Halliday-Sharp Awarded USEA Rider of Year Breaking 39 Year Streak for Men at the Top of the Sport

Liz Halliday-Sharp has had a phenomenal year since taking the leap and relocating with permanence to the United States in 2020. Producing a massively talented string of horses, Halliday-Sharp earned the most accumulated points of any rider in the USA, breaking the 39 year streak for men topping the USEA leaderboard.

Liz’s rise to the top of the sport in the USA is a direct reflection of her ongoing efforts to grow as a rider, while working towards developing an extremely talented string of event horses. Producing multiple top level event horses has been a marathon effort by Liz and her entire team, and Ocala Horse Properties is honored to support her quest to one day represent the United States at the Olympic level.

The year was 2013 when Ocala Horse Properties was initially introduced to Liz and her husband Al when they purchased their farm, Horse Power Equestrian, in Ocala. It did not take long for the Desino’s to recognize Liz’s pure determination and talent, which has resulted in the first ownership foray with Deniro Z.  Since that original partnership, Ocala Horse Properties has expanded their commitment to Liz through sole ownership of Shanroe Cooley and shared ownership through The Monster Partnership interests in Cooley Quicksilver, Cooley Be Cool and Cooley Moonshine.

Liz and Deniro Z, Tryon International CCI4-L 2020. PC: Shannon Brinkman

Liz and Deniro Z, Tryon International CCI4-L 2020. PC: Shannon Brinkman

A Year of Exceptional Accomplishment

Deniro Z’s status as one of the top international event horses is undeniable. Liz recognized this horse’s ability to gallop his way to the top of the sport early in his career, acquiring him in partnership with Ocala Horse Properties in 2017. What a thrill it is for the team at OHP to look back to the early days of his career winning 5 of his 2* events during that initial season.

Fast forward to an unusual 2020, Ocala Horse Properties’ Deniro Z made the most of his shortened season with back to back wins at the Great Meadow International CCI 4*S and Plantation Field International CCI 4*S. Liz and Niro nearly made it a hat trick at the Tryon International 3 Day Event, holding their CCI 5*L lead until a dropped rail at the final fence in stadium. Although disappointing, their exceptional performance secured a well earned place on the 2021 USEF Elite Training List alongside Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF, Phillip Dutton and Z, as well as Doug Payne and Vandiver.

Much of the media attention has held a spotlight on Liz and Deniro Z, but her overall performances on her string of 13 competition horses is how this busy athlete accumulated over 590 points to earn the USEA Rider of the Year award. Liz and her team attended 22 events throughout the USA, securing 25 wins and 67 top 5 finishes with all of her horses during a shortened season due to Covid 19!

The Monster Partnership, which consists of Rob and Chris Desino, Deborah Halliday and Renee Lane, enjoyed watching Liz experience resounding success with Cooley Quicksilver, Cooley Be Cool, and Cooley Moonshine. Shanroe Cooley, solely owned by Ocala Horse Properties, is an unstoppable 5 year old, and certainly one to watch for the future.

Cooley Quicksilver at Great Meadow International. PC: Shannon Brinkman

Cooley Quicksilver at Great Meadow International. PC: Shannon Brinkman

Highlights From 2020:

Cooley Quicksilver
Owned by The Monster Partnership (OHP, Deborah Halliday, Renee Lane), “Monster” started out the 2020 season winning the Advanced at Pine Top and the Ocala Horse Park. After the delay in season, he had solid results at the 3 and 4* levels, punctuated by a 4th place finish at the Hagyard Midsouth CCI3-S and an 8th place finish at the Galway Downs International CCI4-L. Liz and Monster were recipients of a USET Foundation grant which sponsored their travel to California for this fantastic event!

Cooley Be Cool
Otherwise known as “Dave”, this 2013 ISH is also owned by the Monster Partnership.  Another striking grey, Dave came to Liz’s string in October of 2019 and has performed incredibly in 2020! At the Prelim and 2* level he had 3 wins at Rocking Horse, Red Hills and the Virginia International Horse Trials. He stepped up the the CCI3-S level with ease at Great Meadow International, bringing home second on a 32.2. In October, at the Hagyard Midsouth CCI3-L he finished a respectable 7th for his debut at this level. There is a great future in store for this incredibly talented Irish Sport Horse!

Cooley Moonshine
“Billy”, also owned by the Monster Partnership, was the second place winner at Le Lion d’Angers CCI3-L in France in 2019. Although he had an abbreviated season in 2020, Billy did have several top placings at the intermediate and advanced levels, including 2nd place in the Advanced at the Ocala Horse Park. This is another top contender for the upper levels and Ocala Horse Properties can’t wait to see how he performs in 2021!

Shanroe Cooley
“Dallas” is the newest horse fully owned by Ocala Horse Properties, and his initial introduction to US eventing has not been a disappointment! This talented youngster competed in the Irish Young Event Horse Finals in Dublin in 2019 before starting his career in the USA. In 2020, he has 7 wins at Training and Modified, and has yet to finish outside of the top 3. He won the 5 year old Young Event Horse championships at Chattahoochee Hills in August, proving his potential against the other top young competitors in the country. This horse will certainly be one to watch in 2021 as he works his way up to the FEI divisions!

Ocala Horse Properties' newest acquisition - Shanroe Cooley PC: Liz Crawley

Ocala Horse Properties’ newest acquisition – Shanroe Cooley PC: Liz Crawley

Looking Towards 2021 With Optimism

Liz, Al and her team are now settled into their training base at Horse Power Equestrian in Ocala – enjoying a necessary reprieve, and another trip to Cooley Farm in Ireland, before setting goals for the 2021 competition season in Florida.

Ocala Horse Properties is humbled to be part of the team supporting Liz and her line up of top notch competitors at Horse Power Equestrian. We are looking forward to our continued adventures in 2021, and wish the entire equestrian community a happy and healthy new year!

Press round-up of Liz’s Rider of the Year Title:

We hope that you’ll tune into hear Liz on Saturday December 12th, as she is the Key Note Speaker, alongside Piggy French, for this year’s online USEA Convention. This event will take place on Saturday, December 12 at 2:00 p.m. EST via a Zoom Webinar – information to join can be found HERE.

(Post USEA Convention Interview/Article from Eventing Nation)

Happy Holidays from the Team at Ocala Horse Properties!