ show jumping course dropped them to a tie for eighth headed into cross-country.
Halliday-Sharp and Monster were one of 10 pairs to jump double-clear. Thirty pairs started both dressage and show jumping, but only 28 will start cross-country tomorrow as Jill Thomas and OBOS Darko were eliminated for two refusals, and Dana Cooke and FE Glamour had a compulsory retirement.
“I thought the course was tough enough for sure,” said Halliday-Sharp, who also rode Land Rover Kentucky-bound Deniro Z, in a tie for 11th, and Miks Master C, in sixth, in the CCI4*-S. “It was kind of annoying to have the same rail down [fence 9A] with Deniro and with Miks Master C. Any horse can have a rail, it was just a bit frustrating. Cooley Quicksilver jumped amazing. It was one of the best rounds he's done. I was really, really pleased with. And he's in a good place—I think they're all in a good place ahead of Kentucky. You know, it's just some days you have a rail, some days you don't. Just need a little more preparation.”
Monster is headed to Kentucky as well but will compete in the CCI4*-S as a prep for Luhmühlen. Halliday-Sharp is looking forward to Captain Mark Phillips’ course tomorrow and plans to ride fast with gelding since that’s what suits him.
“I think the course is quite a different track to Carolina,” she said. “It's quite twisty and some more sort of related questions and skinnies and things like that, which I think is very useful.”
Monster, who’s owned by The Monster Partnership, is a special horse to Halliday-Sharp. “Basically he jumped his very first cross-country jump with me,” she said. “He's a unique animal. Very bendy. Very flexible. Very weird. But actually, he's a real fighter, and he really enjoys his job. He's very, very brave. And you know, he's a very genuine horse and goes out and does the best he can. So, I think he's feeling really great and feeling good about himself, which is where he needs to be to run cross-country.”
Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Annette) that he owns with Kim Baughman and James Baughman, Jr., jumped up from sixth after dressage (26.7) to second with a clear jumping round.
The pair is also headed to Kentucky for the five-star.
“I was really happy with it because I played around—I was trying to hit everything on the numbers or even try to add up one here and there just to make sure he was plenty adjustable before he goes cross-country tomorrow,” he said.
Woods and the gelding had some trouble with control on cross-country at the Mars Maryland 5 Star last fall, so Woods has been working on cross-country schooling at home. He’s looking forward to tackling the cross-country tomorrow.
“It has a lot of good questions that are definitely hard enough, but they're presented in a nice enough way that you can give the horse a lot of confidence doing them,” he said. “There's obviously an inside line that you could be a little bit more aggressive here and there, but that's definitely not the goal with him. So there’s the option in plenty of places to take a little time and give him a nice, confident round where he can play with going forward and coming back.”
Cross-country for the CCI4*-S will start at 12:23 p.m.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.