Reflections on CHIO Aachen and Onward to the Pan Am Games!

This past weekend in Aachen exemplifies the reason why the team at Ocala Horse Properties is involved in the sport of eventing.  Not every weekend will end as one hopes – proven this past weekend by a thrown shoe and unfortunate slip late during their brilliant XC round.  But by reflecting upon the determination, sportsmanship and relentless optimism of Liz Halliday-Sharp, it becomes apparent why we are cheering for this partnership the loudest! 

Chris & Rob Desino with Liz Halliday-Sharp.

Chris & Rob Desino with Liz Halliday-Sharp.

Liz has the talent and insight to recognize how well Deniro Z was performing up until that moment, giving much credit to her horse and looking brightly towards their next international appearance at Burghley Horse Trials.  After scoring a personal best in dressage (26.5 penalties) and having 2 rails on the grass in the enormous Aachen stadium, they were making up ground on XC and were just moments from a fantastic completion.  Thus are the highs and lows of eventing – yet as a seasoned athlete, Liz is ready for their next international event.  She released the following statement on her FB page:

“Deniro Z and I certainly have experienced all the emotions that Eventing can bring @chio_aachen ! From the joy of a PB dressage of 26.5, to the disappointment of 2 rails down in the SJ on a super horse that hasn’t touched a pole all season, to the excitement of having one of the best xc rounds I’ve had on him until he slipped over on the flat just a few fences from home and left us surprised and so gutted after such a great round…Deniro Z was just incredible – I am so very proud of him and It’s just one of those days where luck wasn’t with us! Thankfully we are both fine and have learned a lot this week and we will pull our selves together and keep fighting! Huge thank you to all of my wonderful support crew who I couldn’t do this without and all the members of Team USA this week who all worked so hard through a tough competition. It was an honor to compete for my country at such an incredible venue and I certainly plan to come back!”

Amber Heintzberger, on behalf of the USEA, was on site at Aachen and was able to catch up with Liz throughout the competition. The following quote is from her interview for the US Eventing Association:

“Halliday-Sharp was having a cracking round for Team USA with the 11-year-old KWPN gelding Deniro Z (Zapatero VDL x Zonne-Trend), owned by The Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties, when he lost a shoe on course. At the last combination on course before entering the stadium for the final few fences, Deniro Z lost his footing between fences, slipped and fell, resulting in elimination.

“The horse was absolutely brilliant,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He was really class everywhere: he felt amazing and really good in himself, and I’d say it was the best round I’ve had on him. The plan was always to go the long route at that combination, but he slipped in front and then behind. I had big studs in but they were long and narrow, and in hindsight I wish I’d used wider studs because he’s such a powerful horse. We were still on the line for the fence, but he didn’t recover from the slip and went down. We’re both fine, but it’s hugely disappointing.”

She continued, “But that’s the sport, and life goes on. I feel like we had a great ride and nearly did the whole course, and it’s good we got the run we had in since he hadn’t run at this level since The Fork [in early April]. We have to take that with us and move on. We’re going home to England tonight, I’ve got another horse running Advanced at Aston Le Walls tomorrow, then the Eventers Challenge at Hickstead, another event next Saturday, and I fly out on Sunday for the Pan Am Games.” On July 25 her Pan Am partner Cooley Quicksilver flies direct from Europe to Lima, traveling with the Brazilian show jumping team.

(Article Interview and Photo Credits – Amber Heintzberger)

Under the guidance of US coach Erik Duvander, the US is looking towards the future, hopeful that the Pan American team in Peru clinches a qualifying spot for the 2020 Olympics. We wish Liz and Cooley Quicksilver (as traveling alternates), along with Boyd Martin, Doug Payne, Tammie Smith and Lynn Symansky the best of luck in Peru.  Go USA!!