Liz Halliday-Sharp is dominating the CCI4*-S at Carolina International, holding the lead on 27.9 after show jumping with Fernhill By Night and moving up to second on 29.5 with Deniro Z thanks to delivering clear rounds with both horses.
Marc Donovan’s course always shakes up the leaderboard at Carolina, and 17 of the 43 pairs in the CCI4*-S jumped clear rounds inside the time to give us a 40% clear rate. Last year’s winners Doug Payne and Vandiver dropped one rail to slip from second place after dressage to fifth.
“Now I’ve been here enough that I know you have to keep moving no matter what,” Liz said of Marc’s show jumping track. “I had some help from Richard Picken in warm-up and he really knows those horses now, so he got it just right.”
After having two rails down at Millstreet last year, Liz went on a 1.30-meter show jumping crusade with Deniro Z, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero VDL X Zonne- Trend, by French Buffet xx) owned by The Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties.
“Each track we did, he got better and I got better. I think that helped me figure out how to ride him a bit more. He’s looking for the rider to do quite a bit — he’s not a light, fluffy ride,” Liz said. “He’s also a lot stronger now, especially behind, so now I can really get him into the base of the jump.”
Liz also has her third ride, The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Quicksilver, sitting inside the top 10 in his CCI4*-S debut after he jumped a clear round today.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s cross country, Liz can afford to be 10 seconds over the optimum time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds and still take the win with “Blackie,” a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Radolin x Argentina XII, by Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday.
“Blackie isn’t the world’s fastest horse, but he is quick enough. I need to be super efficient with him,” Liz said. “I definitely think early on this course you have to come out of the box in sixth gear because that’s one place where it’s flat so you can get a bit of speed up.”
Hallie Coon and Celien, a 12-year-old KWPN mare (Tenerife VDL X R Quicksilver, by Hamlet) owned by Helen Coon, will be looking to capitalize on cross country tomorrow after their clear round moved them up to third place on 32.3.
“She’s been jumping out of her skin this year. We’ve been approaching show jumping with a different view and mixing it up for her. It’s my job to get her there with a bit of a gap to the fences, and it’s her job to do the rest,” Hallie said. “Mostly it’s about getting her to the fences with not a lot of momentum and getting her there with a gap so she actually has to use her scope and try.”
The general consensus from the riders is that Ian Stark’s CCI4*-S cross country course is a bit softer this year (though it is wise to never underestimate Ian!), and Hallie said she thinks it will be a good prep run for Celien as she aims for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.
“There are good questions that will prepare the horses for Kentucky. The main factor here is always time, but I think this year it might be a little easier to get because they’ve done so much work on the ground and a lot of clearing out there. The galloping lanes are so much wider, and it’s easier to see where you’re going.”
Hallie and Celien are competing on Erik Duvander’s team as part of the USEF/USET Foundation North American Futures Team Challenge, a new program established to simulate competing in a team environment. Stay tuned for much more on the North American Futures Team Challenge.
Click here for full scores in the CCI4*-S after show jumping.
CharmKing Jumps to CCI3*-S Lead
Holly Payne Caravella and CharmKing, an 8-year-old Holsteiner (Cassito X O-Heraldika, by Heraldik) owned by CharmKing LLC, moved up to lead the CCI3*-S after dressage leaders Kristen Bond and I’m Sew Ready dropped one rail.
“I’m just really proud of him this weekend because he had just started to get to the point where he’s getting a little fitter and a little more worked up in the big atmosphere,” Holly said. “He knows what it’s about now, which kind of worries you when they get a little too excited about it, but he was good and rideable in the dressage and was the same in the show jumping today. He definitely felt the atmosphere, but it just made him jump better.”
As for Holly’s thoughts on Ian’s CCI3*-S course: “I think there’s plenty to do out there, but it’s very fair and it’s a good benchmark of where you are in your training. I think if you have an issue, then that’s a hole in your education that you can go home and work on. Then if you do well, you’re right on track with your education.”
