The 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event kicked off this morning with day one of CCI4*-S dressage. The first ride of the day, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver came out hot and earned a hard-to-beat score of 25.7. Through the rest of the first group and second group of rides, no other combination could top the duo. In the third group, Halliday-Sharp’s second ride of the day, Cooley Moonshine, nearly caught up with his barnmate, securing a 26.8 and moving into second place. Rounding out the top three was Helen Alliston with Ebay. This year marks the pair’s first appearance at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and they rose to the occasion to earn a 28.7.
“Cooley Quicksilver, he’s a really wiggly, flexible, kind of goofy horse, and I’ve really changed my training techniques for him this year,” said Halliday-Sharp of the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. “After Pau (CCI5* in France) last year, I really tried some new things, and I think we’re really heading the right way now.” Halliday-Sharp added that being first of the day is not always the best but, “to be first out today and early in the morning and to get that kind of score for him, I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Halliday-Sharp has previously done two five-stars with Cooley Quicksilver, aka “Monster,” but decided to do the four-star at Kentucky to save him for a run later in the year. “The primary decision is because we plan to take him to Luhmülen (CCI5* in Germany). That was always the plan, literally from last year. I just think it’s a track that will really suit him.”
As for her second place ride, Cooley Moonshine, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Halliday-Sharp commented that he’s the one of her less experienced partners, but he’s probably her best horse for the future. “He’s an incredible jumper, galloper and he does beautiful work on the flat. A few little moments where he got a little behind me and a little tense in there. But all in all, I was really pleased with him, and as time goes on, he’s only going to keep improving.”
In March at the 2022 Red Hills Horse Trials in Tallahassee, Florida, Halliday-Sharp took a spill off one of her three-star mounts. “I broke two ribs really badly and also tore a ligament in my ankle and broke a little piece off my foot and squashed my knee,” she shared. Halliday-Sharp added that she, “had some work done on that two days ago,” but despite any pain, she still came out on top with not one, but two of her mounts. “I’m just happy to be here. I feel lucky to be back in the tack as early as I was.”
Halliday-Sharp, who is often called the “eventing dressage queen,” recently took lessons with dressage Olympian Laura Graves to further capitalize on her dressage education. “I actually had a bunch of lessons with Laura Graves this year, which was really phenomenal, and unfortunately, I got injured right before I was meant to have some more in Florida.” Halliday-Sharp said that she learned a huge amount from Graves and brings the lessons with her. Her biggest takeaway from Graves was, “getting the horses more in front of the leg now, and just getting them to take me a bit more.”
The first to go in the third group of the day, Helen Alliston and Ebay danced into the top three at their very first outing at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. “The main high point was his behavior. He was very professional, which is hard to do, especially first time in there,” Alliston commented on the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding’s performance.
“I was a bit conservative at the start because he’s had a few bobbles in the last couple of tests, so I just wanted him to have a nice, clean test,” Alliston noted. “I think we did that. We had one unfortunate late change, but I was really happy with him as far as for us to be able to go in there and behave in there. I couldn’t be happier.”
CCI4*-S competition at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event will resume tomorrow, April 29, at 8:00 a.m. EST.
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.