Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler made their presence known in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby "Hunt and Go" class, a highlight of Week 4 of the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida.
The pair, tackling their first International Hunter Derby together, finished a close second, just 2 points off the leading score.
"For us, it was a lot of fun," said Liza of her ride aboard Sam Edelman's talented hunter, who also collected the 3'9" Green Hunter championship and was second in the 3'6"/3'9" Green Hunter Incentive class. "It was our first time riding a class with the new format--so most of us were focused on that."
The Hunt and Go is similar to a Jumper Power and Speed class, so riders first perform over a Classic Hunter round set of fences and then at a determined place on course start their Handy Hunter round.
"It was a little less jumping on the horses, which I liked," said Liza of the one-round competition. "I thought there were positive things, for sure. And any time show management gives us a class in the big International Ring and offering the Hunters money, we can’t complain! It was great for Cobbler to be able to go in that ring before WCHR Week 6 starts."
To prepare Cobbler, Liza said she trotted a lot of big jumps in the schooling area so he'd relax and curl around the fences. Their preparation paid dividends, with a solid performance in the ring. "I'm super proud of Cobbler. He has a lot of ability and wants to be careful," she said. "He’ll have Week 5 off and trail ride before he shows again during WCHR Week."
Maggie Hill also continued to impress in the Junior Hunters as she earned the reserve championship with Cassanto in the Large Junior, 15 and under, section Week 4 and a variety of ribbons and placings with her other mounts during Week 3.
"Maggie was so consistent in every round, and they won the Handy with a great score," said Liza. "They are truly a wonderful match. Phil DeVita designed the courses, which were quite technical, with two bending lines in every class and the jumps are different every week. They really challenge the riders.
"Maggie has also been doing the equitation with Charmeur and was ninth in the Maclay and sixth in the 3'3" NHS Medal. She’s really coming along and looking very sophisticated," said Liza.
Mckayla Langmeier partnered with Cleopatra’s Smile once again and claimed championship honors in a section of the Small Juniors. "Mckayla catch rode for us and did a great job," said Liza. "We really love that mare. We haven’t had her that long, and we're getting to know her now. She's a fun and game mare who is a great jumper."
Junior rider Jordan Allen joined Finally Farm during Week 4 and rode High Society to the Large Junior, 16-17, championship. "She’s quite a talented rider and hard worker, so it was fun to help her," said Liza. "High Society is a lovely horse that’s for sale and would make someone a great Junior/Amateur and Derby horse."
Bridget Hallman topped the Amateur-Owner, 36 and over, Stake class with Gala with an impressive performance. "We were so excited for Bridget, and we're having so much fun with her being part of the team," said Liza. "She’s had that mare for several years and brought her up through the 3' and 3'3" Pre-Green Incentive Program. She’s turned into a great Amateur horse for Bridget."
Ruby Sloan and Jack Towell took a field trip to Deeridge for the Palm Beach Masters where Ruby competed Libertina in the 1.10m classes. "She was really good, and the experience and exposure was a lot of fun for her. She rode really well."
The week culminated with a Finally Farm Fun Super Bowl party, where Liz Fogleman was especially excited to see the Philadelphia Eagles, her hometown team, beat the New England Patriots. "She was dancing around and so excited," said Liza with a smile. "We had a great time!."