In addition to hosting the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall of Fame Inductions, where Finally Farm's Monday Morning earned a coveted place in the Hall, the Tryon Summer II Horse Show featured top competition, June 7-11 in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
Finally Farm’s Clemens continued to gain more mileage and ribbons in the USHJA International Hunter Derbies, with a sixth-placed finish overall in the $25,000 class at Tryon.
“The Derby was held on the grass field, and it was a little overwhelming for some of the horses,” said Liza. “It’s a big, open field with eventing fences and ditches, and Clemens handled it quite well and held it together.”
Liza described the field as maturing nicely, with a firmer feel than when she competed there previously. It was just to O’Ryan’s liking, as he placed second overall after placing second in the Classic and Handy rounds. She placed just behindSchuyler Riley aboard Cleopatra’s Smile.
“This was one of those instances where as a rider I had to make a choice and strategize,” she said. “I could have jumped more of the high options, and we might have won. When we started, he raised up a little, and so I did two high and two low options just to be on the safe side.
“But that’s what makes the derbies exciting,” she continued. “I could have done one more high option and got the win, but I also could have knocked it down and got nothing. In my mind it was better to get $5,500 than no prize money. Schuyler did all of the high options. And with her on that white horse with her red jacket galloping around the field, she looked amazing. It was great that a grand prix show jumping rider had so much fun and loves doing the derbies. She took more of a risk, and it paid off, and I’m thrilled with my red ribbon.”
With Stella Styslinger unable to attend Tryon, Finally Farm once again borrowed Devin Seek from Don Stewart Stables to take the reins aboard Cassanto and O’Ryan in the Junior Hunters. The trip was worthwhile, as Devin earned the 3’6” championship with O’Ryan and was reserve aboard Cassanto. As icing on the cake, she also placed first and second in the Junior Hunter Classic with them.
“We really appreciate having Devin ride with us,” said Liza. “She so much fun and has a great work ethic.”
Liza jumped aboard Stella’s Cassiana in the 1.10m open jumpers and placed first and second of 26 entries and earned the reserve championship.
Lily Bennett and Zimba continued on their High Children’s Jumper winning streak. The pair won the NAL/WIHS High Children’s Jumper Classic and the section championship.
“What a great horse-and-rider match they are,” said Liza. “He’s phenomenal, and Lily has really learned to ride these jumpers. I’m impressed with how far she’s come and how educated she’s become.”
Unlike many professionals who ride clients’ horses to keep then sharp and on their game, Liza piloted Zimba in the 1.10m to slow him down.
“He’s a winning machine, and he’s so eager. I get on him every Wednesday and make him have time faults and go straight,” she said laughing. “The whistle will blow, and he’s into it, leaping forward. He knows how to win, and he’s good at it. I have to tell him, ‘We’re going to lose a class by going straight and deep into the corners. Then, when Lily gets back on he’s ready to listen.”
Elly Ficca and Quatrain continued their domination in the 3’3” Junior Hunters, winning four of the five classes in the section and placing second in the other for the championship
“She was awesome, super consistent, and she had the best handy I’ve ever seen her have,” said Liza. “I think a lot of her success has come from practice. She’s come to Camden frequently for lessons, and it’s paid off.”
Zola Thompson’s hard work has also paid dividends. She won the handy in the Medium Pony section and earned other top ribbons. Elle Boyd added to her ribbon collection with the reserve championship in the Short/Long Stirrup section aboard Otis Spunkmeyer.
“We’ve been working on the track and not cutting corners, and she was really focused,” said Liza. “She won an over fences class and placed in the top three in all of her other jumping classes. She’s off to her first sleepover camp for a week near Tryon with Joann Loheac’s daughter, Olivia. I hope they have lots of fun.”