AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA - Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Radolin x Argentina XII, by Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday, took the lead after dressage Friday morning with a 28.7 and never looked back. After cruising around Michel Vaillancourt's show jumping course Friday evening, all that stood between the dynamite pair and the top spot on the podium was Capt. Mark Phillips's artfully designed, showcase cross-country course.
The 2200 m track featured 22 jumping efforts and an optimum time of 4:11. Liz and "Blackie" made easy work of the course in a very snappy 3:58. In addition to claiming her share of the $50,000 prize purse, Liz represented the Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS) in the event's Ride for Charity and earned the organization a check for $2,500.
Hometown hero Doug Payne and his mount Vandiver, 15-year-old Trakehner (Windfall x Visions of Grandeur, by Mystic Replica xx) owned in partnership between Doug and Jessica Payne and Debi Crawley, took second place this weekend finishing on their dressage score of 30.8 and moving up from third in the show jumping phase. Back from a minor stifle issue that kept the gelding out of competition most of the past year, "Quinn" and Doug looked better than ever this weekend and earned their Ride for Charity organization, Home 4 Good Dogs a $1,500 check.
Eventing legend William Fox-Pitt made the trip from across the pond to compete in Aiken's first ever eventing showcase. Multiple time Olympic medalist for Great Britain, Fox-Pitt borrowed U.S. rider Chris Talley's top horse, Sandro’s Star, 11-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Sagnol x Poetic Patter xx, by Nostalgia’s Star xx) owned by Hannah Salazar. The gorgeous black stallion and Fox-Pitt were a crowd favorite and clinched the third place finish with a speedy 3:55 cross-country round to finish on their dressage score of 31.3. Mental Health America was the lucky third place charity and came away with a $1,000 check.
The Aiken Horse Park Foundation would like to extend its deepest thanks to everyone who came together to make this weekend possible. We firmly believe the riders, sponsors, officials, volunteers and spectators that were a part of this event are the best the industry has to offer and we are truly touched by all the effort put into making Bruce Duchossois's vision for the park and the Aiken community a reality.
The MISSION of the Aiken Horse Park Foundation is to promote Aiken’s equestrian way of life and to encourage the community’s civic, educational, and charitable endeavors.
There are currently 34 FEI events on the U.S. Eventing calendar for 2021 with the first taking place in mid-March. While all national events in the U.S. follow the USEF Rules For Eventing, international events follow the FEI Rulebook.
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.
In a difficult year for the sport of eventing, it was volunteers like James (Jim) Newman who helped many events stay afloat. Through www.eventingvolunteers.com, Newman recorded a total of 292 hours and 51 minutes of volunteer service in 2020. Newman’s dedication to the sport amidst a pandemic earned him the top spot on the USEA Volunteer of the Year Presented by Sunsprite Warmbloods leaderboard.
Over the past few years, I have gotten to know McKenna Miller and her current horse, Bo Jango (or "Jimbo" as he is known around the barn). I want to share the story of how she got Jimbo, because it has made a positive impact on my life and has inspired me to be a better person and rider with my own horse.