Top Calls For Finally Farm at The Aiken Charity Shows

 Liza Boyd and Clemens

Liza Boyd and Clemens

The Aiken Charity Horse Shows at Bruce’s Field are always special. And this year the Finally Farm team found ample success as well as enjoyment, May 2-13 in Aiken, South Carolina.

Liza Boyd continued gathering ribbons and accolades in the USHJA International Hunter Derbies, piloting Clemens and Easter to second and third places, respectively, during Week 2.

“Easter has gotten better and better and is so brave,” said Liza of her newest derby mount owned by Leonardo Aljure. “I got her after Florida, and she’s been great. She was third this week and fourth last week in the Hunter Classic and has certainly paid her way. She’s a real derby horse, and the more I do with her the more I like her.”

Although Liza sees a bright future for the 9-year-old and would like to keep her, Easter is for sale. With her scopey jump and attractiveness, she’ll likely find a new home quickly. Liza also showed the mare in the Second Year Green section with great ribbons. She’s already qualified for USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships and the USHJA Green Incentive Championship at 3’9” to be held in August at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. 

 Liza Boyd and Clemens

Liza Boyd and Clemens

Liza credited Florida for helping Clemens step up another level in the derby classes. This show celebrated their one-year anniversary together, with Clemens owned in partnership with Westerly Farm and Finally Farm. 

“He’s coming around so well, and I really appreciated how they highlighted the hunters here. They made the double schooling area into a big ring for $25,000 Aiken Premiere Hunter Classic and Derby where Clemens placed third and second. It took a lot of effort to move all of the jumps, but then we were able to really gallop. It’s hard to beat Tori Colvin, and she won both classes on Private Practice! But I was pleased with how my horses both went.”

 Elly Ficca and Cleopatra's Smile

Elly Ficca and Cleopatra's Smile

Gigi Manigault and Bastille topped the field in the 3’3” Junior Hunters and also earned the Circuit Championship for the two weeks with a well-deserved championship.

“I want to give trainer Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw another big thank-you for such a lovely horse,” said Liza. “Gigi and Bastille are a great match.”

Cleopatra’s Smile and Elly Ficca earned championship honors the second week in the 3’6” Junior Hunters, with Elly receiving the Best Child Rider Award after winning the Combined Junior Hunter Classic.

During Week 2, Maggie Hill took the equitation ring by storm, riding For Side VDL to victory in the 3’3” USHJA Jumper Seat Medal, the NHS 3’3” Medal and the WIHS Hunter phase. They placed fourth in the WIHS Jumper Phase as well. Maggie went on to win the Dover Saddlery/USEF Medal and place second in the ASPCA Maclay riding Charmeur.

 Liza and Elle Boyd with Hershey's Kiss

Liza and Elle Boyd with Hershey's Kiss

“She was amazing in the tests and doing hard inside turns,” said Liza of Maggie. “They were hard, technical courses and she was really prepared for the questions asked at Aiken. Charmeur is her lovely made up horse, and on her newer, younger horse we did the 1.0m jumpers to work on bending lines. He’s starting to get the equitation.” 

Erin McGuire and Kasarr added more accolades to their resume at Aiken. The pair won the Welcome Stake the first week and were ninth the second week. 

“Erin was great and was super pleased because these were some of the biggest classes she’s ever done,” said Liza. “She’s so good at looking the positives. The small mistakes were just Erin not having experienced that level. But she walked away confident.” 

The Gordon sisters, Libbie and Abbie, both returned home with ample awards. Libbie moved up to the 3’6” Junior Hunters on Shamrock and was second in the Junior Hunter Classic. Libbie was champion on the Large Pony Small Wonder and Green Pony Champion with Small Romance during Week 1. Both girls earned top ribbons in the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and Pony Hunter Classics, as well.

Elle Boyd made her Children’s Pony Hunter debut a winning one and was champion with Hershey’s Kiss. The pair won three classes on the way to the tricolor.

The Finally Farm team reunited with some friends during Aiken. Bridget Hallman returned after time apart and had great ribbons with Gala in the Amateur-Owners, and Halston took nice prizes in the Green Hunters. 

 Team Finally Farm!

Team Finally Farm!

After competing in successfully in the ponies, Catherine Sharp is back in the show ring and competing in the 3’3” equitation with Imperio. “She had the pony Church Mouse, who went to indoors and did it all,” said Liza. “And now she’s back riding with us. We’re excited to have her here again.”

