Spring often means new arrivals and fresh starts, and that certainly applied to Finally Farm over the past several weeks.
Finally Farm said good-bye to long-time Assistant Trainer Tamara Berkowitz and welcomed Katie Wood to fill that role at the Camden, South Carolina-based show stable.
"We will greatly miss Tamara, but after almost 3 1/2 years we're happy for her and to see her take this new adventure," said Liza Boyd.
North Carolina-based Katie Wood was added to the Finally Farm staff as Assistant Trainer and rider following Tamara's departure after the Longines Global Champions Tour event in Miami.
"It's nice to have someone here who has family nearby," said Liza. "Her last job was with Eight Oaks in Middleburg, Virginia, with Kitty and Johnny Barker. She learned so much there, even how to drive a tractor, so Johnny trained her well! Katie will take over the barn managing, do some teaching and riding. She's a good rider, and the horses seem to like her. Her first show was at Aiken (at the end of April), and she prepared the horses beautifully. We're really excited to have her on board."
Finally Farm also welcomed Clemens to the barn at the end of April. The 7-year-old Oldenburg (Clemence--Diana), imported by Annie Walters, was purchased by Finally Farm and Westerly Farm as Liza's next derby superstar.
Annie posted on her Facebook page: "AMW Stables, LLC is thrilled to announce and congratulate Liza Towell, Finally Farm and Westerly Farm on the purchase of our "Clemens". This horse is full of heart and has unlimited talent. With Liza in the irons, this team will be one to beat! I am excited to watch this duo crush the derbies!"
Annie, a young professional from the Charleston, South Carolina, area, imported Clemens and had been showing him this spring locally. She asked Liza to help her at the Aiken Spring Classic Masters in preparation for their first USHJA International Hunter Derby together.
"Each day he got better and better," said Liza. "So, I said to my dad (Jack Towell), 'I like this horse a lot.' I sat on him Friday, jumped a few fences and loved his balance. For me, he's what you look for in a derby horse. He's scopey, athletic and attractive. I look forward to the future with him."
After Annie and Clemens earned the 3'6" Green Hunter championship and placed ninth overall in the USHJA International Hunter Derby, the deal was made. Clemens then relocated to Camden, where he's co-owned by Finally Farm and Ann Misenheimer's Westerly Farm.
"He has so much scope that he easily cantered out of the paddock the other day," said Liza laughing. "He jumped this big fence, which is up a hill. It's super tall, and we all watched him canter a little circle and jump over it like it was 3’. Alberto turned to me and said, 'You should do him in the Grand Prix!' All the guys were excited because he jumped it so easily. Usually, when a horse gets loose people are freaked out, but not this time. Everyone was excited! The bugs are already out down here, and I don't think he’s used to them, so he was just putting himself back in his stall!"
Liza is also excited to welcome Ann Misenheimer back to the Finally Farm family. She had previously been in a syndicate that owned the Grand Prix Jumper Kargita that Liza competed in the early 2000s.
"I'm so happy that Ann is back and she and my mom can hang out together and cheer us on," she said. "To have her back on the team with this horse is really exciting."