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Solid Runs for Donovan and Billy at South of England

Dual sportswoman Liz Halliday had a positive outing on her young horses Donovan (Intrepid) and Billy (Baldaghade) at the South of England Horse Trials last weekend and was pleased with both of their performances.

Donovan competed for the first time since finishing a superb second overall in the CCI* event at Barroca d’Alva in March, taking part in the Open Novice category as a warm-up to his first Intermediate event at Aston-Le-Walls next month.

The California-born Halliday was satisfied with Donovan’s Dressage test, although felt they were harshly marked by the judge, and while they had a rail down in the Show Jumping, a clear and confident Cross Country round brought 12th place overall and a strong return to competition.

Billy was ranked in the top-ten in the BE100 (Pre-Novice) category after Dressage, had a rail down in the Show Jumping and was clear around a difficult Cross Country course to secure 16th overall in just his second event ever.

“I used the event as a warm-up for Donovan to get him back into action after Portugal so I was pleased with his performance,” said Halliday. “He shouldn’t really be having a rail down in a Novice-level Show Jumping test, but the ground was quite boggy so I’m not too worried about that. His Cross Country performance was excellent as always and I am very confident that he is ready to step up to Intermediate level.

“Billy made his debut a couple of weeks ago at Munstead and he has showed a lot of improvement since then. The Cross Country was very difficult for a Pre-Novice event in my opinion, but he really tried hard and gave me a fantastic ride.”

Sadly the whole event was overshadowed by the tragic loss of Bluey (Ease a Blaze), a horse owned by Liz’s trainer and New Zealand Olympian Joe Meyer, on which Liz rode to fourth place at Barroca last month.

The horse suffered a fatal heart attack when Joe was riding him on cross country in the Open Intermediate section, and his death came as a shock to everybody and left Liz feeling shaken ahead of her run on Donovan. “It was extremely traumatic for everyone and a terrible loss,” said Liz. “Bluey was a wonderful horse and I feel honoured to have had the chance to ride and compete him. Thankfully Joe was unhurt, but it was a devastating blow for him and everyone involved.”

Meanwhile, Liz has added to her stable of horses with the addition of three more steeds on which she will compete in 2009, Baloo, Ollie (Volien) and Vimto (Redos).

“Baloo is a young Irish horse- just 4 years old- who looks very promising,” revealed Liz. “I’ll compete with him in some Burley Young Event Horse competitions this year and then look to start eventing him properly next year.

“Ollie is a mare who has only competed in Show Jumping so far, but who is a stunning horse with great potential to be a super eventer I think.

“The third is Vimto, who is also a horse with show jumping as his background, and he is proving to be a lovely horse so far. I have him to train and compete on behalf of a client with the view to selling him on as an event horse.”

Halliday returns to action next weekend as Donovan continues his preparations for his Intermediate debut at Aston-Le-Walls with a Novice Regional Final at Hambleden.

For more details on Liz Halliday’s dual career in eventing and motorsport, please visit http://www.lizhalliday.com.


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