While Cooley Quicksilver typically needs a lot of leg to the jumps, Liz Halliday-Sharp said he was a bit “spicy” warming up for the CCI4*-S show-jumping round at the 2022 Kentucky Three-Day Event. Instead she needed to hold him off the jumps more than usual. But the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding still rose to the occasion to jump double-clean and win the competition.
“He was just really taking me down to the jumps a little bit more, and I was just trying to keep a little bit of a gap to the fences and not get too forward, but he jumped so well,” said Halliday-Sharp, who finished on a score of 29.7. “I love it because he’s always a horse whose loved atmosphere. He was just really excited to be here.”
Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver entered the Rolex Stadium, which was overflowing with spectators, in second place behind Dan Kreitl and Carmango. Kreitl had trouble when Carmango balked at Fence 3 before Kreitl kicked him forward. They jumped but had the first of three rails down. They also had 2.8 times faults to finish with a score of 43.8 and fourth place. Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool also jumped clean with 1.2 time faults to move up from third place to second and finish with a score of 38.6.
Halliday-Sharp has ridden Quicksilver since he was a green 5-year-old. This was only his second run of the year and his first four-star of the season. “I definitely had hoped that this horse could win because he deserves it. He’s been sort of my weird and wonderful wiggly horse for a lot of years and it’s nice to have him come out on top,” she said.
At 1.19 seconds, time was tight over Steve Stephens course, which included 12 questions and 15 fences. Nearly half of the 29 horse-and-rider combinations had time faults. Several lines had options about the number of strides that the horses could do.
Halliday-Sharp said she thought before riding the course that most of the distances would work out fine. “We sort of thought about the first distance, whether we did eight or seven,” she said. “I planned to do seven on the first horse [Cooley Be Cool]. He has a big stride. And then I knew that this horse would do it, and also with the time allowed, I thought that would be better for him. I didn’t want to be holding him down to the fences.” Halliday-Sharp also finished in seventh place with Cooley Be Cool.
Dutton was excited about Quasi Cool’s second-place finish. “A lot of our sport, it’s all about the dream. So much of the time it’s so much disappointment that you’re always dreaming what could happen,” he said. “[Quasi] looks to have all the makings of a really great horse.”
All three riders thought the overall competition was great education for the horses. “To have a strong cross-country course like that and then show jump in an atmosphere like this big arena—it’s invaluable,” Dutton said. “So I’m excited and hopefully he will grow and really learn from this.”
James Alliston and Nemesis moved up from sixth place to third. They jumped clean with .4 time fault. He said the 8-year-old Canadian Warmblood is a bit green to be doing the four-star, but he was pleased with his performance. The pair had steadily moved up over the week and had started with a dressage score of 33.8 in 26th place. They finished cross-country with 9.2 time faults. Their final score of the competition was 43.4.
“It’s a four-star that is unlike any other four-star in terms of the atmosphere. I think the cross country too was very difficult,” Allison said. “From California, we don’t run on grass a lot of the time, so that’s really unique. … I know it’s not unbelievably hilly in Kentucky, but a lot of the jumps are on mounds and stuff like that, and in California, if there’s a mound it’s manmade. There just aren’t too many of them, so the jumps on the hills and stuff like that is really a good education.”
At the Horse Inspection earlier in the day, two horses were held. Moonlight Crush, ridden by Ryleigh Leavitt, was held and withdrawn. Campground, ridden by Erin Kanara, was held and passed.
Here are reports from each day of competition in the CCI4*-S:
Thanks to Kent Nutrition Group, Mane ‘n Tail, and Cosequin® for our coverage of the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more.