Please enjoy this photo gallery from Aiken and the following Tryon Spring 3, where Liza and Clemens won the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and team Finally Farm earned yet more accolades!

Posted on May 14, 2018 .

Finally Farm Stars at Aiken Spring Classic

 USHJA International Hunter Derby winners Liza Boyd and Clemens, with daughter Elle and father Jack Towell.

USHJA International Hunter Derby winners Liza Boyd and Clemens, with daughter Elle and father Jack Towell.

Finally Farm collected top ribbons from the Short Stirrup to the USHJA International Hunter Derby to the Grand Prix during the Aiken Spring Classic Masters, April 18-23, in Aiken, South Carolina. 

"To say we had a great show is an understatement," said trainer Liza Boyd. "One amazing highlight was when Erin McGuire and Kasarr won their first Grand Prix together. She’s been showing here for years, so it was an incredibly emotional experience for us all. She does a great job with that horse, and her dedication is amazing."

To read more about Erin's win and her journey with Kasarr, please click here.

Another wonderful moment was when Liza led the victory gallop in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with two of her students close behind her. 

 Liza Boyd with students Elly Ficca and Maggie Hill after the USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Liza Boyd with students Elly Ficca and Maggie Hill after the USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Liza won the derby aboard Clemens, while junior riders Elly Ficca, aboard Cleopatra's Smile, and Maggie Hill, riding O'Ryan, finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in their International Hunter Derby debuts.

"It was exciting for me to have two kids in the class. I've helped Elly since she was on a Medium Pony, and Maggie came to us doing the Pre-Children’s Hunters, so to see them come a long and be in that class with me was an exciting moment. They've both grown up and matured, and they're coming along so well with their riding," she said.

"This was a good first International Derby for both of them, coming from the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington where they showed in the International Ring and Maggie did the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular at night. They were well prepared," she noted.

Liza was also pleased with Clemens, the Hunter Derby horse owned by Finally Farm and Westerly Farm, who is coming into his own. The pair celebrated their one-year anniversary together with this victory at Aiken.

 LIza Boyd and Clemens

LIza Boyd and Clemens

"He was really good here, and, like the girls, he learned a lot in Florida," she said. "I competed him lightly down there, and I wanted him to return here this spring in a good place physically and mentally, which he has. He really stepped up and showed me some good qualities.

"In the Handy Round, I didn’t have to be too risky since I was winning," she said. "I did strategize and jumped all the high options but one in the Handy. I thought it was a good class for him. There are a lot of nice derbies this spring at Aiken and Tryon, and I'm really pleased he started out the spring on a good note and is ready to move forward."

Finally Farm also welcomed Abbie and Libbie Gordon to the team, as the pair from Statesville, North Carolina, will now be training and showing with Liza and her father, Jack Towell.

The Gordon girls started out strongly at Aiken, with Libbie riding Finally Farm's Shamrock to the 3'3" Junior Hunter reserve championship and the Junior Hunter Classic victory and Small Romance to the Large Pony Hunter championship. Abbie guided Farmore State Of The Art to the Small/Medium Pony Hunter championship and earned top ribbons in the same section with Show Me Love.

Liza credited the girls' mom, Susanne Gordon, and trainer Lynn Caristo Forgione for their excellent preparation and organization. "They get lessons from Lynn at home, and she goes over to their farm during the week and teaches them. She sends them to the horse shows well prepared for us," noted Liza.

Finally Farm also congratulated Maggie Hill on the purchase of her new jumper, Hope. It didn't take long for the pair to win their first blue ribbon and then take victory in the NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic at Aiken.

"I want to thank my brother Hardin for finding Maggie this lovely mare," said Liza. "She has a big record as a Young Rider horse internationally. Hardin called me and told me what a great horse she was, and Maggie tried her. We left Hope down in Florida with Hardin for two weeks after the circuit finished, and Hardin gave Maggie lessons. They showed the week before last in Wellington and got to do a class in the big International Ring, so that was great preparation. They're going to be a great match thanks to Hardin."

New partners Bastille and Gigi Manigault also earned tricolor honors at Aiken, taking the Children's Hunter Championship and winning the NAL/WIHS Children's/Adult Hunter Classic.

