From Florida to the Carolinas the Finally Farm team performed with talent and tenacity in September, achieving goals and bringing home lots of ribbons.
Maggie Hill journeyed to Tampa, Florida, for the ASPCA Maclay South East Regionals, September 20-22, where she placed eighth aboard Eclipse and qualified for Maclay Finals at the National Horse Show this fall.
“Maggie was quite good,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “We checked off that goal—she’d never done the Regionals before. At the Regionals, the goal isn’t necessarily to make the cut. She went early in the order and she stayed in there. Then, she flatted really nicely.
“She had shown For Side VDL the day before in the USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay and won both of them, so that was awesome,” Liza added. “He’s been a good back-up horse and is ready to step in. Maggie Gampfer, one of Missy Clark’s assistants, came in and helped, so we’re excited to team up with North Run for indoors.”
Finally Farm also made their presence known at the Aiken Fall Festival at Bruce’s Field for two weeks in September.
“We welcomed the Nolans from Georgia, Grace Ann and Mary Caroline, to our team at Aiken,” said Liza. “Mary Caroline did great and did the USHJA Zone Children’s/Adult Hunter championships, and that was fun. She won the team gold medal winners during and ended up silver in the individual. That was fun for the kids to learn the team format.”
Mary Caroline guided Timeteo to the medals in the Children’s Hunters, while Grace Ann piloted her Junior Hunters, Kumano and Sonoma, to ribbons in the 3’3” section. Grace Ann also won a Low Children’s/Adult Jumper class aboard Malbay Dreamer as a highlight to her week.
“I did Kumano in the USHJA International Derby and was third overall,” said Liza. “He was great, and I was really impressed with his bravery and talent.” Liza also placed second aboard Gigi Manigault’s Bastille, while Maggie placed sixth aboard Cassanto and Gigi was eighth riding Major Key.
Liza also won the USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Ravello. “He’s a Pre-Green horse, so this was a great class for him with tough competition. So, he’ll be ready to be a 3’6” Green horse next year,” she said.
Elle Gibbs also added 3’3” Junior Hunters ribbons to Finally Farm’s banner aboard Game Plan, with two seconds over fences and a fifth in the classic. “She’s riding well, and I’m excited for her to go to Capital Challenge with him,” said Liza.
Gigi is wrapping up her junior career and prepared for the fall indoors with Major Key and Bastille. “Both Gigi and Maggie did the International Hunter Derby instead of the Junior Hunters in preparation for indoors. The courses were more technical, with broken lines, so it was good for them.”
Elle Boyd also shined in Aiken, showing multiple ponies and practicing her skills.
“It was fun to see her putting it all together, and she was champion and reserve on Sugarbrook Pink-N-Blue and reserve on Baby Blue in the Small Ponies,” said Liza of her 9-year-old daughter. “I think at that age to have time in the tack and just keep learning and practicing is so important. She’s starting to get a good feel and riding different types. I’m really proud of her. She qualified Baby Blue for Harrisburg, so I’m so excited to have her there.”
Amateurs Alison Thorp and Amy Nolan collected top ribbons throughout the shows, as did Mackensie Bowles. “It’s really fun to have them. They practice a lot and are so dedicated,” said Liza. “We don’t see Amy as often, but she always does her homework and comes prepared.”
Finally Farm also welcomed Alex Dastjerdi to the team. She showed Made For Me to excellent performances in the Pre-Children’s Hunters. “We’re very excited to have her and enjoyed helping her at the show,” noted Liza.
Paige and Mckenzie Miller could only show on Friday because a of other commitments, but they did make their time at the show pay dividends. Paige won a class in the Aiken Hunters on Shamrock and Mckenzie collected top honors with Hakuna Matata in the Schooling Ponies.
Erin McGuire has been splitting her time between showing and owning and operating her new business, so her goal was to compete her longtime partner Kasarr at a charity grand prix in Blowing Rock run by Vick Russell.
“It was a $50,000 Grand Prix, and she had one rail and was super good,” said Liza. “Her post on Facebook (below) was so well said.”
Erin McGuire in her words:
It’s been an anti-climatic year. I pulled the amateur card and didn’t show until the weather was acceptable, won my first Open class back in six months, felt on top of the world and ready for the show season.
Shortly after, Benny and I found ourselves with 4 fault-itis, and I was not a happy camper. Convinced it was an attitude thing on his end, I doubled down but even that couldn’t stop him from slamming on the brakes and throwing me into an oxer late spring.
As I came out of the ring Jack asked, “Are you okay, honey?” To which I responded, “My ego is a little bruised, but I’ll be fine.” We bumped him down for an easy show, and just as we were gearing up for the summer and fall (my absolute favorite shows of the year), something was off. Cue an old splint that had another agenda.
I was frustrated with the world, telling myself I do everything right, show my horse sparingly, treat him like the athlete he is, why did this have to happen to me? Then I realized I had the real attitude issue and people pay me to better their mindset'; this was unacceptable behavior on my behalf. So, I got off my high horse and onto my 15.2 reality, and we had an easy summer of flat work with one goal in mind – James H Fisher Memorial GP.
$50,000 up for grabs, a few strikes against us, and a team that was ready to beat the odds. I am forever amazed by the heart of this horse and humbled by the lessons he’s taught me. Special thanks to Dr. Magda for her unwavering support and expertise and to Jeff for his expert shoeing. Both kept this minor setback from escalating. Today resulted in a rider 4 faults and a horse back on top of his game. Some of the best advice I’ve received from Liza in our 10-year partnership is to treat every victory like it’s your first and last. After a spectacular year last year and a year packed full of frustration this year – that advice rings true more than ever. Today wasn’t a win of ribbons or flowers, but it was a personal win reminding me to listen my horse and trust in our partnership.