Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS at the Helm of TerraNova CCI4*-S

Deja vu: Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS are in control of another stop en route to Kentucky. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

We’re two phases in to competition in the CCI4*-S at The Event at TerraNova, situated south of Tampa in Myakka City. There’s plenty to catch up on, so let’s dive right in!

Click here to catch up on scores from all divisions.


While most of the CCI4* competitors at TerraNova took their turn between the white boards on Thursday, this morning’s session saw 12 more horse and rider pairs logging their first phase.

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The best – or at least two of the three best – were saved for last, with Will Coleman and Hyperion Stud LLC’s Chin Tonic HS (Chin Champ x Wildera, by Quinar Z) taking a commanding lead on a 19.6, and Caroline Martin slotting into the third place position on a 26.7 with Redfield King’s HX Group’s young phenom King’s Especiale (Connect x Cha Cha Cha Special, by Vittorio). Liz Halliday-Sharp remained near the top of the leaderboard from Thursday’s session, sitting in second place just .1 ahead of Caroline, laying down a score of 26.6 aboard Ocala Horse Properties’ and The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Be Cool (Fortuna x HHS Carlotta, by Cavalier Royale).

Will’s dominating dressage lead comes fresh on the heels of his stand-out performance two weeks ago, where he scored a 19.4 at Carolina CCI4*S with “Chin”, an 11-year-old Holsteiner bred in Germany by Inken Von Graefin Platen-Hallermund. The gelding is also on the entry list for the upcoming CCI5* at Kentucky at the end of April, which will be his first start at the level.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Be Cool. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Will describes Chin as a “very good horse on the flat”, noting that he has been improving year over year. “That’s sort of the idea with all these horses, that you just keep trying to strive for a little bit more, and he’s giving us really good effort.”

There’s no doubt that the horse has secured his place as one of the best dressage horses in the country at this level, with two very solid sub-20 performances back-to-back. Of today’s effort, which was just .2 off of his score at Carolina, Will says, “It’s hot here, and I would say he was a little flatter here than maybe he was at Carolina where it was quite cold and windy, but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing. He was very pleasant.”

Liz was also happy with the performance Cooley Be Cool, known in the barn as “Dave”, who is making his debut at the level after a win in the CCI3*S division two weeks ago at Carolina.

Caroline Martin and HSH Blake. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, bred in Ireland by Marion Hughes, has seen consistently improved dressage scores as he’s become more confirmed at the level. “He was very professional in the ring,” Liz said. “He is a good mover and he’s very correct. Now that he’s sort of grown up a bit more, he doesn’t get marks taken away from him, which is good. This test should be tough for him because he doesn’t have the biggest medium trot and there’s a lot of medium trot. I was thrilled with him and I think he’s progressing all the time.”

Caroline Martin brought two of her talented 8-year-olds to TerraNova, with HSH Blake and King’s Especiale both making their debut at the CCI4*-S level. She was especially pleased with the performance of “King”, a nearly 18-hand Dutch Warmblood gelding bred in the Netherlands by C.M.L Delissen- Verstappen, saying “It’s a lot to ask for a young horse, especially given his size, but I’m very happy with how he went today.”


Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Be Cool. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

With dressage done and dusted, competitors didn’t have to wait long for the show jumping, with 53 horse and rider pairs facing down Michel Vaillancourt’s substantial track this afternoon.

Of those 53 pairs, a whopping 11 are on the star-studded entry list for the Kentucky CCI5*, making TerraNova the most popular spring CCI4*-S prep run this year for Kentucky entrants.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Shanroe Cooley. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Will Coleman once again proved hard to catch, though, maintaining his lead with a stunning double clear. Liz Halliday-Sharp gave it her best effort, holding onto second place with a double clear round aboard Cooley Be Cool. Liz also benefitted from an unfortunate rail and 1.2 time penalties for Caroline Martin aboard King’s Especiale, which pushed them down to 10th place. Those penalties allowed Liz to slot into third position on Ocala Horse Properties’ 8-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding Shanroe Cooley (Dallas x Shanroe Sapphire, by Condios), bred in Ireland by Anthony Smyth, on a score of 28.1, leaving her in a tie with Caroline aboard her other mount, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass, by Kannan). HSH Blake is owned by Mollie Hoff, Sherrie Martin, and Caroline, and was bred in Ireland by Justin Burke.

No stranger to all these post-ride interviews at this point, Will said of his show jumping round with Chin, “He left the rails up, which is always the most important part. But I was pretty pleased with how he read everything, and I thought he tried really hard. He’s very careful, and that’s about all we can ask for.”

Caroline Martin and HSH Blake. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

The class was held in the late afternoon, with the light changing quite a bit from start to finish of the division. “I wouldn’t say it changed my plan or anything like that,” Will said, “but it’s just something that you kind of noticed. But I thought overall the course rode according to plan, it was a good course I thought. You know, [Michel] had rails kind of everywhere, which I think is sort of a good sign from a designer. And anyways, Michel, we all have a lot of respect for and I think it was great to see him here making today influential.”

Indeed it did prove to be an influential phase: overall there were 19 double clear rounds, or 36% of the field.

Of the 11 Kentucky-entered pairs, only four added nothing to their dressage score: Will and Chin, Leslie Law and Voltaire de Tre, Zach Brandt and Direct Advance, and Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent. After show jumping Leslie, Zach, and Meghan are sitting in 15th, 16th, and 17th places respectively.


Dan Kreitl and Carmango. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

While Will and Chin hold a decisive lead after the first two phases, there’s still plenty left to do here in the TerraNova CCI4*S on Captain Mark Phillip’s twisty-turny cross country track tomorrow morning (stay tuned for our course preview first thing in the morning).

Much speculation has occurred over whether or not Will will choose to run Chin, something that he himself says he has yet to decide. Will he or won’t he? I guess we’ll all find out tomorrow.

When asked if he’s at least had a chance to walk the cross country yet Will said, “I did, I took a peek at it this afternoon. It’s good. It’s a long way, you know, a lot of jumps out there, and they’re working very very hard on the going here. So that is always, as a rider, something that we really like to see, and the owners and everybody involved in these horses. We always really appreciate the huge efforts made by events like this.”

If he does leave the start box Will has seven points in hand, which would give him a comfortable amount of breathing room as far as time penalties go around a course that could potentially not see too many rounds inside the time. The event did move the CCI4*S start times up several hours to start at 8:45am EST, which will help with the heat here in Florida on a day that is projected to be around 90 degrees.

Stay tuned for much more from TerraNova!

The Event at TerraNova: [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Live Scores] [Schedule] [EN’s Coverage]

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