"I want to thank Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta and the Fauntleroys for this lovely horse. Gigi will move up to the 3’3” Juniors at the next show. They're a good combination and so elegant to watch. They seem to be figuring each other quickly, and I'm excited to see their partnership grow."

 Liza Boyd and Karen Lackinger's Gratis

Liza Boyd and Karen Lackinger's Gratis

Karen Lackinger's Gratis continued to collect more accolades, earning the championship in the 3’3” Green Hunters and winning the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive class. "He’s ready to step up and do the USHJA National Hunter derbies to prepare for the USHJA Green Incentive Championship and the Walnut Ring this summer," said Liza of the championship at the Kentucky Horse Park in August. "I'm really happy with the progress he's made. He's such a nice Green Hunter."

Lavasco and Paige Miller moved up to the 3’ Adult Amateur Hunters at Aiken to earn the reserve championship, and Liza credited her dedication for her success.

"I'm so excited for her and her great results," said Liza. "She doesn’t get to ride a lot. She's a mom and works and has several children, so riding and showing takes a big effort. Having children myself, I know what it takes and understand the commitment. I'm so happy she's had this success and is turning into a competitive adult rider."   

Paige's friend, Amy Nolan, also earned tricolor honors, taking the reserve championship in the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter section with Curuba. "Amy came down for a month in Florida, but we hadn’t seen her in a while," said Liza. "She came to Camden for lessons the weekend before the show and was right where she left off. They were great."

Finally Farm's next outing is the Aiken Charity Horse Shows in May at Bruce's Field.

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 26, 2018 .

Erin McGuire and Kasarr Have That Fighting Spirit

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After five years dedicated to one another, the amateur rider and her unlikely grand prix horse claim their first victory at the Aiken Spring Classic.

By Tricia Booker

When Erin McGuire tried Kasarr at the end of the 2013 Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Florida, she wasn’t all that impressed. In fact, she recalled picking up the trot, trying to get him in front of her leg, and then pulling up to ask his owner if the horse could even get down the lines. 

“I’m not sure she understood what I asked, because she didn’t speak English and just nodded,” said Erin, laughing. “So, I kept going and Jack (Towell) put the jumps up to the top of the standards in the $20 ring, and he did it, so we had him vetted.”

After “Benny” passed the pre-purchase exam, he arrived at Finally Farm in Camden, South Carolina, where Erin met up with him again two weeks later.

“I walked in the barn all excited to see my new horse. I asked (barn manager) Alberto Ramirez where he was, and he grunted and pointed to the cross ties,” she said. “I looked over and thought, ‘Oh my God! Where’s my horse? They sent the wrong one. This is a pony!’”

The diminutive Benny stands “15.2 hands on a good day,” Erin noted. 

But from that inauspicious start, the now 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Gratianus—Liberus H) has grown leaps and bounds in Erin’s heart and carried her to her first grand prix victory on April 21 in the $25,000 Aiken Spring Classic Grand Prix in South Carolina.

“He wasn’t bought for this job, and at no point did I think I’d want to do this or actually do this and be successful,” she said of her grand prix career. “For whatever reason, this horse has more heart than all of my previous horses combined. He has such a fighting spirit. If you look at him, he’s small and built funny and shouldn’t be able to do what he does. But he just does it.

“Reflecting back, take a horse like Casallo, my Junior Hunter. I thought he’d be my horse of a lifetime, and he’s a great horse, but he had success with me and Liza and all of those who have ridden him,” said Erin. “He’s a really good horse. But with Benny, he’s performing for me. It’s not that I’m the best rider or he’s the best horse. We’re a team, and he performs for me. This horse is my pet now.”

Trainer Liza Boyd agreed and credited Erin for creating such a strong partnership and bond with Benny that has contributed greatly to their success together.

“She’s done an incredible job with that horse, and the dedication and hours she devotes to him have made him the horse he is today,” she said. “That little horse has exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

 Erin McGuire and Kasarr with the Finally Farm team

Erin McGuire and Kasarr with the Finally Farm team

Lows and Highs

Erin, of Cornelius, North Carolina, purchased Benny to be her Low Junior Jumper and as the horse she would take with her to the University of South Carolina. “I was aging out of the Juniors, and I had Casallo. I thought he was the nicest horse I was ever going to own, but my time with him was coming to an end. My mom said she’d buy me a jumper to ride but nothing fancy,” she said. 

