Finally Farm's riders concluded their successful 2016 show season during the Atlanta Fall Classic II Horse Show, held November 16-20 at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.
While many riders were ending the year with their long-time mounts, others were forging new partnerships, including Stella Styslinger and Cassanto. This was the pair's debut show, and they made it a memorable one with top ribbons in the Large Junior Hunter section and second place in the Large Junior Hunter Classic.
"He was so good, and we’re so excited about him," said trainer Liza Boyd, who also piloted the gorgeous chestnut in the 3'6" Performance Working Hunters. "They’re a great match already. Stella had never jumped a course with him before they came here, so they needed to figure each other out, but by the second day they were second in the Classic. We are so excited and lucky to have him in the barn for the 2017 show season."
Stella also enjoyed success with her steadfast partner O’Ryan, who topped the Small Junior Hunter Classic and earned the reserve championship. Liza sees similarities between O'Ryan and Cassanto, including their athleticism and classic jumping styles.
"They're both super scopey, with huge strides and really overqualified for the 3'6"," said Liza. "For Stella, moving to Cassanto was an easier adjustment for that reason. While they do ride similarly, Cassanto takes a little more leg than O'Ryan, but both are careful and have all of the attributes of great Junior Hunters."
High school junior Lily Bennett continued her consistency from Week 1 into this week with excellent results, including the Zone 4 and Children’s Jumper championships aboard Zimba. She also claimed ribbons on Athina 18 in the Children's Jumpers, as did Grayanna Grigg with A Propos, for a successful Finally Farm ribbon collection in the section.
"It's so impressive! It was one year ago this November that we first put Lily on a jumper. That's so fun that a year later she’s come such a long way and is so consistent and educated," described Liza. "She's really developed an understanding of the technicality of the jumpers, the numbers and how to ride the first round accurately. She's gone from trying to go double clean to now being able to do the more tricky turns, learning to stay on the inside track and leaving out strides in the jump-off. It's rewarding for us as trainers to see such a progression in our riders and be able to teach them the more sophisticated techniques."
Likewise, Brie Tiffany continued her ascent up the levels and claimed second with Chacor in the 1.20m Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers as well as other top ribbons on Riad Cha Dwes Aucels.
Trainer Jack Towell also celebrated a birthday during the show, which was a great excuse for a celebration. "We went out together with a group of friends, including trainer Vick Russell, so there were lots of great stories from the good old days. Jack had a lot of fun," said Liza laughing.
Finally Farm trainers and staff will now set their sights on Thanksgiving, the holidays and a break from the show ring. Students and clients will come to the Camden farm for lessons in December, enjoy family time and then regroup before the horses leave for the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Florida on January 4.
Liza noted that her star Derby partner Brunello is already enjoying his winter break. "Ike has his shoes pulled and has grown a fur coat! He feels great, even when I ride him without shoes…he actually feels better than ever!" she said. "He’ll stay home and do flatwork when we're in Florida. I plan to have him back into gear the first of March, but from now until then he'll spend his time trail riding, on the treadmill and with lots of turnout."