The Finally Farm team concluded the second week of the Aiken Fall Festival with top results from the hunters to jumpers to equitation at Bruce's Field in Aiken, South Carolina.
For the second consecutive week, Finally Farm's Shamrock topped the USHJA National Hunter Derby. "He was awesome," said trainer and rider Liza Boyd. "He won the class again wire-to-wire, and I couldn't be happier with him. He's really gaining confidence and coming into his own."
Liza also placed third on Pony Lane Farm's Escalante, a new horse that arrived a few weeks earlier. "He was bred and born out in Utah, and Maura Thatcher purchased him from a friend and sent him out to us to do the First Year Greens or Junior Hunters next year," said Liza. "He was great in the Derby, and I was really pleased with his performance. Maura came and watched him go, which was great, and he’s going to make up into an easy and brave Junior/Amateur hunter next year."
Stella Styslinger and O’Ryan finished up the two weeks at Aiken with the Grand Junior Hunter title after earning the week's championship and winning the Junior Hunter Classic. Quatrain and Elly Fica were second behind Stella and O’Ryan in the Classic, for a Finally Farm one-two finish.
As a warm-up, Liza entered O'Ryan in a 3'6" Performance Working Hunter class early in the week. "I hadn't jumped him since the USHJA International Hunter Derby finals in August when he was third overall," she said. "When I went in and galloped down to first fence, I couldn't believe how high he jumped. I thought, 'He's jumping crazy high!' And when I came out of the ring, Alberto laughed and said he was jumping like my grand prix hunter.
"Then I remembered the last fence I jumped him over was that 5’1” wall in the Handy Round at the Derby Championship. No wonder he was being so careful and jumping so well!" she added laughing. "He remembered. For that horse, jumping that last jump there was great and is going to help him for indoors. He didn’t touch a jump all weekend at Aiken, and it gave us all a little chuckle."
Stella also topped the Pessoa/USEF Medal and the ASPCA Maclay with Centerfold K to add to her ribbon collection.
Maddy Thatcher rode to top performances in the hunters and jumpers, earning the reserve championship on Jewel in the 3’3" Amateur-Owner Hunters. She also won the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Dolce Vita and placed fifth on Skilliane De Varnel. Maddy also reunited with Sterling, who had been out for about a year, and the pair placed second in the NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter Classic after earning blues in the section. "It was so exciting to have him back," said Liza. "Maddy had a big smile on her face."
Brie Tiffany was also coming off an injury and hadn’t shown since Charleston in July, but the break didn't prevent her from returning right to the top as she guided Chacor and Riad Cha Dwes Avcels to great ribbons in the High Adult Jumpers.
Maggie Hill also finished on top in her respective classic, winning the NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic with an 88 in the second round aboard Parkland. She also placed second on Co Co Chanel for an excellent day. Ruby Sloan also earned excellent ribbons in the Children’s division and placed sixth in the classic aboard Look Again after earning the reserve championship in the 2'9" Special Hunters.
Zola Thompson and Elegance also claimed top honors, taking two blue ribbons on the Medium Pony section.
Six of the blue ribbons on the Finally Farm banner this week came from the smallest rider--Elle Boyd. She earned two championships in the Opportunity section aboard Otis Spunkmeyer. "Elle showed showed both days and even cantered some of the jumps," said Liza. "She worked on mastering her courtesy circle and achieved her goals this week. It was fun seeing her gain confidence going in the show ring."
Finally Farm is now off to the Central Park Horse Show on Friday, where they'll be showing in the open, junior and pony hunters. There, they'll meet up with Hardin Towell, who has been off showing his jumpers internationally this summer.
"Our whole family will be there, and it will be really exciting to have everyone together again," said Liza. "Hardin is just coming off a great show in Vienna on the Global Champions Tour, so I'm looking forward to catching up with him."