While the Atlanta Fall Classic Horse Shows in Georgia are traditionally the final chapters of the show season, this year Finally Farm's riders and horses experienced some beginnings as well as endings during Week 1.
Trainer Liza Boyd was especially pleased with students Elly Ficca and Mary Carton Michener (pictured above), who tied for the reserve championship in the 3’3” Junior Hunters and placed first and second in the 3'3" Junior Hunter Classic. Elly and Quatrain only started their partnership this fall, while Trinity and Mary Carton have solidified their relationship throughout a successful year.
"It was so nice that they tied," said Liza. "They were both really consistent on their horses, and it was fun for me to watch my former horses do that division. They’re so overqualified, and watching them is so enjoyable for me because sending them into the ring I know they'll be well taken care of. I realized driving home what a rewarding process it is to develop these horses, show them in the open sections and derbies and then watch them teach someone else. Hopefully, my current up-and-coming derby horse Shamrock can do that one day and become a nice Junior Hunter for someone. He's already well on his way!"
After a stellar year in the Children's Hunters, Maggie Hill is winding down the year with blue ribbon results. She not only won the NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic on Parkland but also claimed fourth with Co Co Chanel and fifth riding Tasty.
"She actually beat herself out of champion and reserve on her horses because she got such consistent ribbons aboard all three of them," said Liza. "Our goal this fall has been about Maggie getting to be a better rider and more consistent in the show ring, and she's shown us she's accomplished both."
Maggie, who commutes from Wyoming to ride and show at Finally Farm in South Carolina, stays fit at home through practicing dressage and participating in outdoor activities with her family. When she travels out East to show or practice in Camden, Maggie spends a lot of time without her stirrups.
"We've figured out a very successful program for Maggie. She doesn't jump a lot when she's not showing, but she stays strong with basic flatwork and by cantering poles at home," said Liza. "She usually arrives at the shows a day early so she can do some ticketed warm ups to get her eye going. We're so happy that Maggie is going to spend the entire winter with us on the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit, and it will be exciting to see how far she goes."
Liza, who does Pilates on a regular basis, has also suggested that exercise regimen to her students to help them increase core strength and improve their performances in the show ring.
"I’ve noticed for myself the Pilates reformer machines are super helpful," she said. "After using the equipment, I feel my legs are getting stronger, as well as my core and into my glutes. I'm hoping to spend more time in Florida doing Pilates. Right now, I do it every Monday, and for me it’s especially great physically and mentally. For that one hour I get in a different zone. Pilates is the one time I’m completely focused on what I’m doing and nothing else. I recommend it for riders who want to improve their strength in a variety of different ways."
Zola Thompson and her Medium Pony Elegance continued to rack up impressive results this fall, and they earned the reserve championship at Atlanta with a win and top ribbons in the section.
Lily Bennett has continued her competitive performances in the Children's Jumpers, with the reserve championship aboard Athina 18, "She's been super in the division," said Liza. "She was also seventh on Zimba in the Classic. She was fast and really rode well. That was a great ribbon in that strong class with the Adults combined.
Brie Tiffany did two of the three legs of the $10,000 Barry Lane Memorial Jumper Classic and placed ninth on Friday night under the lights aboard Riad Cha Dwes Aucels. "It was a challenging atmosphere, and I was so proud of her. She came back the next day and was fourth and ended on that good note," said Liza.
Brie also moved Chacor back up to the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers and earned excellent placings, including eighth in the NAL Junior/Amateur-Owner 1.20m Classic.
Liza was also proud of her daughter, Elle, who contested the WTC classes aboard Otis Spunkmeyer and earned a reserve championship tricolor.
"She had lots of fun this week," said Liza. "She did the WTC and cross rails, and she was close to cantering all of them. She said she wanted to show again and has gained confidence in learning her courses. It's been a fun process to see her taking it all in and learning the ins and outs of showing at her own pace. But the good news is she’s really happy and having fun, and that’s what it's all about."