Erin and Benny made their show ring debut at the 2013 Aiken Spring Horse shows.

“We went straight into the Low Juniors, and it was terrifying,” she recalled with a laugh. “It looked good on paper, but it was scary. We hit the ground running, and I fell on my face the first few times…literally and figuratively. I fell off in the speed class and then won the classic and we were grand champions. But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses!”

While Erin was off at USC focusing on school that fall and winter, the Finally Farm team traveled to the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit, giving Erin time at home to train and work with Benny. 

“The first year I’d been doing the 1.30m/1.35m, and had been doing well, so Liza said, ‘Maybe you can jump the grand prix at Aiken.’ The key word was, ‘maybe.’ I took it and ran with it!” said Erin. 

“I knew I wasn’t fit enough to do a grand prix, but my roommate at the time took me to a group fitness class, and I hated it. I wasn’t strong, and it intimidated me. I’d never touched a weight in my life. But I went once a week and started seeing results, and then I went three times a week,” she said.

It didn’t take long before Erin was totally into fitness and training, and she started working for Emma Williamson, a veterinarian and chiropractor who happened to also teach fitness classes. Erin then became an instructor herself, teaching weights, kickboxing and spin classes. 

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Fitness quickly became a passion, and Erin said it made her a better rider—and not only because she’s stronger and fitter, but also mentally balanced.

“It changed my life,” she said simply. “Fitness became an outlet and took the pressure off of riding. For 17-18 years, I’d been defined by horses. I’d dedicated my life to it, doing online school and riding multiple horses. College and fitness gave me something else to take the pressure off my riding.”

That spring of 2014, Erin was well prepared to tackle her first grand prix. She and Benny competed in the 1.40m at the Atlanta Spring shows and she’d spent the winter in fitness “boot camp.”

The first week’s grand prix was canceled due to rain, however, so Erin and Benny competed in the Open Welcome class the second week. 

“I wanted to win that Welcome so badly, and I went so fast the horse turned out from under me and I fell off,” she recalled. “So, going into the grand prix that weekend I thought, ‘Here goes nothing!’ I’d already fallen off. 

“Liza wouldn’t even come to the schooling ring; she was so scared for me,” added Erin smiling. “I know she was thinking, ‘Those jumps are bigger than the horse! Why are we sending her in there?’”

In the end, Erin and Benny had a respectable debut, finishing 13thwith just one rail down in the initial round. 

“After that first grand prix, I was so happy to think we did it. One year ago, at this same show I’d face planted in the Low Juniors, and now I’d jumped around a grand prix like I knew what I was doing!”

Missions Accomplished

In between their grand prix debut and their first victory at Aiken four years later, Erin kept a solid plan of action and realistic goals while she attained her bachelor’s degree in psychology and then her master’s degree in sport psychology.

“I competed in more grand prix classes and in the High Amateur-Owners,” she said. “I had success here and there, but it’s not about the winning. I try to target horse shows where I’ll be competitive and also challenged. I’d rather be fifth in the grand prix than win in the Low Amateurs.”

Along the way she’s picked up lots of grand prix ribbons—even a few red ones—but that blue remained elusive.

More recently, with Finally Farm spending the 12-week circuit in Florida over the winter, Erin picked out a boarding barn closer to Charlotte where she could keep Benny while the Towells were away. There, she began working with dressage trainer Amanda Paris. 

“She’s very patient with us,” said Erin. “Benny is not a flat savvy horse, and when you ask him to go on the bit he’ll spend more time and effort trying not to do what you want. I tell him, ‘If you just gave in, life would be so much easier!’ But that’s what makes him such a special horse and a winner. He has that fighting spirit!

“Amanda’s not teaching us upper level dressage but functionally she’ll help us for the job we’re trying to do,” she explained. “That dressage training has given us an edge and helps us achieve our personal best.”

Erin noted that Amanda is just one of the many people who have helped her achieve her dreams in the sport, and she remembered the wise words veterinarian Diane Schiereck said to her when Benny was vetted.

“To her credit, Diane knew then and said, ‘Yeah, I think you’ll like what you have in this horse. I promise you, he’s more than you think.’”

 Erin McGuire and Kasarr in the jump-off

Erin McGuire and Kasarr in the jump-off

So, after adding a grand prix victory to what’s already an impressive resume, what’s next for the pair? 

