WEF Kudos Continue For Finally Farm During Week 4

Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler

Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler

Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler made their presence known in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby "Hunt and Go" class, a highlight of Week 4 of the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida.

The pair, tackling their first International Hunter Derby together, finished a close second, just 2 points off the leading score.

"For us, it was a lot of fun," said Liza of her ride aboard Sam Edelman's talented hunter, who also collected the 3'9" Green Hunter championship and was second in the 3'6"/3'9" Green Hunter Incentive class. "It was our first time riding a class with the new format--so most of us were focused on that."

The Hunt and Go is similar to a Jumper Power and Speed class, so riders first perform over a Classic Hunter round set of fences and then at a determined place on course start their Handy Hunter round.

"It was a little less jumping on the horses, which I liked," said Liza of the one-round competition. "I thought there were positive things, for sure. And any time show management gives us a class in the big International Ring and offering the Hunters money, we can’t complain! It was great for Cobbler to be able to go in that ring before WCHR Week 6 starts."

To prepare Cobbler, Liza said she trotted a lot of big jumps in the schooling area so he'd relax and curl around the fences. Their preparation paid dividends, with a solid performance in the ring. "I'm super proud of Cobbler. He has a lot of ability and wants to be careful," she said. "He’ll have Week 5 off and trail ride before he shows again during WCHR Week."

Maggie Hill and Cassanto

Maggie Hill and Cassanto

Maggie Hill also continued to impress in the Junior Hunters as she earned the reserve championship with Cassanto in the Large Junior, 15 and under, section Week 4 and a variety of ribbons and placings with her other mounts during Week 3.

"Maggie was so consistent in every round, and they won the Handy with a great score," said Liza. "They are truly a wonderful match. Phil DeVita designed the courses, which were quite technical, with two bending lines in every class and the jumps are different every week. They really challenge the riders. 

"Maggie has also been doing the equitation with Charmeur and was ninth in the Maclay and sixth in the 3'3" NHS Medal. She’s really coming along and looking very sophisticated," said Liza.

Mckayla Langmeier partnered with Cleopatra’s Smile once again and claimed championship honors in a section of the Small Juniors. "Mckayla catch rode for us and did a great job," said Liza. "We really love that mare. We haven’t had her that long, and we're getting to know her now. She's a fun and game mare who is a great jumper."

Junior rider Jordan Allen joined Finally Farm during Week 4 and rode High Society to the Large Junior, 16-17, championship. "She’s quite a talented rider and hard worker, so it was fun to help her," said Liza. "High Society is a lovely horse that’s for sale and would make someone a great Junior/Amateur and Derby horse."

Bridget Hallman and Gala

Bridget Hallman and Gala

Bridget Hallman topped the Amateur-Owner, 36 and over, Stake class with Gala with an impressive performance. "We were so excited for Bridget, and we're having so much fun with her being part of the team," said Liza. "She’s had that mare for several years and brought her up through the 3' and 3'3" Pre-Green Incentive Program. She’s turned into a great Amateur horse for Bridget."

Ruby Sloan and Jack Towell took a field trip to Deeridge for the Palm Beach Masters where Ruby competed Libertina in the 1.10m classes. "She was really good, and the experience and exposure was a lot of fun for her. She rode really well."

imagejpeg_0.jpg

The week culminated with a Finally Farm Fun Super Bowl party, where Liz Fogleman was especially excited to see the Philadelphia Eagles, her hometown team, beat the New England Patriots. "She was dancing around and so excited," said Liza with a smile. "We had a great time!."

Liz Fogleman, No. 11, was especially thrilled to see the Eagles win the Super Bowl!

Liz Fogleman, No. 11, was especially thrilled to see the Eagles win the Super Bowl!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 6, 2018 .

A Team Effort Propels Gratis to the Top During WEF 3

26907769_1644149758956998_1375428008124335149_n.jpg

Although Gratis and Liza Boyd were the two to capture the 3'3" Young Hunter championship during Week 3 of the Winter Equestrian Festival, January 24-28, they had a true team behind them.  

Owner Karen Lackinger's 6-year-old Hanoverian (Grey Top--Akazie) swept all four over fences classes and placed second under saddle for a convincing championship title.

"I'm really proud of how far he’s come along. This time last year he’d never shown," said Liza. "We worked a lot at home last year, and he showed in the Baby Greens last spring before ending the year in the 3' Green Hunters."

Liza noted that Gratis was a little scared about the Jumbotron in the adjacent ring at WEF, but she was careful in the schooling area to help calm his fears and reassure him.

"I did have to change my plan in the schooling ring," she noted. "I didn't make it a big deal, though. Rather than walking him over to see it and face toward it, I bent him away from it when I was flatting. The more he looked at it, the more tense and nervous he would get." 

Instead, Liza decided to work to avoid the Jumbotron altogether and only jumped Gratis off the right lead, where he wouldn't have to face the moving screen.

With that plan in place, Liza said he retained his focus and she was able to get some quality, round jumps in the schooling area that obviously translated well in the show ring, where he won every jumping class.

"I've learned over the years it's best to distract them and keep them busy doing something else," she said of the green horses. "I like to change the subject, and if it wasn’t a moving object maybe I'd have a different strategy. But it's really unnatural for a horse to see what's basically a huge TV." 

Liza is also appreciative of having Gratis to bring up the levels. "Karen Lackinger lives in Aiken, South Carolina, and is a wonderful owner and supporter," noted Liza. "She bought Gratis herself and hopes to bring him along as a Derby horse, and he showed me a lot of a good characteristics of a derby horse here. For him to come through that challenge without a meltdown and go on and compete like he did showed his bravery. 

Gratis (and Katie Wood) on the trail!

Gratis (and Katie Wood) on the trail!

"He's also growing into his body, and I felt some jumps where he pushed well and is getting stronger behind. It's very exciting to start a horse from scratch to be a derby horse," she added. "I can't remember the last time I've had a horse just for me to produce. We've developed a bond, and he’s very trusting. And since I was the first one to ever show him, I know everything that’s happened and that he's done, so that’s fun!" 

Liza also credited Finally Farm Assistant Trainer Katie Wood for her integral role in preparing Gratis and the other horses this winter. 

"Katie is amazing behind the scenes," noted Liza. "With S&L Just A Cobbler, I have to work on fitness. So she takes him on a four-mile trotting trail ride. I have no idea where she goes, but then she’ll say, 'I'm going to do a shorter trail ride, so I’ll do a nice walk.' She takes the horses out in the mornings and then brings them different ways home.

"I'm seeing a big difference in my horses from all of the exposure they're getting to the different sights. If there's an issue, like a big flock of white birds, Katie never gets mad and makes everything a good experience for them. Clemens has been nervous about rain and walking over puddles (I lost a big class at Blowing Rock because of that), but she's been taking him out and encouraging him to go through water. She has a real talent for that natural type of horsemanship, and I’ve noticed it's helping me in the show ring. She keeps the horses happy, and she takes the kids out with her, so she's involving everyone. It's been fantastic!"

Posted on February 6, 2018 .

WEF Starts Great for Finally Farm

Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler, 3'9" Green Hunter Champion

Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler, 3'9" Green Hunter Champion

The Finally Farm team escaped South Carolina just in time to miss the historic snowstorm that blanketed the state with up to eight inches of snow the first week of January. And their perfect timing continued on into the first two weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit, held January 10-21 in Wellington, Florida.

“We’ve had a wonderful start to the circuit, from the Short Stirrup to the Junior Jumpers,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “We have a great group of ponies, horses, juniors and amateurs here for the season, and we’re looking forward to a great winter.”

Liza herself started out strongly in the open hunters, piloting S&L Farm’s S&L Just A Cobbler to the 3’9” Green Hunter Championship.

“That was so exciting,” said Liza. “I showed him once in Aiken (South Carolina) for the first time and then here. He’d never jumped this height, and he handled it really nicely. He’s a brave horse, so walking into the Grand Hunter Ring was easy for him. The Handy was especially fun, and he was right there for me.

“He’s had a lot of good riders on him who brought him along through the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program, so he’s seasoned in that sense,” she added. “It was more about me just getting to know him. I couldn’t have been happier with him. He’ll have Week 3 off and trail ride, and then we’ll show him again Week 4 and plan to do the USHSJA International Hunter Derby.”

Liza is also showing S&L Lion King, who contested the 3’6” Green Hunters, for owner Sam Edelman.

“Both horses are for sale, and I’m excited to have horses to ride for Sam. When I was younger, he sent me jumpers, and he’s had a long friendship with my dad (Jack Towell). Sam has a good eye for a horse and picked out these two and brought them along. It’s great that he’s bringing young horses through our American hunter programs,” she said.

The names Cassanto and O’Ryan are frequently heard at the Junior Hunter ring, and this year is no exception. However, the two talented mounts are now under the direction of Maggie Hill in the younger sections after owner Stella Styslinger went off to college.

“WEF 1 was Maggie’s first time ever dong the 3’6”, and she won a class with Cassanto in the Large Juniors!” said Liza. “I’m so proud of her consistency. During the second week she earned thirds and fourths on both O’Ryan and Cassanto and ribbons with Shamrock. She’s in such a great spot already, earning scores of 84 and 85. She’s so close to getting those 88s, and it’s just fine-tuning. Her hard work and dedication this winter to riding and practicing has paid off.”

Lily Bennett also showed consistency in the jumpers as she piloted Zimba and Athina 18 to top ribbons in the Children’s Jumpers Week 1 before moving up to the Low Juniors with Zimba during Week 2.

“She’s riding great,” said Liza of Lily. “To be in the top ribbons and be that fast down here just shows how far she’s come. It’s hard to go clean in the first place over these technical courses, and then to go fast in the jump-offs is challenging. She’s really turning into a good little jumper rider.”

Ruby Sloan also showed her prowess in the jumpers, guiding Libertina to third place out of 48 in the Low Children’s Jumper Classic in just her first season showing jumpers.

