Finally Farm's 2014 show schedule started strongly during the Aiken Winter Classic I, held January 1-5 in Aiken, South Carolina.
"For the first show of the year, I couldn't be more pleased," said Liza Boyd who trained the Finally Farm riders alongside her father, Jack Towell. "Everyone rode really well, and I can't thank Assistant Trainer Tamara Berkowitz enough for all of her help. Tamara has been riding the horses because I'm pregnant. She jumped and schooled them, and they were all perfectly prepared."
In addition to Berkowitz, Finally Farm also enlisted showing help from Daniel Geitner, who piloted several mounts to top ribbons.
Finally Farm riders collected three championships, five reserve championships and 27 blue ribbons! In addition, Erin McGuire and Kasarr topped the $10,000 Aiken Classic Mini Prix, the highlight jumper class of the competition.
McGuire, 19, a student at the University of South Carolina, made her debut in the amateurs a winning one in both the jumper and hunter rings.
"The mini prix was a big win for her," said Boyd. "There were a lot of professionals in the class, and this was her first show as an amateur after aging out of the juniors. She was also champion with Casallo in the Amateur-Owner Hunter section. I'm really proud of her."
Boyd also credited McGuire for her tenacity after Kasarr exhibited his aversion for the standing water in the ring during the earlier Welcome class.
"He was spooking at the puddles, and so we had to give him a good flat before the mini prix," she noted. "He's so careful that he was thinking more about the water than the jumps, so we had to come up with a different plan. In the mini prix, she rode great and gave him confidence. She was amazing."
In the seven-horse jump-off, McGuire faced tough competition, but Boyd advised her to ride a neat track and not to focus on the speed. "Her horse is naturally fast and quick in the turns, and with no related lines it was a matter of going fast but not super fast. This horse is a real trier, and he keeps exceeding our expectations. This was a great win for them."
McGuire and Kasarr also received press in the Aiken Standard for their impressive victory. To read the article, please click here.
Laura Critz, of Savannah, Georgia, also made a debut at Aiken. She purchased Quatrain--Boyd's veteran Derby mount and winning ride in the 2013 WCHR Professional Finals--during the holiday season, and jumped to championship honors in the Junior Hunter 3'3" section with two blue ribbons, a second and a third.
"It was great to see them start out so well together. He's my baby, so it's fun to bring one along and then step back and watch him do everything that you taught him," said Boyd, who decided to offer Quatrain for sale when she discovered that she was pregnant. "He jumps beautifully for her and loves her. He really needed to keep showing, and it was a great match. They clicked right from the first time she rode him."
Boyd expects Critz and Quatrain to continue on in the 3'3" Juniors while they get to know one another. "It's a great stepping stone for them, and coming from the Children's hunters this new division is a great way to get used to the Juniors. I think she was maybe a little nervous for the Handy class," added Boyd with a smile.
To view the full results from the Aiken Winter Classic I, please visit www.horseshowsonline.com.
To see a gallery of images from the show, please click on the photo below. Special thanks to photographers Erin McGuire and Laura Critz for their great shots!