With a collection of Hunter and Jumper Classic wins this spring that is verging on a dozen, Maddy Thatcher has earned a new nickname as “Queen of the Classics.” She continued her streak at the Equus Tryon Spring 5, held May 18-22 in Mill Spring, North Carolina, with two more blue ribbons.
Maddy topped the $3,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic aboard Skilliane de Varnel—the pair’s fourth consecutive Classic win—and she also added first- and second-placed ribbons in the $1,000 3’3”/3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic as icing on the cake.
“Maddy was great,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “She is the Queen of the Classics, for sure! She and Skilliane de Varnel are a great partnership. That mare is fast and feisty, and she’ll buck and play, but Maddy is so game and brave that when they’re on, they’re pretty hard to beat.”
Maddy’s consistent rides in the Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic helped her to clinch the top two spots. Her second-round score of 87 with Jewel was the high-score of the class, and she also earned an impressive score of 85 aboard Summer Place in the second round.
“Maddy rode really well on all of her horses,” said Liza. “She was great coming back for the second round of the Hunter Classic and moving up to take the win.”
Liza also had consistent rides aboard a variety of hunters, taking the 3’6” Performance Working Hunter championship award Maraschino.
“The mare went really, really well,” said Liza. “She’ll be going to Devon next week for McKayla Langmeier to show in the Juniors, so it was a great prep for her.”
Stella Styslinger and Invincible added another tricolor to their collection, capturing one section of the 3’6” Large Junior Hunters with two blue ribbons. She also took excellent ribbons aboard Cellini and O’Ryan in the Small Juniors.
Liza earned fourth and fifth places overall in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with her mounts Coronado and Shamrock, respectively.
“I was really happy with how these horses went,” she said of the 6- and 7-year-olds. “The class was rained out the night it was scheduled, which was too bad. It would have been a good experience for them to show under the lights, but it was the right decision with the weather.
“I was especially pleased with Coronado. He was a little playful in the first round, but he came back into the second round and was great,” she noted. “I wasn’t planning on doing the tough inside turn, where others were having trouble and stops, but just the way I landed (from the previous jump), it was set up perfectly for him, and he was great. I think he got 10 handy bonus points from one set of judges. It was nice to know that a 6-year-old could do that. He has such a great brain!”
In the jumper rings, Brie Tiffany and Chacor earned the Modified Children's/Adult Jumper championship, while Sarah Isgett returned from the University of South Carolina and guided Killarney to excellent performances in the Adult Amateurs. "It's good to have her showing and back again for the summer," said Liza of Sarah.
Grace Howard and Hiho Houdini made their debut together in the Amateur-Owners with fifth in the Classic. Houdini officially became a member of the Howard family just before the Tryon show.
“He’s a great Irish horse, so brave and game,” said Liza of Houdini, whom Grace had leased before purchasing. “Grace always goes for it, and they’re both confident and a great team together. Since going to college, Grace has gotten a lot stronger, working out and doing the riding team at Georgia, so to see her doing so well in the jumpers and the equitation is wonderful.”
After two weeks at the Aiken Spring Classic and a week at Tryon, Finally Farm riders and horses will now take a short break in preparation for Devon and the start of the summer show season.
“It was a strong three weeks of showing, and we’re looking forward to Devon,” said Liza, who will take Hunters and Jumpers for the prestigious Pennsylvania show. “We’re also looking forward to Jack’s induction into the Show Hunter Hall of Fame during Devon, so it will be a special time.”