It was fitting that the week of St. Patrick’s Day, and the 10th week of the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit, March 15-19 in Wellington, Florida, would see good fortune come shining down on Shamrock.
Maggie Hill and Shamrock earned their first blue ribbon on the WEF circuit, taking an over fences victory in the 3’3” Junior Hunter section as well as other nice ribbons. Shamrock also scored an 89 for the top call in a 3’3” Performance Working Hunter class with trainer Liza Boyd earlier in the week.
“Maggie was great. Her other horses had the week off, so she focused on Shamrock and got better and better each day,” said Liza. “The 3’3” is challenging down here when the division isn’t split, so that was a great win for them.”
Liza described Maggie’s rides as increasingly smooth and seamless. “The difference between Day 1 and 2 was her riding in between the fences. In that division, with that many great horses and riders, it’s not just being accurate to the jumps. You have to have those invisible aids. She also let him poke his nose out, and it was a beautiful hunter picture,” she noted.
Elly Ficca also brought nice ribbons back to the barn from the 3’3” Junior Hunters aboard Quatrain. They earned a second, fourth and fifth with consistent performances.
Cassanto once again starred in the Large Junior, 16-17, section, earning the championship with the team effort of riders Stella Styslinger and McKayla Langmeier.
“Stella couldn’t get to the show the first day due to school commitments, so we want to thank McKayla for showing him the first day,” said Liza.
Stella also continued her blue-ribbon streak aboard O’Ryan, once again winning the Small Junior, 16-17, stake class. “So that was a good way to finish the week, with an 87 score,” said Liza. “They were fantastic.”
With the circuit winding down, two Finally Farm horses finished their time at WEF with accolades.
Kelly Maloney and Justified placed fourth in the $10,000 Masters Jumper Classic and earned a blue-ribbon clear for a great finale. In addition to taking home lots of ribbons, Kelly also made great inroads in her riding and partnership with her homebred mare.
“They were really consistent, and it was wonderful that the riders in that division get to compete in so many different rings down here,” said Liza. “Kelly rode a lot of different types of courses in many rings with a variety of course designers. That’s great mileage.
“We also ended up discovering that Justified likes to go in a hackamore,” added Liza. “She would tend to toss her head at times, so we used some different bits during the circuit. Kelly suggested a hackamore, and it worked really well for the last three weeks.”
Mary Carton Mitchener’s Trinity also returned home to Camden, South Carolina, after capturing top ribbons in the 3’3’ Amateur-Owner Hunters, including third in the stake class during Week 10.
“Especially this past week, the courses in the hunter ring have been challenging, with lots of bending lines and different types of courses,” said Liza. “This week the division classes included some derby-style questions. Even for the pros, we had an oxer-to-oxer bending line to start with, which was fun. Mary Carton will go home with great exposure and is set up to shine for the Aiken Spring Shows at home.”
This year, in particular, Liza has been pleased with the consistency and mileage the Finally Farm team garnered as many riders and horses were able to spend additional time in Florida. Having access to a practice ring also allowed for more lessons and training outside the show ring.
“During a year like this, we get to learn a lot about the horses,” she said. “Yes, we’re able to practice at home, but I think it’s different getting experience in the show ring and having the opportunity to do your homework in between the shows. You and your horse learn and incorporate the pressure of competing, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”