Though Liz Halliday-Sharp said Cooley Be Cool is not as flashy as some of her other horses, he left an impression after finishing his test for the Cosequin® Lexington CCI4*-S Dressage Day 2. “Dave” now sits in second place overall behind Halliday-Sharp’s Thursday partner, Cooley Nutcracker. Nutcracker maintained his lead of 24.5 and heads into Saturday’s cross country atop the leaderboard.
“Naturally, this would be a harder test for him with all the medium trots, so it’s not his very best, but he’s very consistent,” Halliday-Sharp said of Dave, who finished with a score of 25.5. “He has a beautiful canter, and he’s just so professional in the ring now, which is super exciting because he’s a cheeky horse.”
The CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington runs through Sunday, April 30, 2023. In the dressage phase, 49 horses competed overall.
Following behind Halliday-Sharp in the overall standings is Tamie Smith (USA) and Solaguayre California. They rode their dressage test Thursday and are in third at 27.6. Smith and Elliott V rode their dressage test Friday and are tied for fourth with 28.4. Sara Kozumplik and Rock Phantom, who competed Friday, are also in fourth.
Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Be Cool
Halliday-Sharp said if Dave hadn’t missed his flying change behind during the test, he could have scored similarly to Nutcracker. This “is super cool because this is still his personal best at the level. I’m totally thrilled with him.”
Dave has done most of his competitive riding with Halliday-Sharp. “He’s very cheeky and very arrogant. … So it’s been a matter of getting him on my side and also just managing that and trying to not make him angry.
“He can come out and just decide a big, giant yeehaw spook at something even though he’s not scared at all,” she added. “Like he would do that just to be naughty, and you have to kind of put him in the box pretty quickly. … When I started teaching him flying changes, most of the time he would just gallop around the ring bucking.”
But she said he’s also sensitive. “If I kicked him, I’d have to pat him. He would take offense. … We’ve been together long enough. He goes in the ring and fights for me, and he has done it at every event this year. And I know how to warm him up to keep him in a happy place, too, which is important. I just pat him a lot and tell him he’s a super horse.”
She’s looking forward to cross-country with both Nutcracker and Dave. “It’s a good course. It’s definitely a little bit friendlier than previous years. It lets the horses get into the course where in previous years it kind of hit them in the face really early. They’re both very, very good horses so if I ride them well, I think they’ll go well.”
Tamie Smith and Elliot V
Smith was “ecstatic” about Elliot V’s test. “It’s been a work in progress with him and getting him stronger and that big atmosphere. He’s quite an anxious type of horse. He was so good. … I just wanted relaxation and rideability, and he gave me that.”
She’s been riding him for about 1-1/2 years after a former student went to college and didn’t have the time to advance with him. Smith called Elliot a little bit of a “wild mongrel.”
“I’ve fallen off of him. It’s just really bad luck. … I actually said because he’s been going quite well here, it’s kind of his breakout year. Nobody knows him because he gets overshadowed by the others, but I think he’s quite talented and special.”
Sara Kozumplik and Rock Phantom
Tying Smith for fourth place, Sara Kozumplik was thrilled with her test with Rock Phantom. “That’s far and away the best test he’s done and especially in this kind of atmosphere. I thought that was pretty impressive,” she said. “He’s got a huge heart that horse. He internalizes things a bit. He’s just gotten more and more confident with me. We’re a relatively new partnership, about a year and a half, and so it does take a bit of time.”
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