Temecula, Calif.—Nov. 4—While Liz Halliday had five rails in hand heading into this afternoon’s CCI4*-L show jumping at Galway Downs, she tried to stay focused on giving Cooley Nutcracker the best ride she could in the buzzy atmosphere of the main arena.
In the end, she didn’t need any of that cushion, jumping a clear round to secure the win and the USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship on “Bali,” a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tolant R x Cobra) owned by Halliday, Ocala Horse Properties, Renee Lane, and Deborah Halliday.
“I really, really wanted him to jump a good, class, clear round. My goal was to try and make the time without chasing him for it,” she said. “He’s such a beautiful, classy horse, and he felt very fresh today, which is amazing. That’s exactly what you want for a 10-minute [cross-country] course. I think there were a couple of places I could have maybe ridden a little better, but he was pretty sharp in this atmosphere. He’s just an amazing horse, and I have a great partnership with him now. I’m very excited about how well he took this all in.”
Liz has had a big year with her horses, including coming straight to Galway from Santiago, Chile, where she helped the U.S. team to a silver medal with Miks Master C at the Pan American Games, but she was disappointed in her own performance with three rails down in show jumping that dropped her out of individual medal contention.
“Last weekend was a little disappointing, so it was really fun for the owners to come here and watch their young horse do this. It’s sort of given them the lift that they needed. It’s a wonderful way to finish the season,” she said.
Bec Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses’ 12-year-old British Sport Horse gelding (Vangelis S x Handstreich) Caravaggio II jumped a clear round to finish in second place and will likely be heading to his first five-star next season.
Braitling spent three months in Europe this summer competing, including at the Blenheim CCI4*-L (England) in September, and she’s reaping the rewards.
“I haven’t jumped clean in a four-long, so that was nice,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been working on with him. He’s 12, and I’ve done a lot on him. He’s a good jumper, but he struggles to keep everything together. I was in Europe all summer, and I feel like I gained a lot of experience from that so I could come here and be confident going into the ring.”
Tommy Greengard was all smiles as he finished third in his first CCI4*-L with Joshuay MBF, his own 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Foreign Affair x Fernacchy MBF).
Since Braitling rides for Australia, Greengard earned the reserve championship in the USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship, but the weekend was more about ticking the box of the first CCI4*-L—only the pair’s fourth Advanced start.
“It’s been terrific. It totally exceeded my expectations,” said Greengard, who’s based in northern California. “It was a really longshot goal to get him here this year due to some health issues, and he’s a really special horse, and he’s always been a really special horse. I couldn’t be more grateful he took me around my first four-long this weekend.”
Greengard’s brought the gelding along since he was 5. “He’s taken me through all the levels, and he’s been an amazing horse for us and continues to prove what an amazing horse he is,” he said.
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United States Eventing Association (USEA) members at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention were in for a treat on Friday as the U.S. Eventing Team was on hand to discuss their accomplishments this year at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
“Test the best without hurting the rest,” said show jumping course designer Chris Barnard as he and fellow designer Marc Donovan led a lively discussion for nearly 50 participants at the Show Jumping Seminar on the first day of the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
This afternoon, USEA President Louise “Lou” Leslie welcomed U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors members, USEA staff, and USEA Annual Meeting & Convention attendees to the first of two Board meetings which will take place during this year’s Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, with the teaser that 2024 is going to be full of initiatives for more opportunities to access the eventing experience, some of which attendees might get first wind of during this year’s gathering. The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.
Welcome to the Show Me state and to Area IV USEA members! The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention kicks of tomorrow and features four full days of educational seminars, committee meetings, and social gatherings all with one aim—to bring the eventing community together to continue to improve upon and celebrate the sport that we all love. This year’s Convention takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Marriott St. Louis Grand in downtown St. Louis from Dec. 7-10, and we have rounded up everything you need to know to make the most of your time in the heartland.