Liz Halliday-Sharp & Fernhill by Night – Rookie Ride to Rolex 2015

Fernhill by Night, Liz, HHS Cooley

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American, Liz Halliday-Sharp, 36, is planning to make her Rolex debut this year on not one but possibly two horses. Liz has been based in the United Kingdom for the past 15 years where she has been honing her Eventing skills and following her other passion, international motor racing, competing in sportscar and GT endurance racing.

However, for the next few months she is giving up racing to pursue her Eventing goals. She met David O’Connor for the first time at the World Equestrian Games test event. He told her that she had to concentrate one sport or the other. Liz says, “Racing is in my blood, I have raced for a long time, and my dad was a racecar driver. It is something I miss a lot and I will definitely go back to it. But I want to fight hard for 2016 so at least I know I tried.”

Taking America by storm
She has moved back to American soil and is now based in Florida. This year for the first time she was named to the USEF 2015 Eventing High Performance Training List. Her season has started with a bang, winning the Pine Top Advanced A division on Fernhill by Night (Blackie) and placing second in the Advanced B division on HHS Cooley (Cooley). She followed up that success in the CIC3* at Red Hills, with a 1st after dressage on Blackie and 3rd on Cooley. After a miscommunication on cross-country with Blackie she retired him, however, Cooley had a fabulous run and finished the weekend with a clear stadium round, placing 2nd overall.

Liz has both horses entered in the Carolina International CIC3* and The Fork CIC3* and if plans progress, a trip to Kentucky will remain on the calendar for April. This will be Liz’s first four-star competition. She has been preparing for this level of competition for many years and now feels like she has the experience and the horses to take a crack at it. However, her mind is not totally made up over Cooley going to Rolex.

She says, “Cooley had a bummer year last year. He had a freak accident to a hind pastern and lost his season because of it. We had a grant to go to Samur but he lost that. The good thing about the injury he had, is once it is healed it is done unlike a tendon that will niggle away. I wanted to do Rolex with him but if it looks like he has a shot at the Pan Ams, he might do the Jersey three-star instead.”

“Blackie is like a big black Labrador. He is very talented, I bought him with a few glitches in his record, and I knew I would have to repair stuff. He came out last year and won a pair of two-stars back to back in Portugal and he went ‘okay, I’ve got two-star’. Then we have had to repair three-star. He is a really good horse and this year he came out at Pine Top and Wellington and went ‘okay, I’ve got this’. Last year, at Boekelo, the plan with David was to take some options. He felt fantastic and I felt I could have went straight but I stuck to the plan and I was kind of slow because the ground was wet so I could not make time with the options.”

She plans to divide her time between the USA and the UK in the future, as she now owns stables in both countries. She is working with Richard Sheane and they have now started to import Cooley horses to America and selling them. So far, this year has been incredibly successful and they have sold everything they imported. As a result, Liz’s barn is not full and she is now able to accept horses for training. If you have a horse that needs some help, her contact information is below.

For a few years, Liz has been training with James Burtwell and Damian Charles. However, she is now also training with David O’Connor, Richard Picken and has taken lessons with Jacquie Brooks. She enjoys being so close to David’s facility and having access to him to talk things through.

For the next few weeks she has a very detailed training plan to carry out. Although this part of the journey is up to her and the ‘horse health gods’, she acknowledges that she couldn’t have got this far without the backing of some important players in her life. “My husband Allan is a huge support. He manages the farms and I couldn’t do this without him. My parents have been endless supporters. Although my dad passed away in 2012, mom continues to be there and owns my two best horses. I am lucky that she gave me the chance to produce them. My groom, Gemma, bosses me all the time and that is a sign of a good groom. My staff in England are absolutely amazing. Sponsorship is key to being successful in sport and my sponsors are incredible and are all on my website.”

So far Liz and her ponies are producing some solid results on American soil that have caused the Eventing community on this side of the pond to take notice. We can’t wait to see her debut at Rolex.

Good luck Liz!

Contact Liz for training, coaching or your dream horse:

Phone: 1-858-504-1151      Website           Twitter

 

 

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