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Former car racer turned pro equestrian headed to Olympics

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 12:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Another Kentucky athlete is going to the Olympic Games to compete in Equestrian events.

Liz Halliday-Sharp is taking her horse and her eventing talents to Tokyo.

The multi-talented athlete has lived in California, Florida and even England, but in the past decade, she moved to the Bluegrass, giving up racing cars for riding horses.

Yes, Halliday-Sharp is the daughter of a motor sports instructor and was a successful driver.

“Racing at the Le Mans 24 hours in France and the team and we won the Sebring 12 Hours years ago,” Halliday-Sharp said, “it was really a wonderful part of my life.”

She gave it up for a bigger love at Blue Fox Farm in Lexington.

”I’m a very proud Kentucky resident now and we plan to make this farm our home for life,” she smiled, “so thank you to everyone in Kentucky who’s supporting all of us on this journey to Tokyo.”

The Pro Equestrian, an international Three-Day Eventer, learned after the Land Rover Kentucky 5 Star she earned an Olympic spot.

“It was the biggest moment of my life, I mean it’s been a really hard few years, for us it’s many years in the making,” she said. “When I found out, I actually just burst into tears.”

Eventing is the triathlon of horse sport: One horse in three separate phases: Dressage, then Cross Country, that’s speed, endurance and jumping.

“Solid fences, drops, water ditches,” she explained, “all of that and it’s a real test of the horse’s bravery and their fitness.”

Show Jumping completes the competition. The lowest score wins, for the least amount of penalties. “For me, I just think the animals are incredible because no horse gets to the top of the eventing sport unless they truly love it.” Speaking of the horse, her Olympic partner is Deniro Z. “He’s 13 this year, I got him as a 7-year-old.” After winning internationals, the duo hooked up with Ocala Horse Properties to become a dream team. All are Tokyo bound, but the trip is more taxing for Deniro Z. Halliday-Sharp explained, “There were no flights to Japan from the United States for horses.” Dinero Z will be flown from JFK to Germany then Tokyo on the Olympic journey. “It’s the biggest moment of your life, when you find out you’re going to the Olympic games, it’s what you’ve dreamed of and worked for pretty much for forever.” The Equestrian events will begin the last weekend in July. You can support Liz Halliday-Sharp from home, watching on WAVE 3 and NBC.

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