“That’s the $1 million question,” Erin said laughing. 

“There was something that Liza told me after I won that hit home,” she continued. “I was crying and emotional because so much goes into it. You buy a horse and it doesn’t go well at first—you have good shows and bad shows. But you ride the horse when it’s 100 degrees, so you’re used to it and can have success at the summer shows. You ride when it’s too cold and all you can do is tack walk. That’s success. And then each victory is just as sweet. Liza said to hold onto the feeling and don’t ever take it for granted. Treat each victory as your first and don’t ever let it go. Now, it’s like, ‘OK. It could never happen again, or it could happen at the next show.’ I’ll treat every class like a brand-new slate. That’s good advice moving forward.”

Liza couldn’t be happier for Erin, and to have her first grand prix victory happen at Aiken made it even more meaningful.

“Erin’s been showing at Aiken since she started in the 11 and under equitation,” said Liza. “She then won everything in the Juniors and then steadily moved up in the jumpers. Winning the grand prix there was really emotional, and the whole horse show was happy for her and cheered her on, from the show management to the staff to the other trainers. Everyone really likes Erin and admires her hard work.”

 Erin McGuire in the 11 and under equitation at Aiken and 12 years later winning her first Grand Prix at the same venue, Highfields Event Center!

Erin McGuire in the 11 and under equitation at Aiken and 12 years later winning her first Grand Prix at the same venue, Highfields Event Center!

 

Erin is in no rush to decide on her next major competitive goal for good reason. She’s currently establishing a new business, Remarqueable Athletic Solutions LLC, where she’ll specialize in sport psychology, fitness and nutrition for athletes.

“For years, I thought if the stars align I might win a grand prix. And they did. There were nine in the jump-off, and Daniel Geitner went first and fast but had a rail down. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I can win this.’ It was terrifying. Then, I had a burst of emotion. I’d been dreaming about this moment since that first grand prix in Aiken. I thought, ‘What am I going to do with all of this emotion?’ Yes, I can go in and ride poorly, but if I’m going to be a sport psychologist I’m not allowed to psych myself out. So, I talked myself down, and it was a testament to my sport psychology training. I did it.” 

While Erin thanked her family, friends and many supporters for encouraging and supporting her through the years, she said she wouldn’t be where she is in the show ring and in life without the Towell family and Finally Farm.

“I really can’t thank them enough,” she said. “They’re like family now. I’ve been with them going on eight years, and I came to them as an insecure, average rider with no social skills or personality. And what they’ve done for me as a rider and a person is wonderful. You can’t buy that; it’s all just so remarkable.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 26, 2018 .

WEF Wraps Up With Great Finishes for Finally Farm

 Maggie Hill and O'Ryan at WEF 2018

Maggie Hill and O'Ryan at WEF 2018

The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida, was a huge success for the horses and riders of Finally Farm. In addition to ample tricolors and ribbons, the team earned great mileage and solid preparation for the rest of the year, created new partnerships and solidified existing ones.

"Overall, it was a great season. Everybody had a great time and experience," said trainer Liza Boyd. "Everyone left better riders, and the horses left fit and ready for the rest of the year. The weather was great, and everyone feels strong and confident heading into spring circuit."

Liza herself had a fantastic finish to the circuit, riding S&L Just A Cobbler to victory in the $50,000 USHJAN International Hunter Derby. After getting to know the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Namelus R--Orabel) during the second half of the circuit, they peaked at just the right time.

 Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler won the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during WEF 12.

Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler won the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during WEF 12.

"He was amazing in the Derby. He got better every round and was sixth in the Classic Round and then won the Handy," said Liza. "I had a premonition that day, though. The day of a big class like that I’m usually not like, 'I'm going to win today.' But I woke up and thought for sure we were going to win.

"Then, driving to the show that day I was tired," she continued. "After 12 weeks of showing, I was exhausted and was having a little bit of a struggle with my epilepsy. Fading a little. So I thought, 'If I win, I’m going to give back because it's the right thing to do.' I decided I wanted to give the prize money to the Epilepsy Foundation. When I cantered in the ring, that vision helped me. I was doing it for a good cause, and it helped me rally."

Liza and her father, Jack Towell, then spoke to Cobbler's owner, Sam Edelman, who agreed to donate the prize money. 