Amy Nolan's Caruba

Amy Nolan's Caruba

“The courses are technical, and it’s hard to even remember the courses,” said Liza laughing. “The courses down here really push you to the next level, so Ruby held her own in that. We’re excited to have her back, and I think she really found her niche in the jumper ring.”

Finally Farm welcomed new clients to the barn this winter, including Amy Nolan who was reserve champion on Caruba in a section of the Middle Adult Amateurs. “She’d never shown down here, and her horse hasn’t been here, so to walk in the Grand Hunter Ring and be competitive on a green horse is really a big deal,” said Liza. “Now, she’s moving up to 3’3” Amateurs, where they’ll be quite a good competitive combination.”

Paige Miller started her time with Finally Farm aboard Lavasco in the Low Adult Hunters, where she earned second- and third-placed ribbons in a field of 34 competitors. “We’re so happy for her, and she’s leasing this horse for the year,” noted Liza. “It won’t be long before she’ll move up to the Adult Amateurs, where I’m sure they’ll shine.”

Bridget Hallman also joined Finally Farm this winter and started out strongly with ribbons in the 3’6” Amateur-Owner section aboard Gala. Liza also showed Bridget’s Salt in the 3’9” Green Hunters, where they won a competitive class.

“We’re excited to help Bridget with her horses,” said Liza. “She and Gala make a great team and have already started the circuit with some impressive placings.”

The 3’3” Junior and Amateur Hunter riders added many ribbons to the Finally Farm banner, including Sarah Ekola with Zanzibar and Ellen Addison with El Tindo.

Joann Loheac’s Callahan also earned prizes in the 3’3” Green Hunters with Liza before making his presence known in the Adult Amateurs with catch rider Lisa Baugh during Week 2. “They won a class in the Adults, which was super for them. Lisa did a great job,” said Liza. “He’s such a solid horse, and for a green hunter he’s so straightforward. He’s for sale and eligible for the USHJA Green Incentive Program, which is a wonderful opportunity for someone to continue on with his success.”

Similarly, after time spent showing in the Green Hunters with Liza, Sawyer is back in the ring with owner Liz Fogleman who is now competing him in the Low Adult Amateurs to top ribbons.

“Liz showed him a little last fall and has really worked hard this winter,” said Liza. “She’s jumping bigger, solid 3’ courses at home, so when she walked in the ring she was more than ready. Liz imported him as a barely broke 4-year-old and now at 7 he’s truly ready for an amateur. It’s cool she took the time to put the foundation into him, and she’s rewarded with an amateur-friendly horse who has come up the American Hunter system.”

Other top ribbon winners included Kelly Maloney, who enjoyed great success during WEF 1, with excellent ribbons and clear rounds aboard Fieona and Justified. Gratis and Liza earned excellent prizes in the 6-year-old Young Hunters, and daughter Elle Boyd earned the reserve championship with Otis Spunkmeyer in the Short Stirrup Hunters.   

But the star of the jumpers during Week 2 was Cassiana. McKayla Langmeier catch rode the mare in the Low Junior Jumpers and won a class of 78 before returning to claim the classic out of 81 entries.

“It was amazing! She’d never sat on her,” said Liza. “She got on her at the ring on Friday, went first in the order out of 78, and won it. This mare can go fast and turn and go for it. Then on Sunday she walked in de Nemethy Ring and wins again.

“Owner Stella Styslinger is in college now, so Cassiana is for sale,” added Liza. “Someone is going to have an incredible horse. She knows all of the questions and answers them. She’s super brave and fast, and she’s just a good, fun horse—and a lovely girl’s horse because she carries you to the jumps. We’re really proud of her, so that was exciting!”

Posted on January 23, 2018 .

Fall Foxhunting and Thanksgiving Fun in Camden

Mary Katherine Farnell and Ned Towell

Mary Katherine Farnell and Ned Towell

Late November often brings families together for Thanksgiving, and at Finally Farm it's all that and more.

With the farm nestled in Camden Hunt territory, Thanksgiving time also means Opening Meet and the Blessing of the Hounds. Ned Towell and his girlfriend, Mary Katherine Farnell, enjoyed a beautiful day out hunting in and around Camden's beautiful rolling hills and looked picture perfect in their Camden Hunt colors.

They also participated in the Middleton Place Hounds' Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds at The Greensward on November 26 in Charleston.

Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer leading the way!

Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer leading the way!

During this week at home, the horses and riders took to the trails at every opportunity to enjoy the glorious fall weather, with Elle Boyd and her small pony Otis Spunkmeyer often blazing the way for the bigger horses. 

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Liza Boyd and her father Jack Towell taught a benefit clinic for the Camden Hunt, which was sold out and a successful fundraiser. 

"The clinic went really well, and we had three sessions with up to 11 riders per group. It worked really well with us teaching together," said Liza. "When my dad had one group on the flat, I had another at the other end of the ring. Then, when they were jumping courses we would take turns instructing the rider and then talking to those who were watching. We felt like it all worked smoothly and everyone jumped at least three full courses and learned a lot."

The Towell family also traveled to Liberty Hill for a Thanksgiving luncheon, where they enjoyed a gorgeous table set by Lisa Towell and feasting with family and friends.

In addition, Liza and Jack spent time teaching at home, with lessons for the green horses and ponies (Elle even took a turn on one of the 4-year-olds!) and the new combinations preparing for the 2018 show season.

It was a great week to share the blessings of the season and enjoy the horses in beautiful Camden!

 

 

 

  

Posted on November 28, 2017 .

Finally Farm Jumpers Dominate in Atlanta

Erin McGuire and Kasarr

Erin McGuire and Kasarr

The Finally Farm team may be most often recognized as a powerhouse in the Hunter ring, but the Camden, South Carolina-based show stable also makes their presence known in the Jumpers. During the Atlanta Fall Classics, November 8-19 in Conyers, Georgia, they dominated the Junior/Amateur-Owner classes, with riders Erin McGuire and Lily Bennett earning the $2,500 Queen Sales 1.30-1.40m Rider Bonus and $1,500 Queen sales 1.20m Rider Bonus, respectively.

“Erin strategically planned that all out and went for it,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “Erin sets a goal for herself and then works to achieve it. She aimed to win that award, so it was so nice that she did it. And, coming off a shoulder injury that sidelined her this year, she’s riding better than ever. Her style and position have improved so much, and she’s worked hard to get herself and her horse fit.”

Lily Bennett and Zimba

Lily Bennett and Zimba

Erin and Kasarr also earned the Arenus High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper championship during both weeks and won the Classic during Week 2 to finish out a great show.

Lily and Zimba proved consistency pays off during Atlanta. With top-three placings in most every class they contested, the pair earned the Week 2 reserve championship and Lily clinched the Rider Bonus.

“Lily and Zimba recently moved up from Children’s to the Lows, and she’s really impressing us,” said Liza. “She’s just one step away from winning those classes, and we’re looking forward to seeing the progress she’ll make in Florida. They are a great match!”

Liza experienced a comeback of sorts during Atlanta when she returned full steam ahead into the Jumper ring aboard Stella Styslinger’s Cassiana. The pair won a 1.30m open class and then placed sixth in the Horseflight Welcome Classic.

“Stella is in college now, and the mare is for sale,” said Liza. “She did the bigger jumper classes before, so we thought she should step up again. She’s so much fun to ride! In the Welcome, we did all of the inside turns, but the boys beat me. I sent my videos to my brother Hardin, and he said, ‘You chickened out! You should have left a stride out to last line, but I liked your rollback.’”

Liza estimated that it had been about nine years since she'd last contested a class with fences the size of the Welcome, and it was before her daughter Elle was born. Liza had lots of support ringside, especially from long-time employee Alberto Ramirez.

“Alberto told me I was much faster and more competitive than before I had two children,” she said laughing. “I credit the Hunter Derbies for that. I’m a better rider eight years later. I’m quicker and slice across the jumps much better and more fluid than before. Now, I really come out of the turns and go with the first distance I see, like I do in the Hunter Ring. And, I’m just a little faster on the back end, too. It’s gratifying and fun to have a goal and push myself a little bit. I was joking that I was channeling my inner Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut as I was going around!”

Liza was also pleased to welcome Ruby Sloan back to the barn after she took a one-year break from riding. The ninth-grader transitioned from the ponies to compete Libertina in the Low Children’s/Adult Jumpers.

“She hadn’t shown in exactly one year, but she came back strong,” said Liza. “She’s leasing Libertina, and we’re thankful to owner Mia Albelo for sharing this special mare with us. Ruby had never done a Jumper class and walked in that big ring in Conyers and got nice ribbons. We’re very excited about this pairing.”

Elly Ficca has also transitioned to a new mount. After an impressive year aboard Finally Farm’s Quatrain in the 3’3” Juniors Hunters, Elly is now partnered with Cleopatra’s Smile for the 2018 show season.  

Liza Boyd and Gratis

Liza Boyd and Gratis

“She’s won USHJA International Hunter Derby classes with Schuyler Riley. Elly showed her one week in the 3’3” in Atlanta and got nice ribbons. We’re thrilled that this lovely mare will be her Junior Hunter for the year," said Liza, adding that Quatrain is still looking for his next show ring partner.

Liza was also proud of another gray horse in her barn, the 5-year-old Gratis. Owned by Karen Lackinger, Gratis earned the 3’ Zone Green Hunter championship with a clean sweep and took the show reserve championship during Week 2. He also placed 10th in the $30,000 Green Hunter Classic during Week 1.

“He’s come such a long way this year. The second round of the classic was hard, with an end jump and tricky bending lines,” said Liza. “This show was a nice way to finish off the year with him. He didn’t start showing until this past spring when he started in the Baby Greens, and it’s been fun to see him progress to 3’ Greens and go straight and get his lead changes!

“Next year he’ll be ready to step up to the 3’3” Greens and the USHJA National Hunter Derby classes,” she added. “Karen’s hope is for him to be an International Derby horse one day, so I’m looking forward to that. She’s a fun owner because she’s not only a cheerleader for her horse but also for everyone in the barn.”

Sarah Ekola and Zanzibar also finished the show year strongly, taking top ribbons throughout both weeks in the 3’3” Junior Hunters.

