The end of the show season is bittersweet for many riders who must say good-bye to their leased partners, but it's also the time when new partnerships are formed. The Finally Farm team experienced both during the Atlanta Fall Classic I, held November 4-8 in Conyers, Georgia.
Ruby Sloan and Highlands Heaven Sent enjoyed their final show together in the Medium Pony section with top ribbons, while Ruby also experienced her first show aboard a horse. She guided Rebecca Baker's Look Again to the Pre-Children's Hunter championship and won the Classic in their debut together.
"Ruby graduated from ponies during Atlanta," said trainer Liza Boyd. "Highlands Heaven Sent went back to trainer Bill Schaub, and we found her a Children’s hunter the same week. It couldn’t have been more perfect."
Finally Farm trainers had been scouting for a Children's Hunter prospect for Ruby when Look Again caught their eye at at the Tryon Horse Show. He came from Amanda Forte and Debbie Wilson of Cerulean Stables. "Ruby leased him, and he's going to be a great stepping stone for her to the horses," said Liza. "He could be a 3’3” junior horse as well, so we hope to have him for a while. This was their first time showing together, and they're already a great match."
Liza credited Ruby's ponies for helping to provide her with a solid base. "She came out of the ring after the second day and asked, 'What’s the handy course?" said Liza laughing. "She won't be doing a handy for a while in the Children's Hunters, but she's been well prepared when she does move up. We’re very excited to have him in the barn and congratulate Ruby on her new horse."
Stella Styslinger is also forging new partnerships this fall and earned championships in both sections of the Large Junior Hunter section (California split) aboard Ellen Toon's Invincible and Julie Thompson's Cellino.
"This was her first time showing Cellino, and she hopped right on and went in and was great," said Liza. "They are both nice, seasoned horses, and we feel honored to have them in the barn. Stella has two more years in the juniors, and her goals are to continue to learn and be a successful junior hunter rider."
Stella is keeping Centerfold K, the equitation horse she began leasing from Henge Hill Investments last year, and won the Pessoa/USEF Medal and the ASPCA Maclay in Atlanta this week. "Stella doesn't do the equitation to go to finals, but instead to make herself a better rider in the handy hunters," said Liza. "We want her to have fun and learn as much as she can, and Centerfold is the perfect equitation horse."
Liza wasn't without her own tricolor honors as she guided Pony Lane Farm's Coronado to the Pre-Green Hunter championship.
"Coronado hadn’t shown since September and has only shown once since we got him," said Liza of the 5-year-old Zangersheide stallion (by Coriano Z). "He couldn’t have been better. He’s so brave, and we don’t even have to get him in the ring in the morning.
"He's also stronger now than he was a few months ago," continued Liza. "It's taken him a little time to physically mature, and every time he goes out more people notice him. He's filling out and really grasping the concept of being a hunter."
Liza said Coronado also has one trait that sets him apart: "He looks so much like Brunello!" she said. "It's weird how many people have said to me “Wow! That’s Brunello 10 years ago.' It's really eerie. Coronado is so scopey and stridey, and his markings are the same as Brunello. It's a very nice compliment!"
In the jumper ring, Erin McGuire and Grace Howard (pictured above) continued to collect top ribbons in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper sections aboard their mounts Kasarr and Hiho Houdini, respectively.
Maraschino and Lily Bennett claimed the Small Junior Hunter Classic blue, and Elegance and catch rider Devin Seek claimed the Medium Pony Hunter reserve championship.
Finally Farm concludes their 2015 show season during this week's Atlanta Fall Classic II, November 11-15.