The Finally Farm team traveled 2 1/2 hours to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in October for the Tryon Fall II Horse Show in Tryon, North Carolina. There, they found success as well as a wonderful new facility that will certainly become a regular stop on the show calendar.
Finally Farm riders and horses picked up five championships and eight reserve championships in addition to numerous blue ribbons and classic victories during the show, Oct. 15-19.
"We were so pleased and really loved the facility," said trainer Liza Boyd. "The layout is really smart, and we didn't even need a golf cart to get around. The rings are so close to the barns that it's easy for horses and riders to access everything.
"I was really impressed with the details," she continued. "Everything is really well thought out. Surprisingly, one of my favorite things wasn't the footing or the lovely matted stalls, but it was the music! They pipe music throughout the show, so it made Wednesday and Thursday quite fun as we worked from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. It was great music, and I found myself singing while going around the course every once in a while!"
That relaxed enjoyment provided positive results, as Liza guided Maddy Thatcher's Scripted to the Conformation Hunter Championship. Scripted, formerly ridden by Kelley Farmer and trained by Larry Glefke, is a new addition to the Finally Farm team, and this was Liza's first show with the elegant bay gelding.
"This was a great first horse show with him," she said. "It was nice and quiet there, and I really wanted to show him somewhere before the National Horse Show in Kentucky. We found that he's a pleasure to have around and has a cute personality. He's brave to the jumps and will be a perfect match for Maddy."
Liza piloted Mary Carton Mitchener's Trinity to the First Year Green Hunter Championship before Mary Carton took over the reins to earn top ribbons in the Junior Hunter 3'3" Hunter section as well as third place in the Junior Hunter Classic.
"Trinity was great, and Mary Carton did very well. She's hasn't had as much time to practice, but she and Trinity are a great match, much like Quatrain and Laura Critz. It's great for me to watch my old horses go with these kids. When Trinity and Mary Carton were going around, I looked at my dad (Jack Towell) and said, 'It's like they're married!' He's got really slow scope and I couldn't have created a better horse for her. They're made for each other."
Mary Carton's sister Larson Mitchener also earned her own accolades, taking the Adult Amateur, 18-35, Championship aboard Graffiti.
"Larson is in college now, at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, so she really hasn't been riding much," said Liza. "But (assistant trainer) Tamara Berkowitz has taken that horse as her project. She rides him and prepares him for Larson, so it's great to acknowledge the team effort and Tamara's credit for their victory."
Joann Loheac also collected armloads of awards as her Chestnut Avenue continued to shine in the professional and amateur sections. With Liza aboard, the chestnut earned the Performance Hunter 3'6" Championship before Joann captured the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Championship.
"Joann would never say this, but she's a great rider and could be a pro if she wanted to," said Liza laughing. "She's super accurate to the jumps and has been really patient in bringing this horse up. She took her time with him, and he's blossomed into a top horse."
Liza enjoys riding Chestnut Avenue in the Performance Hunters and said Joann plans to move up to the 3'6" in the future, so keeping him tuned to the higher fences is their plan.
"Joann really makes my job quite easy," said Liza. "She really knows how to train a horse and is really excellent at the flatwork. In fact, I think he jumps better and better at each show because of that flatwork."
The Finally Farm pony riders also collected lots of ribbons, including a sweep of the Leadline class with a four-way tie for the blue: Lily Sloane riding Burberry; Elle Boyd riding Church Mouse; Lowe Thompson with Mr. McGregor; and Olivia Loheac with Romeo.
Catherine Sharp made her show ring debut with the young Carolina Chrome, and the pair earned the Children's Pony Hunter Reserve Championship.
"It was really exciting to see him come along so well," said Liza. "He's just figuring it all out, along with the lead changes, but he's growing into a nice show pony and will be a great green pony next year."
Finally Farm also welcomed Beaujolais to the barn with owner/rider Grayanna Grigg, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In their first show with Finally Farm, Grayanna and Beaujolais earned the Children's Hunter Championship and won the NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic. "I want to congratulate Grayanna, and we're so happy to have Beaujolais with us in Camden," said Liza.
Special thanks to the Finally Farm photographers and Nicole Sloan for the images!