While some new partnerships were made in Atlanta, Zola Thompson said goodbye to Elegance, the Medium Pony who carried her to countless ribbons from Florida to Central Park and the fall indoor shows in 2017. The pair concluded their time together with a blue ribbon over fences and other top ribbons.

“We were so happy to see Zola and Elegance finish with great performances,” said Liza. “Hopefully, Zola will find just as much or more success as she steps up to the Children’s Hunters next year.”

Posted on November 27, 2017 .

Hardin Towell Claims Thrilling Victory in $87,000 GroupBy Big Ben Challenge

23550966_782073655313739_1844376729805713627_o.jpg

November 11, 2017 - Toronto, Ontario

Hardin Towell of the United States claimed a thrilling victory in the $87,000 GroupBy Big Ben Challenge on Saturday night, November 11, to close out the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.

A sold-out crowd of more than 6,000 spectators packed the Ricoh Coliseum and were treated to show jumping sport at its finest as 23 riders challenged the final track set by 2016 Rio Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. 

Eight riders, including Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, currently ranked numbers one and two on the Longines World Rider Rankings, jumped clear to advance to the all-deciding jump-off.  The night belonged to Towell, who blazed around the jump-off track with Lucifer V, breaking the timers in 38.37 seconds to snatch the win from Canada’s own François Lamontagne, 33, of St. Eustache, QC, who had stopped the clock in 40.92 seconds aboard Chanel du Calvaire.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 1.19.25 PM.png

“This is my first time at The Royal and it was fantastic!” said Towell, 29, who also won the $35,000 Jolera International Jumper event on Tuesday, November 7, aboard another mount, New York.  “It is nice to win here because the classes are so special.  The atmosphere is amazing, and the crowd was great tonight.

“I have believed in Lucifer since I first started riding him and we really came along together,” continued Towell of the 11-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lord Dezi x Grandeur) owned by Evergate Stables that he has been paired with for four years.  “I went to my first World Cup Final with him, jumped my first five-star grand prix with him, and he has helped me get to the next level.”

Lamontagne had the Canadian crowd behind him as he gave his best effort on closing night.  For his impressive performances on home soil throughout the Royal Horse Show, Lamontagne earned the Moffat Dunlap Leading Canadian Rider Award while his mount, Chanel du Calvaire, was presented with The All-Canadian Cup as the leading Canadian-owned horse.  The All-Canadian Cup was established by the late Susan Grange and presented by the Grange family representing Lothlorien Farm of Cheltenham, ON.

“To do the international division at The Royal is a dream that I have had since I was a child,” said an ecstatic Lamontagne, 33, who is no stranger to success at the Royal Horse Show, having competed in other divisions in the past.  He topped the Jump Canada Talent Squad Final in 2011 riding Barron, a horse that Lamontagne developed and went on to win a team silver medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games paired with Lucy Davis.

“It was really special to show here this week,” continued Lamontagne, who also claimed the title of Reserve Canadian Show Jumping Champion on opening weekend.  “It doesn't happen often that there are so many people that come to watch show jumping, and the atmosphere was amazing tonight!”

New Zealand Olympian Sharn Wordley rounded out the top three with a double-clear performance in the Big Ben Challenge, crossing the timers in 43.61 seconds riding Barnetta, owned by Sky Group.  The defending champion of the Big Ben Challenge, Kent Farrington, settled for fourth after posting the fastest jump-off time, 36.92 seconds, but at the expense of one rail for four faults riding Creedance for owner RCG Farm.  A crowd favourite at the Royal Horse Show, three-time U.S. Olympic medalist McLain Ward took fifth place with four faults in 37.58 seconds riding his 2016 Rio Olympic partner, Double H Farm’s HH Azur, the same mount that carried him to the coveted Longines FEI World CupTM Final title in April.

Following five days of top-calibre international show jumping competition, Towell shared the Leading International Rider title with four-time U.S. Olympic medalist Beezie Madden, who enjoyed wins in the $35,000 Brickenden Trophy on Thursday riding Coach and the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open aboard Breitling LS on Friday.

“I just took the week class by class, and it is amazing to be tied with someone like Beezie Madden at the end,” said Towell of his Leading International Rider title.  “She is one of the best in the world, and the title is icing on the cake after two wins.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 1.00.11 PM.png

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, which returns as the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on November 2-11, 2018, visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.  For a behind-the-scenes look at the Royal Horse Show, follow The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Facebook, @royalhorseshow on Twitter and @theroyalfair on Instagram.  Tag the Royal Horse Show using #RAWF17, #royalfever, #FEIWorldCup, #Longines, and #RideToParis.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

Special thanks to Jump Media, Inc., for the press release.

$87,000 GroupBy Big Ben Challenge - Saturday, November 11

     Rider / Hometown / Horse / Faults/Time
1.  Hardin Towell / United States / Lucifer V / 0:0/38.37
2.  Francois Lamontagne / St. Eustache, QC / Chanel du Calvaire / 0:0/40.92
3.  Sharn Wordley / New Zealand / Barnetta / 0:0/43.61
4.  Kent Farrington / United States / Creedance / 0:4/36.92
5.  McLain Ward / United States / HH Azur / 0:4/37.58
6.  Daniel Coyle / Ireland / Cita / 0:4/38.75
7.  Kelli Cruciotti / United States / Hadja van Orshof / 0:4/40.74
8.  Adrienne Sternlicht / United States / Cristalline / 0:8/39.02
9.  Conor Swail / Ireland / GK Coco Chanel / 1
10.  Shane Sweetnam / Ireland / Indra van de Oude Heihoef / 4
11.  Leslie Howard / United States / Donna Speciale / 4
12. Beezie Madden / United States / Coach / 4

Posted on November 13, 2017 .

Fall Indoors is Fantastic For Finally Farm

WCHR Pro Finals Winner Liza Boyd and Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan

WCHR Pro Finals Winner Liza Boyd and Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan

From the Capital Challenge in Maryland to the National Horse Show in Kentucky, the Finally Farm clients and horses took top ribbons during the East Coast Fall Indoor show season in October and  November.

In addition to Liza Boyd's victory in the WCHR Professional Finals at the Capital Challenge, she piloted Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan to third place in the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge.

In the Pro Finals, where riders compete on two catch rides and then a horse of their choosing, Liza started out strongly. She earned an average score of 90 in the first round to move into the second place position, and an average score of 90.50 in the second round moved her to the top of the leaderboard where she would remain through the end of the class.

“I had a little bit of luck of the draw,” said Boyd of her second mount, Redfield Farm’s Carolino. “I got the horse that was a little bit nervous the first round for Scott (Stewart), and Scott did a beautiful job of warming him up for me. So, I kind of felt like the amateur rider that got to get on after the pro rode it around. Thank you, Scott!”

The 2017 WCHR Pro Finals was one of the most closely contested Pro Finals in recent memory, with scores in the first and second rounds just fractions apart. It was up to riders to set themselves apart aboard their own mounts in the handy round, and they each pulled out all the stops.

Liza Boyd and O'Ryan

Liza Boyd and O'Ryan

“We had to go for it in the handy. Everyone was amazing in the handy,” said Liza, who elected to ride her veteran partner O’Ryan. “I was actually probably the most nervous on O’Ryan, which I thought it was going to be the opposite going into, but I think Tori Colvin really put the pressure on us going first and doing those really, really hard turns.”

To read more about Liza's WCHR Professional Finals victory, please click here.

Elly Ficca and Quatrain also jumped to impressive performances during the Capital Challenge, taking fifth place in the WCHR 3'3" Junior Hunter Challenge and top ribbons in the section.

With the WCHR season concluding at the Capital Challenge, the Regional winners were invited into the ring for presentations. Finally Farm was well represented in the Southeast Region:

  • Junior 3'6" - First Place - Stella Styslinger
  • Junior 3'3" - First Place - Maggie Hill
  • Junior 3'3" - Second Place - Elly Ficca
  • Junior 3'3" - Fifth Place - Sarah Ekola
  • Handy - Tie First Place - Liza Boyd
  • Professional - Second Place - Liza Boyd
  • Pony - Second Place - Zola Thompson
  • Adult Amateur - Fourth Place - Megan Schall
  • Amateur-Owner, 3'3" - Sixth Place - Mary Carton Mitchener

During the Pennsylvania National, the success continued. Maggie Hill and Coco Chanel won a class in the competitive 3'3" Large Junior section and earned ribbons in every class. Elly Ficca and Quatrain also took ribbons in the 3'3" Small Juniors, while Stella Styslinger and her horses Cassanto and O'Ryan earned excellent ribbons in the 3'6" Junior Hunters.

Jack Towell celebrates!

Jack Towell celebrates!

Then it was on to the Washington International Horse Show, where trainer Jack Towell helped Stella to excellent ribbons in the Small Junior, 16-17, section with O'Ryan and in the Large Junior, 16-17, section with Cassanto, including a second place in the Stake Class.  

"Washington was a little bittersweet. It was Stella's last show as a junior, but her second place was a great round and great way to end up," said Liza. "She’s enjoying UVA, but it's a little sad that she's done with the juniors. She'll take some time off now and get back going in spring or summer as an amateur."

While Washington was going on, Liza took a contingent of horses and riders to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, where they enjoyed beautiful fall weather and a fun horse show.

In addition to riding her Justified in the Adult Jumpers, Kelly Maloney returned to the ring aboard her long-time partner Fieona. "We put her back in the jumper ring, and it was so much fun," said Liza. "Fieona has done the Hunter Derbies with me and the Adult Hunters, and she hadn't been a jumper in years. Kelly bought her as a 5-year-old, and she became Hardin’s grand prix horse and my derby horse. In the Adult Jumpers, she looks so happy out there. She does it like she’s cantering around the derby course with good style and going around like a hunter."

Jack Towell, Stella Styslinger and Cassanto

Jack Towell, Stella Styslinger and Cassanto

Finally Farm also welcomed new client Amy Nolan, of Wilmington, North Carolina, to the barn. She keeps her horses at home and will meet Finally Farm at the shows.

