Finally Farm horses and riders took Atlanta by storm in May, taking three champions, three reserves and 23 blue ribbons. New and old may have combined at the Atlanta Spring Challenge for Emma Wilson, but her results were the same: tricolor honors.
Emma guided her own Cover Charge to the Children's Hunter, 15-17, championship and rode Kathryn Coster's Goodman to the reserve championship. As icing on the cake, Emma and Goodman collected the WIHS/NAL Children's 15-17 Hunter Classic blue ribbon.
"She had a really great weekend," said Finally Farm trainer Jack Towell. "Emma did especially well riding her older horse that she’s had and that she knows. But she also rode another horse and won the classic. I'm really proud of her. Goodman was a new horse for her, and I don’t think she’d ever shown him. To do that well on a horse she’d never shown, really showcased her growing talents."
Jack also credited Emma's trainer Courtney Goldstein, of Black Ankle, LLC, who works with her at home in Savannah, Georgia. At 20 years of age, Cover Charge, a Hanoverian gelding by Contender, still shows off his winning form.
"Courtney does a good job with those horses," said Jack. "She doesn't miss a beat, they're well trained, ready to show and look great. When they arrive at the show, they're just right. She does quite a good job."
Tracey London also works with Courtney at home and meets Finally Farm at the shows. She also collected tricolor honors at Atlanta, taking the Adult Amateur, 36-49, section title with The Bristol Bay Co. LLC's Kayak. In addition, she guided her own Smile to top ribbons.
Grace Howard and Bethel's Peri continued their top performances in the Large Junior Hunter section, taking the championship with three blue ribbons, including victory in the Large Junior Hunter Classic.
The pair also tackled the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, where Grace was one of just two junior riders to finish in the top 12 overall. Bethel's Peri is now qualified for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships to be held in Kentucky in August.
"Before the derby, Grace was debating whether to ride herself or have [professional] Harold Chopping take the reins," said Towell. "In the end, she did it herself, and she did great."
Erin McGuire and Casallo contributed to the Finally Farm championship collection with the tricolor in the 3'6" Amateur-Owner Hunter section. Erin also piloted Kasarr to impressive performances in the High Amateur-Owner Jumper section.
"She was third in the classic and jumped the 1.40m really well, going double clean," said Towell. "She had done one grand prix with that horse in Aiken, but I thought this course was bigger and harder. In fact, I think this was the biggest course that horse has ever jumped. He was like cat, so athletic, and she was as aggressive as she could be. They really did a great job together."
In the Adult Jumper Classic, Paige Burton impressed Towell with her technical riding and attention to pace. Aboard her Kolette, Paige jumped double clear and galloped to a well-deserved second place over a course Towell described as "plenty big and hard." Paige also captured another red ribbon in an Adult Jumper class earlier in the week.
"I'm really happy Paige is back in action. Her father is a race car driver, and she was having time faults! It doesn't look very good," he said with a smile. "She rode super this week and also got excellent ribbons in the hunters."
Towell also thanked professional Harold Chopping and Finally Farm Assistant Trainer Tamara Berkowitz for their assistance while daughter Liza Boyd is at home and expecting a baby. Among his many ribbon winners, Chopping guided Susan Ross' Wicked to the championship in the Baby Green Hunter section.
Special thanks to the Finally Farm photographers for their wonderful images!