Colleen Loach and FE Golden Eye, a 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Goldfever X Cascade, by Contendro I) she owns with Amanda Bernhard, jumped clear to move up to second on 27.0 in the horse’s CCI3*-S debut.
Will Faudree and Caeleste, a 9-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, and Liz Halliday-Sharp and Pru Dawes’ Flash Cooley, a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse (CSF MR Kroon X Castlefield Ruby) making his CCI2*-S debut, both jumped clear to move up to equal third on 28.9.
A total of 25 pairs jumped clear rounds inside the time on Marc Donovan’s CCI3*-S show jumping course to give us a 45% clear rate. Click here to view full scores after show jumping.
Andrew McConnon Holds Lead in CCI2*-S
It’s been a busy day at Carolina International, with cross country also taking place for the CCI2*-S. Andrew McConnon and his own Bossinova, a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Bonifatius x Dawina, by Der Lord), finished 5 seconds inside the optimum time of 5 minutes, 58 seconds to hold their lead on 20.3.
“I had to go pretty quick to go inside the time,” Andrew said. “The footing was fantastic and the course was presented beautifully, which allowed for the horses to really gallop. It was a great galloping track.”
Andrew and “Hugo” have a rail and time in hand for tomorrow’s show jumping, and he said he’s feeling confident as he aims to secure the first international win of his career. “He’s beautifully behaved, so I just need to ask the right questions of him.”
Waylon Roberts and Michelle Koppin’s Fortunate Rebel, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse, also caught the time on cross country to remain on their dressage score of 27.4 and move up to second place.
Kyle Carter and Gaillards Lancer, an 8-year-old KWPN gelding (Diarado X Urlanta, by Flemmingh) owned by Brandon and Savannah Blackstock, also jumped clear and inside the time to move up to third place on 27.5.
Ian Stark’s track definitely shook up the leaderboard, with 22 of the 62 combinations jumping clear rounds inside the time (35% of the field). Click here to view scores after cross country.
Allison Springer and Business Ben Best Advanced
Dressage also kicked off today for the National divisions, and Allison Springer and Business Ben lead the Advanced on 27.2, a personal best at the level. Allison has carefully produced Ben, a 9-year-old unraced Thoroughbred (Artie Schiller X Min Elreeh, by Danzig) owned by The Business Ben Partnership, through the levels with the future in mind. He stepped up to the Advanced level last year, and Allison said he has come out this season a more mature horse.
“He was excited in the cold wind this morning, but he’s really learning to channel that energy,” Allison said. “All of his excitement comes from a place of wanting to do the right thing and loving the job. You can’t beat that in the Thoroughbred mind.”
Allison has yet to push the clock on cross country since Ben stepped up to Advanced, and she said tomorrow she will look to give him a solid, educational round to build on later in the spring season.
“I can’t say I’m going for the time tomorrow, but I’m producing him to be more rideable,” she said. “It’s about waiting for them to mature and totally get it.”
Buck Davidson and Carlevo LLC’s Carlevo, a 12-year-old Holsteiner (Caresino X Ramatuelle, by Levernois), scored 27.5 for second place — meaning Allison doesn’t have even 1 second in hand on cross country tomorrow.
Alexa Lapp and Cambalda, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Balda Beau X Cathy’s Lady), scored 29.5 for third place. Alexa and “Ping” competed in the Advanced combined test at Rocking Horse several weeks ago and are contesting their first Advanced here at Carolina.
Click here to view full scores across all divisions.
CCI3*-S cross country will stream live tomorrow on EQTV Network from 10-11:54 a.m. EST, followed by CCI4*S cross country from 12:30-2:48 p.m. EST and Advanced cross country from 3-4:15 p.m. EST. Click here for a fence-by-fence preview of the CCI4*-S course.
Thank you to all the amazing volunteers who make Carolina such a fabulous event, and thank you for following along with EN’s coverage. Go Eventing.