"Epilepsy is one of those diseases that's not talked about as much as some of the others," said Liza. "It’s almost a stigma. I want people to become more aware of it and better understand that it's something a lot of us live with but that we overcome to live our lives and thrive."

 Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler

Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler

Since Liza and Cobbler became partners during the circuit, she and her team have worked hard to develop a training program that suits him.

"I do think we do some different things with him now that he's more mature," said Liza. "I'll often give him time outs. I'll drop my irons and stand in the schooling ring for a while or do a ton of trot jumps in the schooling area to relax him. It's the little things like that I've found he likes."

Liza noted that Cobbler rides more like a Thoroughbred than a warmblood. "When his blood gets up, and when he pulls you, you have to let go," she said, noting it's a different ride than many people use in today's show ring. "I'll pinch at the knee and drop him, and he likes it. It's an old-fashioned ride that seems to work with him."

The pair concluded the circuit in fourth place in the Equine Tack & Nutritionals 3'9" Green Hunter standings with limited showing. 

 Maggie Hill and For Side VDL

Maggie Hill and For Side VDL

Maggie Hill, 15, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, earned her own circuit accolades, taking second place in the Small Junior Hunter, 15 and under, standings aboard O'Ryan and third in the Large Junior, 15 and under, standings with Cassanto. She earned so many points during the circuit that she placed 14th overall in the WEF Hunter Rider standings among all hunter riders--professionals, amateurs and juniors. 

"This was her first year doing the Junior Hunters on these new horses, and I couldn't be happier or more proud of how hard she worked and how much she learned," said Liza. 

Maggie finished the circuit with a new equitation horse named For Side VDL. "I'm really excited about him and their future partnership," said Liza. "He's a nice up-and-coming horse. He was a jumper and just started doing the equitation. They earned the reserve championship in the 15-17 equitation and were third in the THIS Children's Medal the final week. She has many reachable goals this year, and it will be fun for her to work with him and move up the levels."

Sarah Ekola and Zanzibar finished the circuit with one last blue ribbon in the 3’3” Junior Hunter, 16-17, section. By virtue of their consistent performances, the finished seventh in the circuit standings.  

"That was her last class and last day showing him, so what a wonderful way to finish," said Liza. "Her lease is up with Zanzibar, and he'll be going home."

While some partnerships conclude at the end of circuit, Gigi Manigault started one through the purchase of Bastille from Eliza Fauntleroy through trainers Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw. "It's a great match, and we’re very excited for her to start showing him," said Liza.

Bridget Hallman’s Halston secured the 3’3” Green Hunter championship the final week of the circuit to end on a high note. Liza guided the 6-year-old to the blue ribbon in three of the four over fences classes. "It was a hard division. Two weeks ago Halston was champion in the 6-year-olds, had a week off, and then came back to do so well against many older horses. I'm really thrilled with how far we've come over the circuit."

Finally Farm will enjoy a break before resuming at the Aiken Spring Horse Shows later this month.

Posted on April 9, 2018 .

Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler Wrap Up WEF with Blue-Ribbon Finish in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

 Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler in their presentation with ringmaster Steve Rector, Elle Boyd, Katie Wood and Alberto Ramirez.

Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler in their presentation with ringmaster Steve Rector, Elle Boyd, Katie Wood and Alberto Ramirez.

Liza Boyd, of Camden, S.C., piloted S&L Just A Cobbler, an entry of S&L Farms, to the top of the field in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby to conclude the last week of competition at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival. The event was held over 12 weeks at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, and awarding more than $9 million in prize money.

Boyd and her mount of four months bested 39 competitors out on the grass field at Equestrian Village at PBIEC with a total of 391.75 points.

Conducted in a normal hunter derby format, consisting of a Classic Round and a Handy Round, riders tackled Kenny Krome’s first course of 11 fences on Saturday to secure a spot in the top 25 for Round 2. Two panels of judges scored each trip, and additional points were offered for high option fences.

On Sunday, the leading 25 returned to the derby track for a Handy Round, which was also judged by two judging panels with high option points, however, bonus scores were additionally offered for handiness on course.

Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler sat in sixth place going into the second day of competition with a 180.75, which was more than 8 points fewer than Hannah Isop and Red Ryder’s leading 189. The point different didn't faze the duo, however, as they clinched the leading title with a score of 211 in the Handy and remained unbeatable with a 391.75 total.

