Elle Boyd and her uncle, Hardin Towell, both made the Finally Farm family especially proud during the Tryon Summer III, held June 27-July 1 in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
Elle guided Hershey’s Kiss to second-placed honors in the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, while Hardin piloted Ann Thompson’s Carlo to the red ribbon in the $70,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI 2*. Both classes were featured events held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
“Our parents (Jack and Lisa Towell) were on a Baltic Sea vacation, so I was fortunate to have my brother Hardin here to help me with the jumpers,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “Hardin stepped in and took Jack’s place, and we had a lot of fun.”
Thirty-eight horse-and-rider pairs tested the Ken Krome-designed grand prix track on Saturday night, with seven pairs returning to prove themselves over the short course. Hardin and the 12-year-old, Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Landlord) claimed second place honors, stopping the jump-off timers in 38.60 seconds, just behind Sydney Shulman riding Ardente Printaniere.
After cheering on her uncle Saturday night, Elle returned to the ring aboard the Small Pony Hershey’s Kiss on Sunday for a stellar performance in the Pony Derby. This was her derby debut and the first time she donned a shadbelly.
“She was so good and so cute, and I’m really proud of her,” said her mother, Liza. “To remember the courses and do the bending lines, rollbacks and trot jumps was great. I don’t remember doing that when I was a kid! And the trust she has in that cute little pony is amazing.”
Liza said Elle also had fun showing in the George H. Morris Stadium on Saturday, the first time she’d ridden in Tryon’s “big ring.” In the derby, Elle was second to Maddie Tosh, the daughter of professional rider Hunt Tosh.
“It made me laugh to stand at the ring with Hunt. Over the years, we’ve competed against one another and been first and second so many times, and now our kids are coming along and doing the same thing! Hunt and I were standing at the in-gate and taking the photos now. It was so great!” said Liza laughing.
Sisters Abbie and Libbie Gordon continued the family theme, earning tricolor honors at Tryon. Abbie guided Show Me Love to the Medium Pony Hunter championship, while Libbie collected the 3’6” Junior Hunter reserve championship and won the Junior Hunter Classic aboard Shamrock.
“Abbie rode great and enjoyed showing in the big stadium,” said Liza. “It was a good experience for the pony riders to show in that huge stadium and so exciting. Libbie did a great job with Shamrock, too, and won the classic with a high score of 86.”
In the jumpers, Kelly Maloney and Fieona earned excellent ribbons in the 1.15m Non-Pro section, as did Maggie Hill riding Hope.
“It was cool that Hardin was there to help Kelly. The last time he rode Fieona was six years ago in a grand prix, and then I showed her in the Hunter Derbies. Kelly bought her as a 5-year-old and was so generous to the let the Towell kids show and train her. And, now, she’s finally able to enjoy her!”
Maggie bought Hope from Hardin earlier this year and has spent the past few months learning the ropes in the jumpers. “It was fortunate Hardin was here to help her this week,” said Liza. “She’s really clicking with this mare and learning to make tighter turns. It was really fun to see that and how much potential they have to grow together. Maggie will be able to move all the way up to the High Juniors with her, eventually.”
University of South Carolina student Sarah Isgett returned to train with Finally Farm and enjoyed excellent performances with Killarney in the Low Adult Jumpers.
“We’re so happy to have her back for the summers,” said Liza. “Sarah’s main goal is to stay riding and in the show ring so when she goes back to school she’s ready for the intercollegiate competitions. We practice walking the courses and doing the numbers, like in an equitation course, to keep her tuned up for the college shows.”
Sarah Livingston and Ne-Yo earned excellent ribbons in the 3’3” Junior Hunters, as did Gigi Manigault riding Bastille.
Gigi also continued to develop her new partnership with Cassiana during Tryon and had nice rounds in the Low Children’s Jumpers, while Libbie Gordon took the reins on Hardin’s Can Do, learning the jumpers and having fun.
Liza guided Maggie Hill’s Tradition to the 3’9” Green Hunter championship during their first outing at that height. Liza’s plan is to qualify Tradition for the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship at Kentucky in August. “Then, our ultimate goal is to make him up into a derby horse and for him to be Maggie’s derby horse,” said Liza. “He’s super brave and scopey, and I think that’s where he’s going to shine.”
In the Adult Amateur Hunters, Joann Loheac’s Chestnut Avenue jumped to championship honors in the 50 and over section with Lisa Baugh. The pair won three of the four over fences classes for an impressive point total and also topped the WIHS/NAL Adult Hunter, 36 and over, Classic. “We were excited to have him back and to help Lisa. She’s always fun to work with,” said Liza.
Lavasco and Paige Miller also took home great ribbons in the Adult Amateur Hunters, with consistent performances in the 36-49 section.