"She rode great and was champion on her horse Curuba in the Adult Amateur, 36-49, section, and she got nice ribbons on her other horse, Extra Credit. We're very excited to have her in the barn!"

Lily Bennett and Zimba continued their top performances in the Low Junior Jumpers. They placed second in every outing to earn the reserve championship.

"She was so solid in every class," said Liza. "It was tough competition and technical courses. She even had one day on international field, which was fun. She’s getting really competitive, and it’s great."

Elle Boyd and her first Classic blue ribbon!

Elle Boyd and her first Classic blue ribbon!

Likewise, Elle Boyd is showing her consistency in the show ring and won the Short Stirrup Classic with Otis Spunkmeyer.   

"It was so exciting, and I was so proud of her," said Liza. "It was a cold and windy day, and they didn’t show until 4 p.m. She had a little rough time in first class, but then she was tough. It was a long course, and I never thought she’d remember it, but she did. She rode well, and she was proud of herself! It was her first Classic and she won!"

The indoor show season culminated at the National Horse Show in Kentucky, where Quatrain and Elly Ficca starred during their final competition together. The pair won both over fences classes the first day in the 3'3" Junior Hunters and ultimately earned the reserve championship.

"How exciting it was that Elly and Quatrain ended their partnership with such a fantastic finish," said Liza. "Elly is moving up to the 3'6" Juniors next year, so Quatrain is now available for the next rider to win on!" 

In addition to enjoying the horse shows, the Towell and Boyd families celebrated the wedding of Blake Boyd's younger sister Margie. She and Aaron Warren were married in Camden, South Carolina, and Elle and Adeline served as flower girls.

Special thanks to the Finally Farm team for all of the wonderful behind-the-scenes photos in the gallery below!

Posted on November 7, 2017 .

Liza Boyd Claims WCHR Pro Finals Title

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 1.03.09 PM.png

Watch Liza Boyd's winning Handy Hunter Round aboard Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan during the $5,000 WCHR Pro Finals!

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – Professional hunter competition concluded on Friday, October 6, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, with the heralded $5,000 World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Finals.

The top six professional hunter riders in the country went head-to-head over three rounds, before Liza Boyd, of Camden, South Carolina, emerged victorious at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center.
 
Boyd, Victoria Colvin, Tracy Fenney, John French, Scott Stewart and Hunt Tosh each contested the first two rounds on a borrowed horse donated for the class before bringing a horse of their own into the ring for the third and final Handy Hunter round.
 
Boyd earned an average score of 90 in the first round to move into the second place position and an average score of 90.50 in the second round would move her to the top of the leaderboard where she would remain through the end of the class. 

Liza Boyd won her second WCHR Professional Finals title aboard Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan.

Liza Boyd won her second WCHR Professional Finals title aboard Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan.

“I had a little bit of luck of the draw,” said Boyd of her second mount, Redfield Farm’s Carolino. “I got the horse that was a little bit nervous the first round for Scott (Stewart), and Scott did a beautiful job of warming him up for me. So, I kind of felt like the amateur rider that got to get on after the pro rode it around. Thank you, Scott!”
 
The 2017 WCHR Pro Finals was one of the most closely contested Pro Finals in recent memory, with scores in the first and second rounds just fractions apart. It was up to riders to set themselves apart aboard their own mounts in the handy round, and they each pulled out all the stops.
 
“We had to go for it in the Handy. Everyone was amazing in the Handy,” said Boyd, who elected to ride her veteran partner O’Ryan, owned by Stella Styslinger. “I was actually probably the most nervous on O’Ryan, which I thought it was going to be the opposite going in, but I think Tori really put the pressure on us going first and doing those really, really hard turns.”
 
To add to the pressure, Boyd was aiming to better the leading point total posted by her close friend Tosh. The two had flip-flopped wins during the week, and Boyd was ready to take her turn.

“I did not want to do that left lead to the first jump at all—the angle that Tori did started the trend,” Boyd said. “Actually, when we walked the course, we didn’t even think about that. I almost didn’t do it, but then Hunt was so good, and I kind of wanted to beat him. We have had a little rivalry since the [age] 12-14 days, where I did win.”

“We have a picture to prove it,” added Tosh with a laugh.
 
“Then, this week, he beat me by half a point in the 3’6” Performance, so I was like, ‘I’m getting you tonight buddy, sorry,’” Boyd added with a smile.
 
Tosh collected the reserve championship title after riding Betsee Parker’s Gotham to a brilliant Handy Hunter round.
 
“It’s always a fun class,” he said. “We always laugh and tell jokes and try to help each other out a little bit or make each other nervous—I don’t know which it is! We had a good time.”
 
Following the conclusion of the class, Scott Stewart’s mount Private Life, owned by Betsee Parker, also received the Shapley’s Best Presented Award. The Far West Farms Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Karazissis Family and given to the donated horse with the highest cumulative points of the WCHR Pro Finals, was presented to Falcon, owned by The Barracks.  

Check out the Capital Challenge Daily Update, below, for more results!

Posted on October 8, 2017 .

Finally Farm Shines at Rolex Central Park Horse Show

22007588_1958007924467042_31799450775635534_n.jpg

"It was one of those shows that just doesn’t happen very often," said Liza Boyd of Finally Farm's domination during the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, held September 20-24 in New York City.

The show couldn't have started out better after Hardin Towell and his student Jennifer Gates captured two major jumper victories to start the week. Hardin topped the $40,000 U.S. Open CSX FEI Speed Class aboard Evergate Stables' Lucifer V. 

Hardin Towell and Lucifer V

Hardin Towell and Lucifer V

Hardin and Lucifer V, a 2006 Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandina), improved upon their third-placed finish last year and clocked a jump-off time of 53.53 seconds. Hardin was the last entry on course and ultimately overtook Daniel Bluman (ISR) aboard Bacara D’Archonfosse, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare (Asca Z x Queen D’Archonfosse) owned by Kim Douglas and Alexa Schwitzer, who stopped the clocks in 55.75 seconds. 

"I felt the course was nice," said Hardin. "It had a twisty turning start, but it wasn’t so big and my horse has been jumping big classes all year. Tonight was a very competitive class, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse, so I took some shots and it was fantastic. I felt he was pretty quick to the second-to-last jump, and I thought my turns were nice. Last week at the American Gold Cup I only got third, but I didn’t trust my horse or myself through the first line, and in the second line I had the third jump down. I would’ve ended up third even if I’d gone clean, so today I decided to believe in my horse. I felt fast today and I knew it was quite good.”

Hardin and Lucifer also placed an impressive second to Kent Farrington riding Creedance in the U.S. Open $216,000 Grand Prix CSI3*, presented by Rolex, and Hardin earned the Leading Rider Award. He noted that Lucifer’s consistency has become one of his greatest strengths, and that trait paid dividends at Central Park.

In the U.S. Open $25,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, Jennifer Gates, of Seattle, Washington, jumped to a speedy double-clear performance aboard Alex for the win. Aboard the 2004 Westphalian gelding (Arpeggio x Marilu) owned by Copernicus Stables LLC, Jennifer bested the class of 13 entries with a jump-off time in 27.14 seconds.

Jennifer Gates and Alex

Jennifer Gates and Alex

“I thought that the first round was really well done,” said Jennifer. “I was really happy with it. I thought Alex helped me out a bit in the first round, so I was really lucky to come in with him for the jump-off and be able to go that fast. I was trying to just come out and go as fast as I could, so I’m really happy with his performance tonight.”

The pair have been together since July, and this is their fourth show together. “I was very lucky to get the ride on this horse. He’s one of the coolest ones I’ve gotten to ride," she said. "He just goes into that ring and does his job. He’s such a sweetheart in the barn; I’m hoping to grow our partnership and work on being a bit faster.”

Hunters Take the Big Apple Stage

Liza followed up on her brother's success with victory in the U.S. Open $50,000 Duchossois Cup, presented by the Gochman Family and Betsee Parker, aboard Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan. 

Walking through Central Park to the horse show

Walking through Central Park to the horse show

"It was a special win, and I’m not sure why, but I got a bit emotional when they threw the cooler over O'Ryan's back," said Liza, who considered the late Bruce Duchossois a dear friend. "I think it was also being in the city with my family and the unique energy there. Showing at Central Park is really exciting if you have the right horse, and walking through Central Park to the schooling area is really amazing."

Liza described the two-round class as a fun but serious competition, and she particularly liked the format of the show. "Being able to focus on one ring and one class I feel is a little taste of what the jumper riders are used to when they attend the FEI events," she said. "We're so used to running from ring to ring, that this was special. We were able to spend time back at the barn talking and hanging out. The Tosh family even had time to take Elle to the Central Park Zoo, so that was quite fun for her."

Liza enjoyed course designer Bobby Murphy's track. "There were pretty jumps, but only so much you can do there with the size and shape of the ring," she said. "The course wasn't technical, but it was mostly verticals, so the biggest challenge was not to rub the fences. With the atmosphere there, though, it was enough of a challenge just walking into the ring!"

After the first round, Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy held the lead with Liza and O'Ryan second by 1 point. "Miss Lucy just loves that venue. I'm amazed at how she can keep that height over those smaller jumps," said Liza. "She went the best in the first round and was beautiful,"

In the second round, Hunt Tosh set the pace with a score of 89, so Liza knew she had to go for it. "I thought, 'OK, now the judges are throwing out high scores, so you have to make sure you keep the height and be bold.' I tried to gallop enough but tried not to let him get strung out or get a rub. I thought he jumped better the second round. He had nice height through the in-and-out, and then I did gallop to the last jump to finish off with flair, and he went great and got the 90. We were on top."

O'Ryan and Liza Boyd with father Jack Towell, daughter Elle and presenters, from left, Katherine Bellisimo and Becky and David Gochman.

O'Ryan and Liza Boyd with father Jack Towell, daughter Elle and presenters, from left, Katherine Bellisimo and Becky and David Gochman.

As she walked out of the ring, Jen entered aboard Miss Lucy. Due to the way the ring is set up, Liza wasn't able to watch Miss Lucy go as she walked back to the schooling area. 

