The Finally Farm team spent two weeks at the Aiken Fall Festival at Bruce’s Field, September 7-17, and enjoyed ample victories, great accomplishments and rewarding returns.
After having shoulder surgery over the summer, Erin McGuire returned to the show ring aboard her Kasarr. They captured the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper championship and Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic during Week 2 after earning the reserve championship and taking second place in the classic during Week 1.
“It’s so exciting that Erin is back,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “It was as if she’d never left. Throughout her rehab she was so smart about everything and is crazy about her fitness. I think she’s stronger than ever, and she was so aware of coming back and keeping herself fit. That certainly helped her return so successfully.”
Finally Farm’s 3’3” Junior Hunter riders continued to be a force, taking tricolors and classic wins both weeks.
“All three riders, Elly Ficca, Sara Ekola and Maggie Hill, finished the two weeks as grand champion, champion and winners of the classic,” said Liza. “They all had a great last day and had their photo with Jack (see above). It’s a nice way to get set up for the fall indoor shows.”
Zola Thompson not only earned Medium Pony Hunter tricolors both weeks, but she was also featured in The Chronicle of the Horse magazine. The article, titled: “Big Apples For Small Ponies: The Five Most Important Lessons From Zola Thompson,” interviewed Zola about her preparations for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Click here to read what Zola had to say about her ponies, role models and future goals!
Elle Boyd also made great strides in the pony ring during Aiken, stepping up to top performances the Short Stirrup section with Otis Spunkmeyer.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Liza of her daughter. “The first week there were nine in the classes, and she got low ribbons. And she said to me, ‘Mom, I was last in every class.’ I told her, ‘You get out what you put in. You were doing great, but lately you’ve been coming home from school and trail riding or riding bareback.’”
Elle thought about her mom’s advice and stepped up her game for Week 2. After a few focused lessons, Elle was better prepared for her classes.
“She came to the ring so ready the next day,” said Liza. “Unfortunately, she was the only one in the division. But we took it very seriously! She worked hard on riding her corners correctly for the lead changes and improved and had a great time. I thought, ‘Who cares about the competition?’ In the end, I just want these kids to learn and improve their skills.”
Megan Schall and Frederica also stepped up during Aiken and into the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter section. They were more than ready, as the pair finished the two weeks with the Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Championship.
“Megan and Frederica also did their first USHJA National Hunter Derby, and they were great,” said Liza. “She’s riding amazing, forward and accurate, and the mare has really blossomed after switching over from being a jumper to a hunter. Meg’s really bonded with the mare, too. She’s always out hand grazing her and loves her horse.”
Stella Styslinger just entered her freshman year at the University of Virginia this fall, but she took the time to travel to Aiken for Week 2 as preparation for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. She earned ribbons on Cassiana in the High Children’s Jumpers, was champion on Cassanto in the 3’6” Junior Hunters and won a class on O’Ryan.
Finally Farm's next stop is the Rolex Central Park Horse in New York City!