Mar 14, 2024

Halliday Holds the Top 3 Spots At SRF Carolina International CCI4*-S

By Lindsay Berreth - USEA Staff
USEA/Lindsay Berreth photos

Raeford, N.C.—March 14—Liz Halliday’s found the perfect formula to set up her top horses for their spring three-days, and it always includes the Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International.

She’s found herself in a strong position for the win in the CCI4*-S after day 1’s dressage, taking the top three spots aboard Miks Master C (22.5), Cooley Moonshine (25.5), and Cooley Quicksilver (27.1). She also slotted into fifth with Cooley Nutcracker (28.5).

“I always try to come here,” said Halliday. “I really think it sets them up well for big competitions in the future. [Cross-country course designer Ian Stark] always builds a big, solid track with big drops in the water, and that’s a really good experience for horses aiming for Kentucky. I just love this event. Made better by nice weather!”

Liz Halliday and Miks Master C.

Ocala Horse Properties and Deborah Palmer’s 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood Miks Master C (Mighty Magic x Qui Luma CBF) has been working hard at home with Halliday over the winter. She’s been working on changing his frame to be a bit more uphill.

“All winter I’ve just tried to teach him to push from behind and take his nose a little up and out more. It takes time to find the strength, but I think it’s definitely heading the right way,” she said. “I’m still sort of playing around with things and always trying to fine tune things with him. He’s a very, very powerful horse, and he offers a lot of power in the ring. There were definitely a couple of mistakes—the halt and the reinback weren’t our best. Maybe just a few bits of nerves for him since he’s still settling into the season a little bit. I thought the good bits were very, very good—some of the best changes he’s done in a test. He’s really starting to find his self-carriage and his lift, which is great.”

Liz Halliday and Cooley Moonshine.

The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Moonshine, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cobra x Kilpatrick Duchess) had some time off last fall, and today was his first time in the dressage ring since his last start at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, Montana) in July.

“I just adore him,” said Halliday. “I’ve had him from a 5-year-old, and we’ve been through a lot. He’s had a few little setbacks along the way but if we can keep all the wheels on the cart he’s a world-class horse, and he was just such a pro today. I was just thrilled with him. He was so professional and so calm. I was over the moon with him, especially as the first to go.”

While “Billy” isn’t the biggest-moving horse, and he can be a bit hot, but he’s matured into his job over the last couple of years.

“He’s much more relaxed, and he’s learning to really lift and reach through the half passes,” said Halliday. “It’s about just keeping the engine going, keeping him moving from behind.”

Liz Halliday and Cooley Quicksilver.

Cooley Quicksilver, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer x Kylemore Crystal), who’s owned by The Monster Partnership, also had some time off last year, but he’s come out strong this season.

“Sometimes he can go in the ring and do something a little goofy, but he did nothing goofy today which was really exciting!” she said. “He tried really hard, and I was pleased with his paces. He’s a very different horse than my others. He’s his own character. He’s also quite professional now. I’ve had him from a baby as well. I thought it was a good test. He’s become quite a consistent horse which is pretty cool.”

Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Blake.

Caroline Pamukcu slotted in between Liz’s rides to land fourth with her own, Deniz Pamukcu, Mollie Hoff, and Sherrie Martin’s HSH Blake (27.9).

The 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) earned individual gold and team silver with Caroline at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, last October. He’ll be headed towards his first CCI4*-L this spring.

Caroline was disappointed that a fly landed on “Blake’s” neck during their test, which caused some headshaking, but accepted it “was just one of those things.”

Blake’s been doing lots of strengthening work this winter as he moves up to the next level.

“He’s pretty genuine,” said Caroline. “He’s 9 this year. We’ve been doing a lot of strengthening exercises and trot sets and giving him time for his body to develop. There’s no short cuts at this level, so it’s just being patient and letting his body come, and hopefully as you saw today, there were some better movements than last year. I think without the fly latching on to him we would have been low 20s.”

Caroline has recently begun working with her Pan Ams teammate Sharon White, and has enjoyed looking at her program in a different light.

“Both her and I are on the same page, just giving him time to mature. It’s going to be a long year. We’re not trying to peak now,” she said. “I really love her empathy towards horses. A lot of the stuff aligned that I learned at Pippa Funnell’s, and a lot of it aligned with what I saw at the Pan Ams. I’ve known her for my whole life and always looked up to her, and I’ve always enjoyed her horsemanship and her positivity for the horses and for everything. I’m really excited to be working with her and looking forward to the future.”

Like Halliday, Caroline chose Carolina for Stark’s cross-country track. “It’s sad that it’s Ian’s last time at Carolina,” she said, referring to Stark’s announcement that he’s retiring from course designing this year. “I always come to the first show he does of the season because it’s a good kick in the pants to make you think positive and forward and get in the true cross-country mentality because a lot of us get stuck in Florida with the sort of derby courses with no terrain. This is the first proper track with big jumps. It’s nice that you don’t turn back on yourself a million times. It flows really well. I love Ian. I think he’s phenomenal at what he does.”

Show jumping for the CCI4*-S division begins tomorrow at 12 p.m.

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