The Finally Farm team enjoyed a bountiful show during the Holiday Premiere, held at Bruce’ Field in Aiken from November 30-December 2 just after Thanksgiving.
One of several highlights was Libbie Gordon’s victory in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Tybee in their debut together. Gordon is leasing the fancy chestnut derby veteran for the new show season, and they started out with a bang, also earning the reserve championship in the 3’6” Junior Hunters.
“The horse is seasoned to derbies, and even though it was cold and rainy this wasn’t new to him,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “Tybee jumped around the rain at last year’s USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, so he was confident. But it was LIbbie’s first time showing him in a derby, and they did great. It’s a cute match, and she quickly figured out his ride. The fences at this height are easy for him, but he jumped in nice form. They will be a fun pair to watch in this winter in Florida, and I see them doing the International Hunter Derbies in the spring.”
On the flip side, Maggie Hill and Charmeur ended their partnership during the class when placing second to Libbie. Maggie’s lease ended, and the lovely bay goes back to Missy Clark and North Run. Finally Farm now welcomes Eclipse to the barn for the upcoming show season as Maggie’s equitation partner.
“Charmeur has been a great horse for Maggie, and we thank North Run for a wonderful year with Charm. We are looking forward to an exciting future on Eclipse,” said Liza.
In total, Finally Farm riders collected seven championships and two reserve championships at Aiken.
Libbie’s Vistano picked up the championship in the Green Hunter section. “We congratulate Libbie on the purchase of his nice horse, and we want to thank Ashland Farms,” said Liza. “We’re looking forward to seeing Libbie and Vistano in the Junior Hunters, and he’ll also do some derbies with me and the 3’9” Green Hunters.”
Mackensie Bowles’ Radar Love captured the championship in the 3’3” Performance Hunters with Liza aboard. “Mackensie goes to Clemson University, and he’s been with us to have some training,” said Liza. “He’s a lovely horse, and we’re excited for her to show him in the Amateur hunters in the future.”
In the High Children’s Jumpers, it was Gigi Manigault and Cassiana who dominated. The pair won two classes on the way to the championship.
“Gigi is a good jumper rider,” said Liza. “We had no idea she’d pick it up so quickly. I’m really impressed with how far she came in this time. This was her first time moving up to the highs, and she was really competitive and really fearless. She’s leasing Cassiana for the year from Stella Styslinger, and they’re a great match.”
Elle Boyd made her first appearance with the Small Pony Hunter Blue Moon a winning one.
“She’s worked so hard,” said Liza of her daughter. “Every day after school we practice, and she’s been having a lot of lessons from me and Jack (her grandfather), and she’s come a long way. She was champion on Blue Moon and won the Handy on Hershey’s Kiss. I want to congratulate Elle on the lease of Haley Ray’s Blue Moon!”
Clara Saad’s El Paso may have been recently imported from the Netherlands, but his first time showing in the United States didn’t faze him. “I’m proud of him,” said Liza of El Paso, who earned the 2’6” Special Hunter tricolor with her and nice ribbons in the 2’6” Pre-Children’s with Clara. “He went right in there and was quite good. We’re thrilled with him.”
Ruby Sloan was back with Libertina in the Low Children’s/Adult Jumpers after a break. “We’re glad to have them back in the barn. They had a nice first show back with excellent ribbons, and we’re looking forward to a successful WEF!” said Liza.
Elly Ficca bid farewell to her special partner Cleopatra’s Smile at Aiken because Elly ages out of the Junior Hunters. The pair concluded their time together wearing blue by winning the Junior Hunter Classic, the very last class they did together. “We were so excited for her to win,” said Liza. “What a great way to finish her junior career.”