The Finally Farm team wrapped up the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival circuit just the way it started--with multiple tricolors and blue ribbons. The difference this week, during WEF 12, was the added mileage and experience riders and horses accumulated during their stay over the three-month circuit in Wellington, Florida.
"This year we had a great circuit," said trainer Liza Boyd with a smile. "The horses left really sound and healthy, and I think everybody did a good job with each horse’s schedule. We were able to set a showing schedule that was geared toward the needs of each horse, so they weren't too tired or overused. We chose the weeks to show according to what each horse needed as well as the riders' goals and mapped it out. Our goal was for all of the horses to leave Florida fresh and happy and on a positive note, and I believe we accomplished that goal.
"Our horses and riders are also well prepared for the spring shows and Devon," Liza added. "For those who have Devon on their radar, we kept that as a distinct goal throughout the last month within our lessons and showing schedules. We didn’t cut any corners, and the horses and riders are ready to continue on with their successful show seasons."
Stella Styslinger was one of those who benefitted from more time in Florida. "Stella came early during Week 12 to practice, and it really paid off," said Liza. "She had one of her best weeks of the entire circuit. Cassanto was reserve champion in the Large Junior, 16-17. and O’Ryan was champion in the Small Junior, 16-17, hunters."
Stella also placed second in the $1,500 Children's Jumper Classic with Cassiana, her newest mount, and is looking forward to competing in the Longines Global Champions Tour in Miami later this month.
"This is Stella's last junior year, and one of her goals is to ride at Miami," said Liza. "This time last year she said, 'I want to go to Miami.' She's worked very hard to make that happen, and we're looking forward to her having that experience this spring."
Megan Schall finished up the WEF season well with top placings in the Adult Amateur hunters on Fenway and Frederica. "Megan won the very last class on Fenway and the under saddle on Frederica, which was a great way to wrap it all up," said Liza.
Abigail Poss also finished the circuit strongly on Upset De Talma, with second, fourth and eighth-placed ribbons in the 15-17 equitation in a field of 39 riders.
"Abby and her horse improved greatly throughout the circuit--they are so much more polished and confident," said Liza. "This is the horse's first year doing the equitation, and his rideability improved so much. He was a jumper in Europe, and it took some time for him to figure out his new job. I also credit Tamara (Berkowitz, Finally Farm assistant trainer) for her care and training. She regularly did schooling jumper classes on him, which helped tremendously."
Liza's daughter, Elle, concluded the circuit with a strong finish aboard Otis Spunkmeyer. "She was second in a class the last week and has improved so much," said Liza. "She's much better with the basics, not cutting corners and those little things that are important in the show ring. Her position has also improved. She's ready to get home and keep working hard and improving."
Liz Fogleman's Sawyer ended his WEF stay with yet another Young Hunter championship, winning three out of the five classes.
"It's so nice to see a young horse progress so well," said Liza. "He started out strongly, then went through some learning curves, and then finished on such a high note. It was great that he could stay for the circuit, and I credit Liz for keeping his mind and body so fresh. He had plenty of turnout, walks and trail rides. He made great progress in Florida."