Finally Farm’s Juniors enjoyed a banner time at the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair, with tricolor honors and personal bests achieved at one of the country’s most prestigious shows in Devon, Pennsylvania.
In her first Devon appearance in the Junior Hunters, Libbie Gordon exhibited confidence and poise as she guided Vistano to the Small Junior Hunter, 15 and under, reserve championship under judges Linda Andrisani and Ralph Caristo.
“Right before Devon, Libbie broke her wrist, so she didn’t really get to practice,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “She didn’t ride for two or three weeks, but then she hopped back on and was amazing.”
Liza kept Vistano in a program while Libbie was sidelined, even placing an impressive sixth in the USHJA International Hunter Derby at Aiken. “It was super competitive and like the Derby Championships, with Private Practice, Tybee and Tradition,” said Liza. “Vistano earned scores of 88 and 89, and we only did two of the four high options with him being so young.”
At Devon, Vistano and Libbie won the first over fences class with an 88, placed third in the handy and second in the under saddle. “It was kind of a fairytale ending with her almost not being able to show,” said Liza. “She had so much experience at Devon on the ponies that coming here, even after time off, wasn’t overwhelming for her. She’s so comfortable at Devon and is a good competitor. She handled the pressure really well and stepped up and impressed everyone.”
Libbie also earned excellent ribbons aboard Delightful, including second in the Small Junior, 15 and under, Stake class with a score of 88. "Libbie had never shown him. He’d been doing the Children’s Hunters with Libbie’s younger sister Abbie, but was still qualified for Devon from points from his previous owner,” said Liza. “She rode him so well.”
Abbie also had her own catch riding success when she guided the Medium Pony Sugarbrook Pink-N-Blue to great scores and ribbons for trainer Jill Hamilton and owner Rachel Rosenblum. “She did a great job, having never shown the pony and with only one ride. They were super consistent, with a nice ribbon in the handy. Because of Abbie’s hard work and good riding, she’ll help to promote the pony, which is from the West Coast and for sale or lease.”
Gigi Manigault had never before shown at Devon, and in her final Junior year her wish became reality. “It can be overwhelming when you walk in the ring for the firs time, and Gigi handled it well,” said Liza. “I thought she got better in every class. She was a little nervous at first and then got jogs and a nice hack ribbon. I think next year when she goes as an amateur she’ll go in and be able to shine after having one Devon under her belt.”
Liza was impressed with Gigi’s composure in the ring and also the hard work and preparation she’d done before Devon. “She drives from Charleston to Camden to ride (two hours), and also did the Junior Hunters on Bastille and Major Key at Aiken to prepare,” added Liza. “There, she was reserve champion one week with lots of scores of 88. This was a great preparation for the USEF Junior Hunter Finals at Brandywine (at the Devon Showgrounds), so she’ll be confident and well prepared.”
Maggie Hill claimed her second consecutive Junior Hunter championship aboard Cassanto in the Large Junior, 16-17, section.
“Maggie started out the weekend with nice ribbons the ASPCA Maclay and USEF Medal classes aboard Eclipse, which was a great warm-up for the hunters,” said Liza. “Maggie had really good, solid rounds with O’Ryan. What really impressed me was her maturity. She didn’t have the best first day with Cassanto, but she did go in and show him off well and won the under saddle.
“The second day, she went early in the Stake class and walked in and just went for it,” said Liza. “I told her, ‘You have nothing to lose, so make everyone catch you!’ And she did. She stayed on top and pulled off the championship. She was strong and confident, and that impressed me so much.”
Liza remained at Devon for Senior Week, where she rode Bridget Hallman’s Green Hunters Halston and Who’s It to excellent ribbons. “The goal for them was to set them up for next year when Bridget goes to Devon in the amateurs,” said Liza. “They’ll have been there and seen the ring. By the Green Conformation Stake class, Who’s It was wonderful and was second with an 86. It was a good way to finish. They’ll both be confident next year.”
Finally Farm also welcomes Elle Gibbs, from Charlotte, North Carolina, to the barn family. “We’re excited to have her. She’s bringing two Junior Hunters, Game Plan and Ferrari, and will be showing with us starting at Tryon in June,” said Liza.
Finally Farm also sends a special thank you to the Gordon Family for the purchase of Baby Blue for Elle Boyd. “We’re really grateful for such a wonderful pony,” said Liza. “I hope he teaches Elle as much. Both sisters, Libbie and Abbie, did him in the Small Ponies and learned so much from him.”
Finally Farm also welcomed two new Green Hunters to the barn over the past several weeks, Chatham Bend and Ravello.
Finally Farm joins Ann Misenheimer on the purchase of Chatham Bend. “Kyle Dewar, of Ocala, Florida, got him from Bruce Goodin, the same rider who did Brunello when he was over in Europe,” said Liza. “We bought Chatham Bend to be a Derby horse, and it’s so cool he and Ike share a similar background. We’re super excited about him.
“Ravello came from Micaela Kennedy, and Holly Shepard rode him. He did the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship last year,” noted Liza. “He’s a different type—more petite and pretty. He measures as a Small Junior Hunter, so we’re aiming him for the Green Hunter Incentive. We thank them for this special horse.”