The Finally Farm team made the Kentucky bluegrass state a home away from home for two weeks during the Country Heir Horse Shows, held June 6-17 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Barn manager Katie Wood chronicled the experience on her Instagram feed, with her lead-off photo describing what proved to be what many thought of their time: Kentucky for two weeks #nocomplaintshere #luckyisanunderstatement#countryheir #cassiana @finally_farm @equifit1
“We had a wonderful two weeks in Kentucky,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “There were so many highlights, but certainly spending time riding out on the cross-country course and showing in their beautiful rings were two of them.”
Finally Farm chose to attend Country Heir, in part, to give some of their horses an opportunity to experience the Kentucky Horse Park before the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship and the Green Incentive Championship later this summer.
In preparation, Clemens tackled the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during Week 2. After being a bit under the weather during Week 1, Clemens returned to the show ring and placed an impressive second.
“Fortunately, one of the head veterinarians at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute came out and scoped and ultrasounded him. We put him on some medications, gave him eight days off, and he got better and better and felt great," said Liza. "I’m so glad we took the time to get to the bottom of it, and I was happy we were here in Lexington to access specialists in gastrointestinal treatments.”
During Week 2, the Derby was held in the Walnut Ring rather than the Rolex Stadium, but Liza said it was still challenging for the horses, with big walls, impressive fences and use of the natural terrain.
“The courses were very technical, and we had the canter up the hill and jump a jump on top and canter down the ledge, five strides to an oxer,” she said. “Clemens has come a long way, and he was ready for that challenge. I was really impressed with him.”
Liza and Clemens were tied for first after the Classic Round with Tim Maddrix aboard Indecision, but during the Handy Round Maddrix pulled ahead to win.
“I was thrilled with second; Clemens went beautifully,” said Liza. “He had a stumble before the trot jump, which happens, but it was a good class for him. Tim rode great, and I was happy to be second. There were nice horses, and it was plenty hard.”
Country Heir also marked the first time Liza took Clemens in a 1.10m jumper class, which was the strategy she used over many years to prep her famous Brunello for the derby classes.
“He was ready for that challenge,” said Liza. “He’s done a lot this spring and early summer, and now he can take all that he’s learned and have some easy weeks before we gear up for Blowing Rock in North Carolina and the Derby Championships back here in Kentucky.”
Liza was also impressed with Clemens’ fortitude and confidence. He pulled a shoe after the first fence in the Classic Round but never missed a beat.
“He just stepped out of the shoe, and I almost pulled up but then thought, ‘Gosh, I don’t want to miss another derby.' But he jumped the next jump well, so I aimed for the next high option, and he jumped it perfect, so I kept going. He did the whole course with one shoe and didn’t care. That showed me he has the heart, and I’m really proud of him for that.”
Liza was also proud of her daughter, Elle, who made her debut in the Small Pony Hunters with Hershey’s Kiss. During Week 1, the pair scored an 87 for a well-earned blue ribbon, and they also won the Pony Hunter Classic.
“She was so good! She’s really learning her handy classes so well now,” said Liza. “She’s super excited for the rest of the summer to do the Small Ponies.”
After shining at Devon in the Junior Hunters, Maggie Hill spent some valuable time in the Rolex Stadium in Kentucky gaining more experience in the jumpers aboard her new mount, Hope.
“That mare is so lovely, and they’re trusting in each other and showing in these different environments,” said Liza. "They are really solidifying their partnership, and that's fantastic."
Maggie also tied for the reserve championship in the Small Junior Hunters aboard O’Ryan and earned excellent ribbons with Cassanto, her Devon Large Junior champion, during the second week. In addition, Maggie was eighth in the USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Walnut Ring aboard Charmeur.
Elly Ficca continued her winning streak aboard Cleopatra’s Smile, with reserve championship honors in the Junior Hunters. The pair also placed 12th in the USHJA International Hunter Derby. “I think she was the only junior to qualify for the Handy Round. She was just coming off of a confident Devon, and she sticking in there with good results!” said Liza.
Bridget Hallman also collected her fair share of ribbons as a rider and owner. Her Halston showed just Week 2 and scored a 91 with Liza aboard in the Green Hunters. They also placed sixth in the $10,000 Joey Darby Memorial Green Hunter Challenge.
“Halston is coming along nicely, and Bridget did so well herself. She won a class both weeks in the 3’6” Amateur-Owners on Gala. We also helped Daisy Farish, who scored an 89 in both rounds of WIHS and won that class riding Bridget’s Capitano. He’s a hunter turned equitation horse, and Heritage did a lovely job turning him into equitation horse this winter in Florida. He’s for a sale and ready to be a star in that ring," said Liza.
Sisters Abbie and Lizzie Gordon also continued their successful summer show season. Libbie earned reserve championship honors on Small Romance in the Large Pony section and also won great ribbons on Shamrock in the Junior Hunters, scoring several 84s for second- and third-placed ribbons. Abbie was second in the Pony Hunter Classic the first week on Show Me Love and got nice ribbons in the Mediums both weeks in very competitive sections.
Amy Nolan showed only during Week 2 but made it count, earning the reserve championship in the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunters with Caruba. Ellen Addison also received good ribbons aboard El Tiendo in the same section.
Karen Lackinger’s Gratis produced consistent rounds in the very large and competitive 3’3” Green Hunter section and was ninth in the $10,000 Joey Darby Memorial Challenge with Liza in the irons.
Finally Farm would also like to congratulate Gigi Manigault on the lease of Cassiana from Stella Styslinger. They started in the Low Children’s Jumpers and will steadily move up the levels. “They are such a cute pair, and I’m so happy for Gigi,” said Liza. “She also had nice ribbons in the 3’3” Juniors on Bastille.”
Congratulations also to Erin McGuire and Kasarr for placing second in the $8,000 NAL Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
Liz Fogleman and Sawyer further solidified their partnership and earned a reserve championship during Week 1 in the Adult Amateur Hunter, 18-35, section. “We were super excited for her,” said Liza. “They are really putting it all together.”