Liz Halliday made the perfect start to her international 3-Day Eventing season at Barroca d’Alva in Portugal last weekend by winning the CIC* International with Blackie (Fernhill By Night).
The event was marred by sadness however when experienced fellow rider Bruno Bouvier suffered a fatal accident when his horse had a rotational fall during Saturday’s CIC** Cross Country. Liz had known and competed against Bruno for many years and the following day dedicated her victory to a respected and much-loved member of the international eventing community.
“Bruno was a true friend to all of his fellow competitors and a real ambassador for the sport of Eventing,” said Liz. “He really loved his horses and was a great rider, and we will all miss him dearly. My condolences go out to his family and everyone who was close to him; on Sunday we were all riding with him in our hearts.”
Blackie’s performance throughout the event did at least provide some positives to take away from an emotional weekend. A super performance in the Dressage ring on Thursday saw the pair seize an early lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the competition thanks to clear Cross Country and Show Jumping rounds.
Meanwhile there were also strong showings from Chailey Stud’s other two representatives against the 69-strong field in Portugal. Excellent Dressage and Cross Country tests from Cooley (HHS Cooley) saw him occupy fourth going into the final event, before a rail down ultimately dropped the pair to a still-impressive ninth place overall.
And while Oscar (Viscount Oscar) couldn’t quite match the exploits of his stable-mates, a finishing position just outside of the top-20 still represented a commendable effort for his first competition of the season.
“It’s great to be back in Barroca and although we have endured a sad weekend the spirit of this great event has still held strong,” continued Liz. “I have always enjoyed starting the season here and it’s fantastic not only to have won but also finish with three horses in the first third of the field. Blackie’s Dressage performance was outstanding and he didn’t put a foot wrong thereafter, which was just as well considering how close we were to second place. I said before the competition that this was only a warm-up for the two-star event, but even so it’s always nice to come out and win at the start of the season.
“Cooley also tried hard and might have finished a bit further up the leaderboard were it not for our rail down in the Show Jumping, but the poor horse really didn’t have time to warm up properly with the tight time schedule so I am sure he will be even better in the competition this weekend. Oscar can be a bit spooky early-season and that caused him to have some rails down, but again I think he will improve in the next competition. All in all I am very proud of everything we’ve achieved so far in Portugal and can’t wait for the next round of competitions later this week.”
All three horses will remain in Barroca for this week’s international events that begin on Thursday. Blackie and Cooley will step-up to contest the CCI** competition while Oscar has been entered in the CCI*.
For more information about Chailey Stud Equestrian Centre, please contact Jo Warrilow: email@example.com | 44 (0)7879 448501 | www.chailey-stud.co.uk
For more information on Liz Halliday, please visit www.lizhalliday.com.