Liz Halliday-Sharp was out for redemption this year at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event. Last year she was leading the CIC3* after dressage and show jumping, but a 20 on cross-country but a kibosh on her win. With a clear cross-country round and just 2.8 time penalties, Halliday-Sharp took home the win with Fernhill By Night, the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentina XII) she co-owns with her mother, Deborah Halliday.
“I was nearly more nervous here than I have been at all the events he’s done in Europe, which were probably collectively harder courses throughout,” said Halliday-Sharp. “But I suppose having had a mistake last year and being back home again, it’s hard to go out when you’re in the lead.”
“But Blackie’s been amazing this year. He’s really been brilliant everywhere he’s been. I just kept thinking to myself, he’s done a lot of hard questions this year, and he’s good enough to do this. He was absolutely fantastic through all the tough questions like the corners and the angled brushes. He was perfect there. I was really proud of him,” continued Halliday-Sharp.
Halliday-Sharp and Blackie have been together for six seasons and this year Halliday-Sharp changed the plan for the now 15-year-old gelding including running him less and no longer does CCIs with him. In fact this run is Blackie’s first event in three months. While Blackie has had a checkered cross-country record, this new plans seems to be paying off. “When he comes out now to an event, he’s really excited to be there—pumped to be at the party. He knows he can do a good job. I actually think that was part of it. Getting him to that place where he’s like, ‘I know I can do this, I’m the big man, a super star.’”
“The horse deserves this because we’ve had a long time together, and he’s never won a three-star. This is his time to win, so I’m very happy for him,” concluded Halliday-Sharp.
While Halliday-Sharp maintained her top spot on the leaderboard, the CIC3* cross-country shuffled the placings quite a bit. Jonathan Holling moved up from fourth to second with Avoca Druid, Team Rebecca LLC’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (King's Master x Knockanree Nell).
Jacob Fletcher had a fall off his first CIC3* ride, so set off on his second determined to finish with a clean round. Fletcher and Bacardi W, Fletcher Farms’ 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Good Times x Sjerlette W) put in the fastest round of the day – crossing the finish line with just 2.4 time penalties.
Phillip Dutton filled fourth and fifth with Fernhill Singapore and Fernhill Fugitive respectively. The remainder of the division all ran into trouble with Felix Vogg, Katherine Coleman, and Nilson Moreira Da Silva all having runouts at the same double brushes that were a bogey on yesterday’s CCI3* course.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.
Get to know each United States Eventing Association (USEA) Areas a little better in this new series, Meet the Areas! This month’s feature is USEA Area I which is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Founded in the 1960s, Area I was the birthplace of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) which was founded in 1959 and would later evolve into the USEA in 2001. In 2021 just under 800 members made up the membership count in Area I.
Trainers, riders, parents, and more are in for a real treat when the all-new USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is officially released. Those participating in the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first to set eyes on this all-encompassing guide that has been two years in the making.
The USEA established the Young Event Horse (YEH) program in 2004 to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition to, with proper training, excel at the uppermost levels of the sport. While the goal of the YEH program is to identify horses that will be successful at the four- and five-star levels, horses with the potential for lower-level success are also showcased by the program.