Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.
Tryon, NC – April 6, 2019 – Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) retained control over the first and second-place slots in CCI 4*-S competition at The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), walking away from the Show Jumping phase adding four faults to her score on Fernhill By Night for 28.80 points, and putting in a clear round aboard Deniro Z to maintain her score of 30.10. In third, Boyd Martin (USA) and Tsetserleg, the 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Buddenbrock) owned by Christine Turner, are no longer tied for the spot, also going clear and under the time to bring a score of 30.20 into Cross-Country competition on Sunday.
Halliday-Sharp and the 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday could afford the rail down on the USA’s Chris Barnard-designed course to keep the lead, she allowed, but would rather have saved the cushion for the Cross-Country course.
“Blackie [Fernhill By Night] jumped out of his skin and I thought I had it in the bag,” she explained. “He was my first ride of [three] and I just kind of rolled down the last fence. I had a little bit of turn on him still, and he just twisted the tiniest bit into his left shoulder in the air, which is very rare for Blackie. It was probably my fault; maybe I was a little too casual about it because I thought I had it done – and I know better – but the horse jumped amazing, so it’s not his fault.”
With Deniro Z, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero VDL x French Buffet XX) owned by the Deniro Syndicate & Ocala Horse Properties, Halliday-Sharp was thrilled with his performance on the day and looked ahead to her Cross-Country round with Kentucky in mind, saying, “Deniro [Z] really needs a good prep run for Kentucky. I don’t plan to run him slow because I don’t think that would suit him. I need to get him a little bit more with me; he was a bit of an animal Carolina. He’s like an airplane now; he’s so strong and has so much power and I just need to make sure he’s sort of listening to me and that I can put him in the same place looking ahead to Kentucky, so that will be my goal with him.
“With Blackie, I’m gonna have a damn good crack and try and make the time and try and take him to the win,” Halliday-Sharp elaborated. “I think it’s a stronger track than Carolina, in my opinion, and I think there’s a lot more to do than there was at Carolina, so it will take some riding for sure, especially if you’re going fast. I’m just gonna go out and try to give them a really great run and lots of confidence and kick on,” she concluded.
“I had an up and down day,” said Martin. “The two horses I was worried about having tough rounds on jumped like bunny rabbits. Contestor and Tsetserleg, they were fantastic. My two reliable jumping horses were a little bit spooky today!”
Martin detailed that Tsetserleg can be a little bit tricky in the combinations, so the morning’s preparation included “popping him through a couple small, sort of novice-like combinations over and over again, and it just got him thinking, waiting, and slow. And then the two combinations [on course] and here arched really well. I was pleased that he jumped not only clear, but in good fashion. I think leading into Kentucky it’s not so much the result, but the feeling they’re giving you when you ride them.”
Martin is hoping to carry that good feeling into the competition, which seems to be overshadowed by one obstacle that didn’t go well for Martin during the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 at the venue last year, he noted. “It’s a very weird thing. Last year’s [WEG] was just a horrible memory here and it was only one jump. It’s a very weird sport because one jump can just destroy emotion or feeling and everyone’s moral for months and months and months, so it’s good to be back here, to be honest.
“Obviously, [for] the boat in the water, I really want to give him a good ride there. I’ve probably gone over that jump [in my mind] more times, you know, what I did wrong, or what could have happened differently than any other jump I’ve ever jumped, so [I’m] looking forward to going in there and riding that in a better way,” Martin remarked.
The obstacle looming in his mind is not the only thing Martin needs to pay attention to while on course, he continued. “Then, [in light of] the horses going to Kentucky, I think giving them a slightly quicker round because the ground will be good, and make sure that they’re thinking good. Sometimes if you ride them real fast, the next time you ride them, they’re a bit out of control, so I’ll try and give them a good blow out here – a good fitness run – but then also schooling them a little bit so that they’re waiting and thinking for you. It’s a catch 22,” he concluded.
Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection Rise above Competition in Advanced Show Jumping ahead of Cross-Country
Lynn Symansky improved her ranking to first in the Advanced Division following Show Jumping aboard Under Suspection, adding four faults to bring a score of 31.20 into Cross-Country competition going forward. Second place after two phases belongs to Ariel Grald aboard Leamore Master Plan, a 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master IMP IHR x Cavalier Royale) owned by Anne W. Eldridge, on a score of 31.40, while Boyd Martin and Long Island T sit in third with a score of 32.50, adding eight time faults to score for the 2006 Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (Ludwig Von Bayern x Heraldik XX) owned by The Long Island T Syndicate. Martin also holds fourth place aboard Contestor, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contango x Killer Jer) owned by Denise Lahey, on 34.30 points.
Symansky and the 2004 Holsteiner mare (Contender x Exorbitant XX) owned by Mary Ann Ghadban were slated to sit in second before Will Faudree and Pfun withdrew from competition, but now enjoy a top placing that Symansky said wasn’t really her focus, but is nice to have.
“She was good. I totally take credit for the rail we had down – she jumped really well; I just didn’t ride across the back rail of that oxer. But yeah, she tried really hard. It was good to get in a little bit more atmosphere because she’s been to places that were a little bit quieter, so it was good to get in here and practice in a venue that really prepares you for Kentucky,” she commented.
“The plan tomorrow would be to have a good run that prepares her for Kentucky. I don’t really have the clock in mind; the chips kind of fall where they do. I’m excited to ride around the track tomorrow – I rode it on a horse I knew very well last year, and this is one I’ve had the ride on for about a year now. The venue looks great, too – the ground is great and the courses look awesome.”
About the venue in particular, Symansky mentioned, “This place prepares you so much. Especially for young horses to come see this kind of venue, and the courses and the footing are really good, with jumper classes going on at the same time so you could even bring young horses or students, too. It’s really is a fantastic venue for all levels and experience.”
Grald was pleased with her mount’s performance on the day, saying, “My horse jumps super and is very careful. He gets a little strong, but I’m lucky that he really tries over the fences. There’s a lot of atmosphere in that arena, but I thought it was a great course that challenged accuracy,” she recalled. “I didn’t give him the best ride going into the final line, but he took care of himself and dealt with the mistakes. He jumped really well.”
Heading into the Cross-Country competition, a favorite phase for both Grald and Leamore Master Plan, she noted the course contains both size and accuracy-related questions to tackle. “I’m looking forward to going out and getting galloping. There’s a lot of big jumps out there that are going to be fun, but there are some good accuracy questions, too. He’s really good at Cross-Country. He loves to gallop and he’s brave. I think it’s going to be a great set up for future spring events, too,” Grald concluded.
“I had two good rounds,” Martin recapped. “Contestor is pretty green and he went in there as the first horse of the day and jumped like a bunny rabbit. I was thrilled with him because it’s been a bit tough in show jumping for him in the past.”
He continued, “Long Island T was really good in there; I was very happy with him. He did have two poles down, but he just nicked them. One was the back rail of the triple bar, which I set up a bit too early, so that one was my fault and then he knocked an oxer right at the end. I felt like he was making a really good show; he was trying. It doesn’t look that good on the score board, but he gave me a good feel. I’ve still got a bit of homework to do with him before Kentucky if we take him there, but all in all, I was happy with both.
“The rain yesterday is going to make the turf sensational,” Martin predicted of the Cross-Country course. “It’s a real test, but we’re gonna have to ride every stride of the course.”
The CCI 3*-S Division leading pair remains unchanged after a clear Jumping round for Doug Payne (USA) and Starr Witness, sitting on a score of 27.60 to maintain first position. Will Faudree (USA) and Caeleste continue to hold second with 29.60 points, while Therese Evans (USA) and Clover Joe are third with 31.50.
The CCI 2*-S Division saw Courtney Cooper (USA) aboard Excel Star If Never in first with a score of 36.30, while Dasha Ivandaeva (CAN) jumped to second aboard Kingcarra Cooley Diamond to remain on a score of 36.70, and third place stands with Ryan Wood (AUS) riding Ruby, sitting on 37.00 points ahead of Cross-Country.
Click here to follow along with live results from The Fork at TIEC.