May 14, 2023

Halliday-Sharp Checks Another Box With Tryon International CCI4*-L Win

By Lindsay Berreth - USEA Staff
Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Nutcracker. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photos

Mill Spring, N.C.—May 14With five international wins to her name already in 2023 and 13 last year, it’s hard to believe Liz Halliday-Sharp hasn’t won a CCI4*-L before, but she was able to tick off that box this morning at the Tryon International CCI4*-L on Cooley Nutcracker.

The pair led all weekend, and Halliday-Sharp was thrilled that “Bali” was able to complete his first CCI4*-L and get a little redemption after a rider fall on cross-country at last year’s Tryon CCI4*-L in November.

Today’s clear show jumping round was another big accomplishment for Halliday-Sharp.

“I’ve been here a few times, and I finally got the monkey off my back, because I’ve been in the lead here or at least in a position to win, at least twice here and had the last fence down, so I’m quite pleased to jump clear and win,” she said.

The pair only had .2 penalties in hand over Jacob Fletcher and Fabian, and when they jumped clear, Halliday-Sharp really felt the pressure.

“It’s good for all of us riders to ride under this kind of pressure when there’s not even a time fault in hand. I think you’ve got to do that more often. It’s good to be in that place and get better at it,” she said. “He’s a phenomenal horse. I’m really thrilled with him. He really deserves it. He’s a very exciting horse for the future. He came out today like he’d done nothing yesterday and jumped his socks off in there.

“The pressure was definitely on, and I was a little bit slow early on in the course, so I was like, ‘Right Halliday, you’re going to have to do the seven off the triple [combination] or you’re going to have a time fault,’ and I didn’t even have a time fault in hand,” she continued. “But he just eats the ground. What a wonderful horse. I’m excited for him. I’m excited for his owners, and hopefully this will be enough to take him to the Pan Ams.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Nutcracker.

The 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Tolant R x Ballyshan Cleopatra), who’s owned by Halliday-Sharp, Deborah Halliday, and Ocala Horse Properties, will likely do another CCI4*-L in the fall if he doesn’t go to the Pan Ams.

“He’s a horse that just needs a little more time,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He’s strong, and he’s bold, and he gives a lot in his jump, and I need him to settle into his scope a little more before I present him at even bigger jumps. I believe he’s a five-star winner one day, but I’d rather let him find his way.”

Halliday-Sharp added a special shout out to event organizers for their work on the cross-country footing this weekend.

“The event worked really hard to give us the best ground they could when it was quite dry, and I commend them for that,” she said. “I always know there will be decent ground. That’s one of the reasons I come back to Tryon.”

Jacob Fletcher and Fabian.

Fletcher couldn’t help but pump the air when he crossed the finish line with Fletcher Farm’s Fabian, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Up To Date x Ineke).

“He’s a little bit of a spooky horse, so he can peek at jumps every now and then, but we’re really clicking together,” he said. “I think we’ve developed a really good partnership the last 12 months. I’m getting more and more comfortable in the ring. He’s never had a lot of rails, but he’s had a few clears in a row at the four-star level. It was a great weekend, the whole thing.”

Boyd Martin and Commando 3.

Boyd Martin maintained his third place with a clear round on Yankee Creek Ranch’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Connor 48 x R-Adulgunde) Commando 3. He also finished sixth with Bonnie Stedt’s 10-year-old Hanoverian mare Miss LuLu Herself (Stolzenfels x Noisette). Both were completing their first CCI4*-Ls.

“Both LuLu and Connor came out fresh as a daisy after cross-country, and they both show jumped fantastic, so I’m very pleased to have two in the top group of finishers," Martin said. "I really felt like this event was a building block as these horses head towards a five-star. Both of them are high-quality horses, and I feel like doing another four-long on them will really build them up for the future.”

Martin was a fan of Marc Donovan’s show jumping course in the main stadium today in which six of 12 starters jumped double-clear.

“I think the quality of the horses and the standard of riding is just getting better and better,” he said. “I walked the show jumping and thought it was really up to standard. The horses jump well on that footing, and it was a well-designed course. I feel like the horses recovered well, and the good ones came out and jumped super today.”

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