The Finally Farm team traveled to Conyers, Georgia, for the Atlanta Spring Classic I, held at the Georgia International Horse Park, March 19-23. And the riders and horses returned home with a variety of ribbons and awards, including three championships and two reserve championships.
"Everyone rode so well," said trainer Liza Boyd. "It was one of those shows where each person had one of their personal best performances throughout the week."
The Finally Farm equitation riders made their presence known, taking first, second and fourth places in the Pessoa/USEF Medal class, out of a field of 27 riders. Sarah Isgett took the blue riding Vasco, with Grace Howard second and Addison Byrd fourth. Byrd also won the WIHS Hunter, Jumper and Overall phases (scoring an 86 in the jumper phase!) aboard Friend Request, and Howard was second in the WIHS Hunter Phase.
"They have all progressed so far this year," said Boyd. "All three attended the WEF circuit, where doing those technical courses paid off. The courses at Atlanta weren't easy, but they were all riding really sharp."
Boyd said all three riders are competing on relatively new horses that they're leasing for the season. "In fact, Grace just got her horse this week to try, and we quite like that horse," said Boyd of Wahalla. "She’s ridden three or four different horses this winter and found one that clicked. I'm really proud of them all. Two have only been hunter riders, and they've really learned the hand connection needed in the equitation, and it's great to see them progress. To have all three in the USEF Medal test was rewarding as a a trainer."
In the hunter sections, Finally Farm collected championships in the Amateur-Owner, 18-35 section (Erin McGuire and Casallo), the 3'3" Junior Hunter section (Laura Critz and Quatrain) and the Large Junior, 16-17, section (Grace Howard and Bethel's Peri).
"Erin didn't take Casallo to Florida and instead did the Aiken shows this winter," said Boyd. "She and Casallo have started out strongly this spring, and they had lovely performances on their way to the championship in the younger Amateurs."
Boyd was also proud of McGuire for stepping up her game in the jumpers. She and Kasarr moved up to the 1.40 meter height and won a class as well as placing third over that height in the combined Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
"She rode smart. She didn’t go as fast in jump-off and had a double-clear performance," said Boyd. "It's the biggest she’s jumped with Kasarr. She rode it very educated. We didn’t know if he could jump this height because he was bought as low horse, so he's really exceeded everyone’s expectations. We're really happy with him."
Laura Critz also had a breakthrough week during Atlanta, where she and Quatrain have further solidified the partnership that began over the winter. Their efforts were rewarded with the section championship and blue ribbon in the classic.
"She has really clicked with Quatrain," said Boyd. "It's the most consistent she's been so far with him. Before, she would win a class and then make a mistake in the next one. But here, every single class was consistent, and she truly deserved to be champion."
Grace Howard also picked up a well-deserved tricolor on Bethel’s Peri in Large Juniors, winning three of the five classes in the section.
"It was so nice to see everyone ride so well this week," said Boyd. "This is a great group, and they all watch each other and cheer each other on. Everyone was there watching from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and then they all went to dinner together. It’s so great to see them all enjoying it so much, from the riders to the families and even the dads! There's a lot of camaraderie."
Special thanks to the Finally Farm team for the fantastic photographs.