"I was really happy with my performance, so I thought if I’m first or second that would be great," she said. "Jen had last year off due to her knee injury, so I would be just as happy if I won or if she did.  In the end, it was basically splitting hairs because I won by half a point. 

Liza Boyd and Jen Alfano 

Liza Boyd and Jen Alfano 

"Jen and I are great friends and walk these courses together and cheer each other on. This year we added Hunt to the mix, and that was great. We laughed, because we almost gave him too much information since he'd never been here before and almost beat us!" she joked. "But that's the fun part about the sport, these great friends. Having the three of there at the press conference was wonderful, and it didn't matter which one won. We were all cheering each other on. I think that this event brought that out in us because we were able to spend so much quality time together."

Stella Styslinger and Cassanto

Stella Styslinger and Cassanto

Even though Stella Styslinger is a busy freshman at the University of Virginia, she made the Central Park Horse Show a major goal. And the time and effort she put into preparation paid off with the victory in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic aboard Cassanto. 

"I'm so happy for her," said Liza. "Stella did this class last year and was third on O’ Ryan, so she understood the format. She rode beautifully, went in with confidence and stuck to the plan we had. In the schooling area, which is quite small, she had a couple of mistakes, but she didn’t let that bother her. I was so proud of her."

Pony rider Zola Thompson took fifth place in the Pony Hunter Classic aboard Elegance. "She rode really well, was relaxed and focused, and the pony jumped great. She left very confident, and the show was great preparation for the fall indoor shows ahead of her."

Zola Thompson and Elegance

Zola Thompson and Elegance

Although there were many people who contributed to Finally Farm's success at Central Park, Liza cited the most important person to thank is Katie Wood.

"We had it easy compared to Katie. She’s the one who was out at Gladstone with the horses, and her hours were crazy," said Liza. "She came to the horse show and worked all day long. Between preparing and shipping the horses from New Jersey to the show, she was up for 26 hours straight. She went above and beyond, and I can't thank her enough for having all of the horses so well prepared and beautifully turned out. She made it all happen." 

Special thanks also to James Parker and The Book LLC photographers Vicci Valenti and Sam MacDonald for the amazing photos that truly captured the moments and memories that we'll cherish forever!

Posted on September 28, 2017 .

Fun For Finally Farm at Aiken Fall Festival

IMG_2222.JPG

The Finally Farm team spent two weeks at the Aiken Fall Festival at Bruce’s Field, September 7-17, and enjoyed ample victories, great accomplishments and rewarding returns.

After having shoulder surgery over the summer, Erin McGuire returned to the show ring aboard her Kasarr. They captured the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper championship and Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic during Week 2 after earning the reserve championship and taking second place in the classic during Week 1.

Erin McGuire and Kasarr

Erin McGuire and Kasarr

“It’s so exciting that Erin is back,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “It was as if she’d never left. Throughout her rehab she was so smart about everything and is crazy about her fitness. I think she’s stronger than ever, and she was so aware of coming back and keeping herself fit. That certainly helped her return so successfully.”

Finally Farm’s 3’3” Junior Hunter riders continued to be a force, taking tricolors and classic wins both weeks.

Zola Thompson and Elegance

Zola Thompson and Elegance

“All three riders, Elly Ficca, Sara Ekola and Maggie Hill, finished the two weeks as grand champion, champion and winners of the classic,” said Liza. “They all had a great last day and had their photo with Jack (see above). It’s a nice way to get set up for the fall indoor shows.”

Zola Thompson not only earned Medium Pony Hunter tricolors both weeks, but she was also featured in The Chronicle of the Horse magazine. The article, titled: “Big Apples For Small Ponies: The Five Most Important Lessons From Zola Thompson,” interviewed Zola about her preparations for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Click here to read what Zola had to say about her ponies, role models and future goals!

Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer

Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer

Elle Boyd also made great strides in the pony ring during Aiken, stepping up to top performances the Short Stirrup section with Otis Spunkmeyer.

“I’m really proud of her,” said Liza of her daughter. “The first week there were nine in the classes, and she got low ribbons. And she said to me, ‘Mom, I was last in every class.’ I told her, ‘You get out what you put in. You were doing great, but lately you’ve been coming home from school and trail riding or riding bareback.’”

Elle thought about her mom’s advice and stepped up her game for Week 2. After a few focused lessons, Elle was better prepared for her classes.

“She came to the ring so ready the next day,” said Liza. “Unfortunately, she was the only one in the division. But we took it very seriously! She worked hard on riding her corners correctly for the lead changes and improved and had a great time. I thought, ‘Who cares about the competition?’ In the end, I just want these kids to learn and improve their skills.”

Megan Schall and Frederica also stepped up during Aiken and into the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter section. They were more than ready, as the pair finished the two weeks with the Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Championship.

Megan Schall and Frederica

Megan Schall and Frederica

“Megan and Frederica also did their first USHJA National Hunter Derby, and they were great,” said Liza. “She’s riding amazing, forward and accurate, and the mare has really blossomed after switching over from being a jumper to a hunter. Meg’s really bonded with the mare, too. She’s always out hand grazing her and loves her horse.”

Stella Styslinger just entered her freshman year at the University of Virginia this fall, but she took the time to travel to Aiken for Week 2 as preparation for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. She earned ribbons on Cassiana in the High Children’s Jumpers, was champion on Cassanto in the 3’6” Junior Hunters and won a class on O’Ryan.

Finally Farm's next stop is the Rolex Central Park Horse in New York City!

Posted on September 21, 2017 .

Hardin Towell Claims Third in The American Gold Cup

Hardin Towell and Lucifer V

Hardin Towell and Lucifer V

Hardin Towell is well on the way to qualifying for his third Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final after placing third in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W.

The American Gold Cup is one of only seven events that comprise the East Coast division of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League. Top equestrian athletes compete in the league at events all across North America in order to qualify for the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, to be held in Paris, France, April 10–15, 2018.

The 2017 American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm came to an end on Sunday, September 17, as some of the world’s top international show jumping athletes competed for the coveted American Gold Cup trophy.  The United States claimed the top prize for the second year in a row as Devin Ryan secured the victory aboard the 8-year-old KWPN gelding Eddie Blue.

The top 39 athletes from Friday’s $86,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier CSI4*-W, presented by Windsor Show Stables, came forward to compete on the Grand Prix Field in Sunday’s grand finale over two challenging tracks designed by Alan Wade and Nigel Jess.

The large first round course utilized the field’s natural slopes and hills to test athletes over a series of 14 obstacles, where a majority of faults were collected through the Longines triple combination (oxer-oxer-vertical). Five combinations advanced to the jump-off after producing clear efforts in the first round.

Brianne Goutal (USA) kicked off the tie-breaking round with Remarkable Farms LLC’s Nice De Prissey. The pair won the 2013 American Gold Cup together but concluded Sunday’s competition on 4 faults in 40.12 seconds, which would garner them fourth place in the final standings.

Canada’s Mario Deslauriers and Bardolina, owned by Wishing Well Farm, LLC, experienced an unfortunate parting of ways at the third element of the eight-fence jump-off, resulting in an elimination. Both horse and athlete received a round of applause for their efforts after immediately getting back on their feet and reuniting.

Just coming off their recent win in the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament’s $75,000 Agero Grand Prix at the end of August, Ryan and Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC, claimed the first clear performance of the jump-off. They blazed around the short course in 37.75 seconds, knowing world number three ranked show jumping rider and New York native McLain Ward (USA) would be following him in the order-of-go.

Ward and HH Callas, owned by Double H Farm, took their turn on the Grand Prix Field next, also finishing clear but one second behind Ryan in 38.34 seconds. Jack Towell and Evergate Stables LLC’s Lucifer V were the final challengers of Sunday’s main event. They posted the fastest 4-fault effort in 39.51 seconds for third place, while Ward took home second place honors.

Special thanks to The American Gold Cup and Phelps Media Group for the press release.

Posted on September 18, 2017 .

Summer Fun For Finally Farm

The Finally Farm team took a well-earned break after the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive and Derby Championships in August, with family members and friends enjoying the recent eclipse by horseback and some taking a trip out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a different equine experience!

IMG_2104.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

    Summer Break!

                          Time for some fun in the sun!

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

USHJA Championship in Photos

21082948_1530208787038239_7206695388706699152_o.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

USHJA Championships

Kentucky Horse Park - August 2017

Team Finally Farm spent the week of August 14-20 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, which featured the USHJA International Hunter Derby and USHJA Green Hunter Incentive championships.

It was a great week, with lots of wonderful performances from the young and green hunters to the veterans O'Ryan and Cassanto, who made it to the Section A Handy Hunter Round under the lights on Saturday night.  

USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship

Elizabeth Fogleman's Sawyer

Megan Schall's Frederica

Kelley King's Refined


USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

Stella Styslinger's Cassanto and O'Ryan

Finally Farm and Westerly Farm's Clemens

 

Posted on August 25, 2017 .

Blowing Rock Results in Rewards For Finally Farm

Always a summer highlight, The 94th Annual Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show didn't disappoint as Finally Farm riders and horses starred in the ring and enjoyed ample time for celebration and relaxation, July 26-August 6 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. 

Success was ample, from the ponies to the USHJA International Hunter Derby to the jumpers, over the two weeks spent in the North Carolina mountains.

"We had a great show, and it was so much fun," said trainer Liza Boyd. "The staff and volunteers do an amazing job, and each year they find a way to improve it!"

Liza was particularly proud of one of their youngest students, Zola Thompson, who set a pretty impressive goal and worked hard to achieve it.

Zola Thompson and Elegance

Zola Thompson and Elegance

"Zola came down to Camden the week before Blowing Rock and had lessons. Her goal was to be grand champion on her pony, Elegance," said Liza. "I thought, 'Gosh, this is going to be hard!' One day she came out to the barn and wanted a flat lesson and wanted to learn how to get her pony on the bit. She just worked and worked. In the end, she was Medium Pony champion both weeks and just missed the grand championship.