S&L Just A Cobbler is an 8-year-old KWPN gelding and consistent winner in the ring, having earned the championship tricolor with Boyd twice in the Green Hunter 3’9” division this circuit as well as a second place in WEF’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby ‘Hunt and Go’ during Week 4.

“This horse is a very different ride than we are all used to nowadays,” said Boyd. “He's more of a Thoroughbred type. I sort of just chuck the reins at him, and if he starts pulling at all, I just let go and he slows down. It reminds me of my childhood days with Monday Morning, and I love it. He's definitely a different ride than Brunello.”

Brunello was Boyd’s mount to win three consecutive USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015, leaving S&L Just A Cobbler with a big name to live up to.

“I feel so lucky to have got him at a stage where he's ready to be very competitive,” said Boyd. “I have to give credit to the riders who rode him before me, and I think that he's a good example of a horse that's come through our Hunter pipeline, from the Pre-Green division on up. My dad, Jack Towell, and I have always loved Cobbler, and I would always envy him when I would watch him show at places like the [USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship].”

In addition to their big finish at the end of the week, Boyd and the bay gelding placed third in Friday’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Hunt & Go on Friday and continued to prove their abilities throughout the weekend.

“He got better and better every day on the field, and I really appreciate that WEF had the Hunt and Go format on Friday for riders and horses to get out on the grass and get used to it," she said. "I noticed that the judges were really rewarding galloping [today], and that there were not a lot of places to go inside, or to be too handy, so I think I really wanted to show off a bigger stride. My strategy was to keep moving and make sure that the jumps held him off, so he would jump high.”

 Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler

Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler

Jennifer Hannan, of Wakefield, R.I., took second-place honors aboard Kensel LLC’s Mindful and echoed Boyd’s thoughts.

“My horse loves to gallop, so it's actually much easier for us to do a handy-type class like this one,” said Hannan. “The course started to get a little challenging by the fourth fence, with a very up-and-down vertical at the top of the ring. There was a lot for the horses to look at, but after the trot jump, that’s where you could really start to get moving, and the judges were looking for us to do that.”

The duo also captured the blue in Friday’s derby and followed the same strategy going into today following a first round score of 179, and with a second round score of 205, gave them a 384 total to earn the second-place spot behind Boyd.

Samanatha Schaefer rode In The Know, an entry of her younger sister Madeline Schaefer, to the third place standing with a total of 383, following first and second round scores of 181 and 202.

“It's so fun to ride out there,” said Schaefer. “I try not to miss any opportunity we get to ride on the grass like this. I keep telling Maddie that I'm going to give him back, but I’m not going to. We have been doing derbies for two years now, and he always rises to the occasion.”

The three riders were excited about the additional hunter derby opportunities at this year’s WEF.

“The horse show has done a great job of introducing new opportunities for us, such as the National Hunter derbies on the field, and I would love to see one or two more derby classes next year,” said Boyd. “[Ultimately,] it's nice to be able to highlight our derby experience, and the more practice we can get as riders on the bigger fields the better.”

Following her memorable Easter Sunday, Boyd plans on donating her winnings to the Epilepsy Foundation, and expressed her gratitude for all the people involved in her big 2018 WEF win.

“I’m sitting in the winner’s seat right now because of Katie Wood, who works for me, and my dad,” said Boyd. “It’s a real team. This is a class I've always wanted to win, and I woke up with this special feeling this morning that it was going to happen. I'm usually the opposite, so I went into today with a good frame of mind. I think we as riders have to pump ourselves up in different ways, and after many weeks of showing, I had to give myself a goal and something to be grateful for. I’m glad it all worked out the way it did!”

Special thanks to Ava Lindsay for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc., for the press release.

Posted on April 2, 2018 .

Florida Wins Continue For Finally Farm

 Clemens and Liza Boyd

Clemens and Liza Boyd

Finally Farm spent the past several weeks collecting additional accolades in Wellington, Florida, on the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit during Weeks 7 and 8 and at the Deeridge Derby.

Liza Boyd and Clemens captured the coveted World Equestrian Center USHJA National Hunter Derby at Deeridge on March 3 as one of the major highlights.

