Liz Halliday-Sharp Defends Her Lead in Ocala Jockey Club CIC3*

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night delivered under pressure at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event, jumping one of the seven clear show jumping rounds inside the time to defend their CIC3* lead and remain on their dressage score of 34.0 here in Reddick, Florida.

“He jumped really super and did everything he needed to do,” Liz said. “I thought I might have been on the cusp of having time faults because I was adding (strides) early on. I had to pick the pace up and get around my corners. I couldn’t have asked him to jump any better. He gave me everything.”

Now that Liz is based back in the States for the winter season, she has reunited with her show jumping coach Richard Picken. Liz and “Blackie,” a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Deborah Halliday, had their first lesson since Kentucky CCI4* with Richard on Monday to get tuned up for Ocala.

“He’s had me working hard on keeping my lower leg strong and sitting up a lot more in my position. I think that has helped the horse’s jump,” Liz said. “Richard is great because he doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. He pinpoints the areas that need work and keeps it simple enough that you can go execute it.”

Hannah Sue Burnett and Cooley Dream. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Hannah Sue Burnett jumped clear rounds on both Cooley Dream and Harbour Pilot to hold second and third places on 40.5 and 41.4, respectively.

Hannah and Cooley Dream, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Jacqueline Mars and Mary Ann Ghadban, have never had a rail down as a combination at international level, and they extended their clear streak to 13 in a row today. In contrast, show jumping tends to be the toughest phase for Harbour Pilot, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned and bred by Jacqueline Mars.

“I am trying to learn to fight for it a little bit more in the show jumping — especially on (Harbour Pilot) — and not just try to make it smooth, because he needs a little bit more help,” Hannah said. “I grew up doing hunters, so I’m used to trying to be really quiet and smooth. The goal for today was to fight for it, and it paid off.”

We saw seven clear rounds inside the time to give us a 22.6% clear rate, according to EquiRatings. Time penalties and rails proved costly, with 13 combinations accumulating time penalties on Chris Barnard’s course (41.9% of the field).

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Katie Ruppel and her own Houdini jumped clear with 1 time penalty to maintain their fourth place position after dressage on 44.1. Phillip Dutton rounds out the top five with the Z Partnership’s Z thanks to a clear round inside the time to remain on their dressage score of 45.1. Click here to view full scores.

Looking to other pairs who delivered clear rounds inside the time, Alyssa Phillips and Bliss III moved from 12th to seventh place on 46.7, Joe Meyer and Clip Clop jumped from 16th to 11th place on 50.8, and Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous leapt from 18th to 12th place on 51.3.

CIC3* cross country starts tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. EST and will be live streamed on EQSportsNet. Stay tuned for much more on all of the CCI2* and CCI1* cross country action from today. Go Eventing.

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