"But it was so exciting to watch the progression and see how a student can set a goal and attain it," Liza added. "Her focus on flatwork really has made her stronger and more aware of her pony’s track. For example, learning how to move her pony into the outside rein, which is a little technical for a young rider, made a big difference. Showing is more than just jumping around, and she's old enough now to learn how to get a lot more out of her pony."

Liza also found her own success throughout Blowing Rock and earned a number of the traditional silver memorial and perpetual trophies, many named after icons in the industry who helped establish Blowing Rock nearly a century ago.

Liza Boyd and Cassanto

Liza Boyd and Cassanto

Liza guided Maggie Hill's Capriccio to the meaningful Roger Young Memorial Grand Conformation Hunter Championship. "This win meant a lot. Roger always loved conformation horses," said Liza of her late Camden neighbor. "Maggie was also grand champion in the 3’3” Juniors on him and earned the Critz Trophy. He's such a nice horse, shows you the distances and is so beautiful between the jumps. I've found that all types of judges seem to like him; he’s very appealing."

Stella Styslinger's Cassanto also earned double grand titles, first with Liza for their 3’6" Performance Working Hunter championship and then with Stella and Devin Seek in the irons for the Cassalo Trophy as the Grand Large Junior Hunter Champion. Stella's O'Ryan also won the Lyrik Trophy for Overall Grand Champion Junior Hunter and the Elizabeth Crockett Luczak Trophy for Grand Champion Small Junior Hunter.

It wouldn't be Blowing Rock without a touch of rain!

It wouldn't be Blowing Rock without a touch of rain!

In addition, Wells Fargo sponsored a rider bonus program where the top-scoring rider from each day from each ring received $500 and his or her groom received $100.

"So, it was really fun and competitive--we were all really going for it," said Liza. "And what was great was that some days the Ponies and the Green Hunters would go in the same ring, so the kids would be riding against the professionals! One day Maddie Tosh beat her dad, Hunt. It was cool because it wasn’t just the pros winning. Devin Seek also got it one day on Cassanto in the Juniors and Mary Carton Mitchener won it in the Amateur-Owners. I won the bonus twice on Cassanto. He was jumping to some really high scores! And Maggie Hill got it one day. It's a great idea, and I believe Burr Collier thought of it and Wells Fargo took it on, and I thank them all for coming up with such a great idea!" 

Liza also thanked Devin Seek for once again riding Stella's Cassanto and O'Ryan when she couldn't be there the first week. Liza finished up the first week with second place aboard Cassanto in the $15,000 Kathryn G. Clark Memorial Challenge of Champions behind Havens Schatt aboard Crack. Liza also picked up fourth place with Clemens. 

Sunday evening of Week 1 also featured Finally Farm's traditional good-bye gala for the juniors graduating and going onto college. This year, the celebration was for Stella, who will be moving to Virginia and Mary Carton Mitchener, who is off to California. Mary Carton finished her final show with Trinity by earning her highest score to date of an 88 and taking the reserve championship.

For the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, Liza and Cassanto jumped to the top with Clemens placing third. 

"I always think Blowing Rock is a great prep for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in Kentucky. Even though it's a smaller ring, the class is held at night, it's dark with a party, and there's a lot of energy around the ring," she explained. "It's a lot of pressure for the horses and riders. This year's course was hard, the jumps were big and the Handy was really challenging. Some of the distances were set on the half-stride, so you had to plan and make good decisions."

Liza and Cassanto stood second going into the Handy, and she chose to jump three of the four high options but added some tighter turns to up the degree of difficulty. In the end, her strategy paid off as she edged Sara Taylor with Carento for the blue ribbon. Clemens also rallied in the Handy to move up from seventh to third overall.   

"It felt like good prep for my horses and myself. I'm super proud of Clemens. He's a First Year Green horse, and he was really on his game," she said. "This was a positive note going into his first Derby Finals."

As preparation for the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship, Liza piloted Megan Schall's Frederica to a reserve championship in the 3'3" Green Hunter section, and Liz Fogleman's Sawyer earned good ribbons both weeks. "Blowing Rock is always a good experience for a young horse, because sometimes they show later in the evening as they do at the Green Incentive. There are no warm ups, like Kentucky, so they have to walk right into a spooky ring. It's a good way to gauge their preparation, and they both seem ready, so we're all looking forward to Kentucky!"

Elly Ficca with Quatrain, Ellen Addison riding El Tindo, Sarah Isgett riding Fieona and Sarah Ekola with Zanzibar also collected top ribbons in their respective sections during Blowing Rock to wind down their summer show seasons. 

In the Jumper Ring, Lily Bennett showed just Week 2 but made it count. "She had a great day on the final Sunday and was second in the Low Children's Jumper Classic on Athina 18, just ahead of Stella with Cassiana, and Lily also claimed third in the Highs on Zimba," said Liza. "Everyone had a great time at Blowing Rock this year, and we're now looking forward to Derby and the Green Incentive championships!"

Posted on August 9, 2017 .

Championship Time at Charleston

Liza Boyd and Clemens won the USHJA National Hunter Derby

Liza Boyd and Clemens won the USHJA National Hunter Derby

Finally Farm's Clemens continued to impress on the summer show circuit, this time winning the USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Charleston Summer Classic, July 11-16 on John's Island, South Carolina. In addition, the entire Finally Farm team enjoyed ample success as well, taking home nine championships and reserves in the hunters, jumpers and ponies.

Trainer Liza Boyd has been partnered with Clemens since the spring, and they're developing a strong partnership as they focus on the USHJA Derby classes. "At Charleston, I also did some jumper classes, which was really good for him. Also, because the Derby went in the jumper ring I wanted to get in that ring and familiarize him with the environment. There were end jumps and bending lines, so that was nice to do. For that horse show, it was good strategy."

Because this Derby went in the evening, Liza also wanted Clemens to experience the atmosphere, such as spectators around the ring and the different fences.

Liza was pleased with the Derby itself, which featured courses designed by Allen Rheinheimer. 
"Allen did a great job. The courses were nice, with bending lines and unique fences. It was great practice and exposure for Clemens," she said.

Liza also piloted Capriccio to the 3'3"/3'6" Green Hunter championship and Karen Lackinger's Gratis to the 3' Green Hunter championship, 

"Gratis was champion, which was good for him because he'll take a break now," said Liza. "He's not quite ready for Blowing Rock or Kentucky, so this was a great way for him to wrap up the summer. He'll go home now and trail ride and show again this fall in Aiken. We also like to give the young horses this valuable down time to relax."

Capriccio is a new face at Finally Farm, as Maggie Hill just began leasing him from owner Samantha Kench. Their debut in the 3'3" Juniors was a championship one, as the pair quickly clicked. Maggie also earned ribbons on Shamrock and Co Co Chanel for a strong showing in the section.

Maggie Hill and Capriccio 

Maggie Hill and Capriccio 

Finally Farm dominated the 3'6" Juniors, taking the championship with Trinity and reserve championship with Cassanto. Devin Seek took the reins aboard Mary Carton Mitchener's Trinity and Stella Styslinger's Cassanto and O'Ryan for the show, also winning the Junior Hunter Classic aboard O'Ryan.

A similar sweep occurred in the Medium Pony Hunters as Finally Farm-trained riders dominated. Behold and Dylan Driver earned the championship, while Zola Thompson's consistent performances with Elegance resulted in the reserve championship ribbon. Zola as well as second place in the Small/Medium Pony Hunter Classic. 

"We trained Dylan because her trainer, Jessica Ogburn, couldn’t be there," said Liza. "She was fun to teach. Zola won the model and another class. She rode great."

Ellen Addison joined Finally Farm at Charleston and earned the Adult Amateur Hunter, 50 and over, section championship riding El Tindo. "She lives in Alabama, and her horse is really cute. She's hasn't shown in a while and intends to move back up to the 3'3" Amateurs at Blowing Rock. We look forward to having her in the barn!"

 

Posted on July 27, 2017 .

Tricolor Time For Finally Farm at Atlanta Summer Classics

Frederica and Megan Schall

Frederica and Megan Schall

The Atlanta Summer Classics, held June 14-25 at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, provided a great start to the summer show season for Finally Farm riders and horses. 

For Megan Schall, Week 2 proved particularly memorable as she and Frederica made their 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter debut. They won three of the five section classes and placed second in the Handy round.

"Meg did the Adult Amateurs during Week I and was reserve champion, so we thought it was time. This week she moved up to the 3’3”, and what a debut it was," said trainer Liza Boyd. "It was very exciting. I asked her, 'When’s the last time you did a handy?' She said, 'When I was a junior!' The mare is really coming along, and Meg rode her super."

Liza and Frederica also earned the 3'3" Green Hunter championship both weeks of Atlanta as well as top ribbons in the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Stake class. Similarly, Elizabeth Fogleman's Sawyer continued to rack up the ribbons in the 3'3" Greens and the USHJA Stake classes, with excellent performances both weeks.

Liza piloted Finally Farm's Clemens to another solid performance in the USHJA International Hunter Derby during Week 2 as she prepares him for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in August.

"I didn't show him the first week because I wanted to save him for Week 2, which was a WCHR week," said Liza of her showing strategy. "I wanted to aim him for the 3'6" Greens, and he was champion and got good WCHR points.

"The International Derby was Friday morning, and it was quite a good derby and competitive," she noted. "There were many seasoned horses in the class. Clemens was great in the Classic Round, and placed fourth, but did get a little green in the Handy Round. It was partially rider error, as well," she added with a smile. "I angled him for a slice, and he wasn't sure whether we wee jumping the high or low option, and he swapped. But he did all of the inside turns, which were tricky and tough, and he did all the high options. We ended up sixth overall, and I was really pleased with him."

Stella Styslinger and Cassanto

Stella Styslinger and Cassanto

Cassanto and O’Ryan continued their winning streaks during both weeks of Atlanta, earning tricolor honors and many blue ribbons. Liza was especially thrilled with Cassanto's performances during Week 2. 

"Stella rode him amazing!" she said. "They won three classes, and he jumped beautifully. He really loves her and goes the best for her. She frames him up a little, and he just loves the way she rides him. She had one of the best trips I’ve ever seen her have, so that was really rewarding."

Once again Devin Seek assisted with the riding duties for Finally Farm, showing Trinity for Mary Carton Mitchener in the 3'6" Juniors where they earned the reserve championship and won the Junior Hunter Classic. 

"Mary Carton is going to California to college, so Trinity will now be for sale," said Liza. "He's a great Junior/Amateur Hunter and was also reserve champion in the 3'6" Performance Working Hunters with me. Devin is catch riding him for Junior Hunter points and did a great job."

Maggie Hill returned to the East Coast after finishing up school in Wyoming, and she didn't miss a beat. She piloted Co Co Chanel to the 3'3" Junior Hunter reserve championship and won the 3’3” Junior Hunter Classic.

"This was a tough division, with 26 in it, and it wasn't split," said Liza. "She actually tied for the reserve with Co Co and Shamrock, so that was great. It was exactly one year ago that she started leasing Shamrock, and to see how far they’ve come in a year is awesome. The last round they scored an 87 in the Handy, and it's so fun to see how they've both grown and matured. Even though she wasn't able to show Week 1, she sent him with me for the USHJA National Hunter Derby, which helped him gain more mileage and he ended up second."

In the jumpers, Finally Farm riders also claimed top honors. Kelly Maloney and Justified earned championship honors in the Adult Amateur 1.10m section. "Kelly hadn’t shown in a little while, so it was great for her to pop in and win. All of those miles in Florida really paid off, and Kelly rode really well."

Lily Bennett jumped to the reserve championship in the 1.15m Children's/Adult Jumpers with Zimba, continuing her move up the levels.

Finally Farm now takes a short break from showing, but the summer fun and jumping continues on!

IMG_3537.JPG
IMG_3536.JPG

 

Posted on June 28, 2017 .

Finally Farm Sees Success at Tryon Summer II

Liza Boyd and Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan

Liza Boyd and Stella Styslinger's O'Ryan

In addition to hosting the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame Inductions, where Finally Farm's Monday Morning earned a coveted place in the Hall, the Tryon Summer II Horse Show featured top competition, June 7-11 in Mill Spring, North Carolina.

Finally Farm’s Clemens continued to gain more mileage and ribbons in the USHJA International Hunter Derbies, with a sixth-placed finish overall in the $25,000 class at Tryon. 

“The Derby was held on the grass field, and it was a little overwhelming for some of the horses,” said Liza. “It’s a big, open field with eventing fences and ditches, and Clemens handled it quite well and held it together.”

Liza described the field as maturing nicely, with a firmer feel than when she competed there previously.  It was just to O’Ryan’s liking, as he placed second overall after placing second in the Classic and Handy rounds. She placed just behindSchuyler Riley aboard Cleopatra’s Smile.

“This was one of those instances where as a rider I had to make a choice and strategize,” she said. “I could have jumped more of the high options, and we might have won. When we started, he raised up a little, and so I did two high and two low options just to be on the safe side.

“But that’s what makes the derbies exciting,” she continued. “I could have done one more high option and got the win, but I also could have knocked it down and got nothing. In my mind it was better to get $5,500 than no prize money. Schuyler did all of the high options. And with her on that white horse with her red jacket galloping around the field, she looked amazing. It was great that a grand prix show jumping rider had so much fun and loves doing the derbies. She took more of a risk, and it paid off, and I’m thrilled with my red ribbon.”

With Stella Styslinger unable to attend Tryon, Finally Farm once again borrowed Devin Seek from Don Stewart Stables to take the reins aboard Cassanto and O’Ryan in the Junior Hunters. The trip was worthwhile, as Devin earned the 3’6” championship with O’Ryan and was reserve aboard Cassanto. As icing on the cake, she also placed first and second in the Junior Hunter Classic with them.

“We really appreciate having Devin ride with us,” said Liza. “She so much fun and has a great work ethic.”

Zimba shows off his loot!

Zimba shows off his loot!

Liza jumped aboard Stella’s Cassiana in the 1.10m open jumpers and placed first and second of 26 entries and earned the reserve championship.

Lily Bennett and Zimba continued on their High Children’s Jumper winning streak. The pair won the NAL/WIHS High Children’s Jumper Classic and the section championship.

“What a great horse-and-rider match they are,” said Liza. “He’s phenomenal, and Lily has really learned to ride these jumpers. I’m impressed with how far she’s come and how educated she’s become.”

Unlike many professionals who ride clients’ horses to keep then sharp and on their game, Liza piloted Zimba in the 1.10m to slow him down.

“He’s a winning machine, and he’s so eager. I get on him every Wednesday and make him have time faults and go straight,” she said laughing. “The whistle will blow, and he’s into it, leaping forward. He knows how to win, and he’s good at it. I have to tell him, ‘We’re going to lose a class by going straight and deep into the corners. Then, when Lily gets back on he’s ready to listen.”

Lily Bennett and Zimba

Lily Bennett and Zimba

Elly Ficca and Quatrain continued their domination in the 3’3” Junior Hunters, winning four of the five classes in the section and placing second in the other for the championship

“She was awesome, super consistent, and she had the best handy I’ve ever seen her have,” said Liza. “I think a lot of her success has come from practice. She’s come to Camden frequently for lessons, and it’s paid off.”

Zola Thompson’s hard work has also paid dividends. She won the handy in the Medium Pony section and earned other top ribbons. Elle Boyd added to her ribbon collection with the reserve championship in the Short/Long Stirrup section aboard Otis Spunkmeyer.

“We’ve been working on the track and not cutting corners, and she was really focused,” said Liza. “She won an over fences class and placed in the top three in all of her other jumping classes. She’s off to her first sleepover camp for a week near Tryon with Joann Loheac’s daughter, Olivia. I hope they have lots of fun.”

 

Posted on June 19, 2017 .

Monday Morning Inducted Into the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame

Monday Morning and Liza Towell Boyd

Monday Morning and Liza Towell Boyd

The Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame honored the 2017 inductees during a ceremony on June 9 at the Legends Club at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina. The Tryon Riding and Hunt Club created the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding Show Hunters and Horsemen from North and South Carolina.

During this, the inaugural year, the inductees included Finally Farm’s famed show hunter Monday Morning. In addition, trainer Jack Towell was a 2017 honoree and also inducted longtime friend and trainer Danny Robertshaw. Other inductees included Kathryn G. Clark, Jarrett Schmid, Protocol, Remember The Laughter, Silverminer and Western Prospect.

“It was a blast. Joann Loheac (the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame Committee chair) did an amazing job organizing it, as did the entire committee that hosted it,” said Liza Boyd. “It was such fun to hear all of the great stories. Jack received an award, and he spoke for Danny Robertshaw and talked about a class that Danny won at the Washington International on Protocol when Jack was judging. He kept saying, ‘It was the best round I’ve ever seen—except for that one round with Brunello at Derby Finals…the stories were amazing.”

Liza rode Monday Morning to countless Junior Hunter championships in the mid-1990s. His HOF bio read:

Monday Morning – was an off-the-track-Thoroughbred and champion Junior Hunter. He was owned and ridden by Liza Towell (now Boyd), of Finally Farm in Camden, South Carolina. Monday Morning was champion at the Devon Horse Show, Capital Challenge, the Pennsylvania National, the Washington International and the National Horse Show in the Small Junior Hunter division. He won the inaugural $25,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular in 1997, with an average two-round score of 90.6. Liza Towell Boyd distinctly remembers the night of her victory, “I have to say, it is probably one of the most memorable highlights of my career. It was a huge boost as I started out as a professional the next year.” In 1996, Monday Morning was named The Chronicle of the Horse “Overall Horse of the Year.”

Liza and Monday Morning after winning the inaugural WCHR Hunter Classic Spectacular in Florida in 1997. Painting by Michael Tang based on a photo by Tricia Booker

Liza and Monday Morning after winning the inaugural WCHR Hunter Classic Spectacular in Florida in 1997. Painting by Michael Tang based on a photo by Tricia Booker

“When Monday Morning got his award, I’d kind of forgotten his story and everything that happened,” said Liza. “He had bowed his tendon on the track, and one truck came to take horses to the slaughterhouse and one arrived at the same time to pick up the broodmares. He got on the wrong truck. When he got to the farm, a lady saw him and said, ‘He’s pretty. I’ll rehab him.’ Then there’s another part of the story when she’s driving him to Florida from New York and gets stuck in a snowstorm. She ends up leading him down the interstate, and he was clipped without a blanket. He ended up tied up in a chicken coop. I think in the end he was so appreciative to have me and become a show horse.”

The Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame had a casual inception. One evening in October of 2016, Gerald Pack, of Columbus, North Carolina, and Jack Towell ran into each other while dining at Landrum’s The Hare and Hound. Gerald and Jack began reminiscing about all the great show hunters and horsemen from the Tryon area. Their journey down memory lane became an endless list of famous horses and individuals from the Carolinas.

“Soon after, Gerald called me with the idea of putting together a Hall of Fame to honor these notable people and horses,” said Joann Loheac on the HOF website page. “At that time, we were serving as directors on the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club’s (TRHC) board. We were excited to add the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame to TRHC’s historic and equestrian centered organization.”

The induction ceremony included a slideshow on the Jumbotron that included great, old photos. “The whole thing gave me goosebumps,” said Liza. “It was a fantastic evening.”

For more information, to view more photos and read about this year's inductees, please visit the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame website.

Posted on June 19, 2017 .

Finally Farm Celebrates Derby Wins in the Carolinas

Liza Boyd and Clemens won the USHJA International Hunter Derby at Tryon

Liza Boyd and Clemens won the USHJA International Hunter Derby at Tryon

"Derby Friday" was the them for Finally Farm for the past two weeks during the Aiken Spring Classic II in South Carolina, and the Equus Events Tryon May III Horse Show in North Carolina.

"We've had an amazing run of derby successes two weeks back-to-back," said trainer Liza Boyd of their wins in four USHJA International and National Hunter Derby classes.  

The Friday of each show featured the Derby classes, and during Tryon, Liza won both derbies.

Liza Boyd and Shamrock won the USHJA National Hunter Derby at Tryon

Liza Boyd and Shamrock won the USHJA National Hunter Derby at Tryon

Friday May 19 began with the USHJA National Hunter Derby with 31 entries. Show managers opened two rings for the class, allowing ample room and a different venue where Maggie Hill's Shamrock showed off his winning talents.

"It was neat because we had this huge ring to ride in, and the course designer brought in basically all the same jumps used in the International Hunter Derby," said Liza. "Because of the three-day events held there, they even had cross-country jumps incorporated into both derbies. They were really interesting and definitely types of fences I’d never jumped before. One they made into a lower option fence, but it was super wide and stout and had no standards. Amazingly, all of the horses jumped it great."

Liza and Shamrock won the Classic Round and earned the Overall victory in a competitive field of entries. "He’s matured this past winter, and I want to credit Maggie, who leases him now," said Liza. "She's done an amazing job and added the finishing touches."

Over the winter, Liza and Maggie, of Jackson, Wyoming, focused on flatwork and gymnastics with the 8-year-old chestnut Hanoverian, which strengthened his topline and encouraged him to jump with more power from behind. Earlier in the week, Liza and Shamrock also won a 3'6" Performance Working Hunter class with a score of 89.

Their victory set the stage for the USHJA International Hunter Derby, held in the George H. Morris Stadium. Again, the course featured cross-country fences and unique additions, such as whiskey barrels.

"This was a great course and great preparation for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships since it was held in a stadium setting and included all the different jumps," she said.   

Liza had two rides in the Derby, the veteran Cassanto and her newest partner, Clemens, a 7-year-old bay Oldenburg owned by Finally Farm and Westerly Farm. And, it was Clemens who rose to the occasion.

"During the Classic round, he trotted into the ring and put his head up. He'd never seen anything like this before," said Liza. "I had to hold his hand, but as he went he got better and better. He was overwhelmed but trying so hard not to mess up. My plan was to do all of the low options and qualify him for Derby Finals. After the Classic, he was sixth, right where I wanted him to be, and Cassanto was third."

Liza returned aboard Clemens for the Handy Round and again sought to have a solid round. As she went around the course, Liza realized Clemens was confident and focused, so she chose to add in the high option fences. 

"As I went, he was so good I ended up doing all four high options. I incorporated some tight turns as well, and I couldn't believe how smart this horse is," she said. "Everything you teach him he figures out immediately. Physically, he's not as strong yet, so does get tired, but I was thrilled to score a 90 and 89 before high options and handy points were added."

Watch Clemens and Liza Boyd take their winning Handy Round!

On the afternoon of Friday on May 12, Liza and O'Ryan topped the USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Aiken Spring Classic II after Lindsay Maxwell won the USHJA National Hunter Derby that morning at Tryon Spring II.

"Lindsay set the standard by winning the USHJA National Derby at Tryon that morning. I have to thank her because Jack (Towell) went up to train her, and came back to Aiken for the International Derby here. I said, 'Thank you for sending Jack home in a good mood!'' 

Lindsay Maxwell and Catalyst won the USHA National Hunter Derby in Tryon

Lindsay Maxwell and Catalyst won the USHA National Hunter Derby in Tryon

Maxwell rode Catalyst to the victory in a competitive class of 25 entries. "Jack had helped her once before at Aiken and enjoyed his trip to Tryon," said Liza. "He said, 'Wow, she’s really competitive.' It turned out the horse that went before her scored a 90, and Jack gave her some options for doing inside turns. And she said, 'I’m going for the 92.' Jack said, 'I like this competitive girl!' She went in and went for it, and won that derby and was great."

Liza Boyd and O'Ryan won the USHJA International Hunter Derby at Aiken

Liza Boyd and O'Ryan won the USHJA International Hunter Derby at Aiken

Maxwell's banner show also included the addition of a new partner, as Finally Farm and Archie Cox congratulated her on the purchase on Largesse from Hunt Tosh and the Wheelers.

Down in Aiken, O’Ryan and Liza also topped the derby card in a challenging class. Boyd went first on Stella Styslinger's Cassanto in the Classic Round and was the pacesetter.

"When we walked the course, the bending lines all seemed to walk forward," she said. "It was interesting because it's not a huge ring, but it's not quite like a derby field. I got into a good gallop for a derby, and it turned out I just had too much gallop. The first line was a forward nine, and as I got down there I thought, 'What's happening?' Three strides out I had to pull on the reins and was deep out. It was a little unfortunate to go first."

After riding Cassanto, Liza had O’Ryan at the end of the class and knew more of the plan she needed. Since she knows O’Ryan well, her strategy in the Handy was to go for the win, take some hard inside turns and most of the high options. 

"Stella couldn't make it to Aiken, so we felt having Cassanto and O'Ryan do the derby was a good preparation for Devon," she said. "Devon will have some spookier jumps and a more challenging course, so this was a good class to get them tuned up for her, as well."

At Tryon, Devin Seek showed Cassanto and O'Ryan and took championship honors in both Junior Hunter sections. "She did a wonderful job, and it was so nice of her. I want to thank Don Stewart for sharing her for the weekend," said Liza. 

Other Finally Farm champions during Tryon and Aiken included: Lindsay Maxwell's Technicolor in the 3'9" Green Hunters; Co Co Chanel and Maggie Hill in the 3'3" Juniors; Frederica and Meg Schall in the Adult Amateur, 18-35, section; Quatrain and Elly Ficca in the 3'3" Juniors; Trinity and Mary Carton Mitchener in the 3'3" Amateur-Owners; and Otis Spunkmeyer and Elle Boyd in the Short Stirrup.

Zola Thompson and Elegance also won the Pony Hunter Classic, and Joann Loheac's Callahan won the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive. Technicolor also earned the overall Grand Hunter title for the two weeks of Aiken.

"I feel good that everyone did so well over these two weeks," said Liza. "For some, it was a great prep for Devon and others made great strides in their ongoing goals. We look forward to Devon next week and continuing the momentum into the summer."

Posted on May 23, 2017 .

Rewards Abound For Finally Farm at Aiken Charity I

Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer

Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer

The Finally Farm team enjoyed success and memorable moments during the Aiken Charity Horse Show I, held May 3-7 on Bruce's Field in Aiken, South Carolina.

"It was a wonderful horse show and so competitive," said trainer Liza Boyd. "It was refreshing to see so many quality hunters, and all of the sections were filled during this World Championship Hunter Rider week. You don't typically see that nowadays, and I know that (the late) Bruce Ducchosois would have loved to see all of this. I think that the support for the show says a lot about the tradition here and how important the hunters were to Bruce and his horse show." 

Liza enjoyed ample success in the open sections, earning the 3'9" Green Hunter Reserve Championship aboard Lindsay Maxwell's Technicolor.

Liza Boyd and Lindsay Maxwell's Technicolor

Liza Boyd and Lindsay Maxwell's Technicolor

"I was really pleased with how well he went," said Liza of Technicolor. "With Hunt Tosh, Daniel Geitner and Havens Schatt all preparing their horses for Devon, it was a super competitive section."  

Liza also piloted Megan Schall's Frederica to the 3'3" Green Hunter Reserve Championship, for an excellent start to the week. Megan also collected nice ribbons on the mare in the Adult Amateur Hunters later in the week.

The Juniors continued the momentum Liza started, as Stella Styslinger dominated the 3'6" Junior Hunters, taking the Small Junior championship with O'Ryan and the Large Junior championship aboard Cassanto. Stella and Cassanto also won the Junior Hunter Classic, to top of their show with a bang. Maggie Hill also guided Co Co Chanel to the 3'3" Junior Hunter Reserve Championship.   

On the Jumper side, Stella and Lily Bennett were impressive in the Children's Jumpers, winning consistent ribbons, as was Kelly Maloney on Justified in the Adult Amateurs.

"We were really pleased with how all of the jumpers finished up on Sunday," noted Liza. "They all rode super and the horses jumped great, with everyone earning a ribbon in their respective Jumper Classics."

Sarah Isgett and Fieona

Sarah Isgett and Fieona

Sarah Isgett continued her winning streak aboard Kelly Maloney's Fieona in the Adult Amateur Hunter, 18-35, section. "Sarah and Fieona won both classes the second day, and they were great," said Liza. "I'm so thrilled for Sarah. She rides on her school's intercollegiate team during the school year, and that's helped her so much. We're so appreciative of her spending the summer with us to ride and happy she's so competitive in the Adults." 

Liza was also pleased to see the 13-year-old, Oldenburg mare (Grand Coeur--Hauptstutbuch Festa) return to the show ring this spring after recovering from an injury. "Fieona's coming back strong, and it's so wonderful to see her doing so well so quickly. Kelly bought her as a 5-year-old, and she’s been around a while. She’s had some injuries and lived in Kelly’s backyard while she nursed her back to health.

Owner Kelly Maloney with Fieona and rider Sarah Isgett

Owner Kelly Maloney with Fieona and rider Sarah Isgett

"Fieona has done a little bit for everybody," Liza added. "I like to say she helped me win the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships one year because I went first on her and then rode Brunello later in the class. My brother Hardin also did her in the grand prix classes in Kentucky (click here for a video) and all over. So, it’s fun to see her now again with Sarah, giving her all again and winning."

Elle Boyd, 7, added another tricolor to her growing collection with the Short Stirrup Reserve Championship aboard Otis Spunkmeyer. 

"She was so proud of herself! The jumps were big. The course designer left the hay bales in there, so it was a solid course. This was also the first time she hasn’t gone off course, which was a huge achievement. Her goal the second day was not to let him trot, and she was really excited that she did that, too. And, I think her grandparents were more excited about the reserve than she was," Liza added with a laugh.

Elle Boyd and Alberto Ramirez celebrate the tricolor!

Elle Boyd and Alberto Ramirez celebrate the tricolor!

Posted on May 11, 2017 .