Special thanks to Classic Communications for allowing us to reprint a portion of the Press Release:

March 3 - Wellington, FL - The majesty and grace of some of the world's best hunters were on display at the Deeridge Derby, part of the Palm Beach Masters series at Deeridge Farms, a spectacular world-class venue in Wellington, Florida.

Liza Boyd and Clemens, owned by the family's Finally Farm and Westerly Farm, won the $5,000 World Equestrian Center USHJA National Hunter Derby in convincing style. The pair had the highest score in the first round over the Steve Stephens-designed course, garnering a 92 and then topping that off with a 93 in the second round.

There was no question about how well they had done as they finished the final round, as Boyd's father, Jack Towell, enthusiastically voiced his pleasure for all to hear. Boyd adds this victory to her more than 25 USHJA International and National Hunter Derby titles. With her famous mount Brunello, she won the 2013, 2014 and 2015 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.

"Clemens is an up-and-coming Derby prospect that I'm really excited about; he may even be my next Brunello," said Boyd. "The course today suited him. Steve Stephens and I get along really well. I just love the way his courses flow. He gives you a lot of bending lines that allow you to gallop; they are very inviting. The grass rode beautifully, the jumps were excellent, it was a really great experience for an up-and-coming Derby horse. I couldn't be happier."

 Clemens, owned by Finally Farm and Westerly Farm, receives his awards with Liza Boyd

Clemens, owned by Finally Farm and Westerly Farm, receives his awards with Liza Boyd

Finally Farm clients also enjoyed galloping around on the grass at Deeridge and picking up ribbons in the USHJA National Junior/Amateur Hunter Derby. Maggie Hill guided Charmeur to sixth and Shamrock to ninth, while Elly Ficca picked up seventh place aboard Cleopatra's Smile.

"It's so fun to have the kids doing these classes," said Boyd. "Seeing those girls step up into this atmosphere and doing these big classes is great. They're a great stepping stone to the International Hunter derbies they'll soon be doing."

Liza said their aim this week was the Deeridge Derby to give the horses and riders a change of venue. "It was also a change of pace for us, and we weren't running from ring to ring. It was nice for the riders, horses and grooms to have a more relaxing week. And to ride on the grass is a great experience for the horses and the kids!"

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Liza was also pleased that Elly and Maggie have made such great progress over the circuit with their new horses, and the added challenge of the derby was a testament to their hard work. While Elly commutes back and forth to ride and show, she manages to juggle riding and academics with excellent results. 

"The courses at Deeridge were really technical, with long numbers and it was a challenge to make the in and the out of each line match," she said. "This experience will help them both when they walk into a ring like Devon later this year."

During WEF 8, Maggie also picked up her first championship in the Junior Hunters with a well-earned tricolor aboard O’Ryan in Section A of the Small Juniors.

 Elle and Liza Boyd

Elle and Liza Boyd

"She was solid and consistent coming off Week 6, where she competed in the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular," said Liza. "She was really relaxed and confident after doing that night class with Cassanto.

"It's really rewarding for Jack and I to see how far she's come," Liza added. "Two years ago she was doing Nevada in the 2’6” Pre-Children’s and now she's qualifying and showing in the night class in Palm Beach. Yes, she has a lovely group of horses, but she's also a very dedicated and hard working young rider."

Elle Boyd added another pony to double the fun in the Short Stirrup section. During Week 7 she was reserve champion on Otis Spunkmeyer and also earned ribbons aboard her new mount, Clovercroft Show Me The Bunny, owned by Ashland Farm.

"She'll have him for the rest of the circuit, and It's great. I told her, 'You can’t ride only Otis the rest of your life,'" said Liza laughing. "Jack helps her, and it's perfect because I can step back and he can be the coach and I’m the mom. This system seems to work really well for us, and Elle is having a great time."

Liz Fogleman and Sawyer moved up to the 3’ Adult Amateur Hunters for the first time and captured impressive ribbons. "I'm really proud of her and how she's brought him along," said Liza of Liz. "Going from 2’6" to 3' here is challenging. She competed in the Rost Ring, where the courses are technical and the jumps are solid. They were great."

Gigi Manigault also picked up top placings aboard Spyglass in the Children's Hunter, 15-17, section.. "We just started helping her and are excited to have her in the barn," said Liza. "Gigi is having fun with the girls and fits right in. I've been Impressed with her just hopping on the horse and not knowing him well. She's had nice ribbons and consistent rounds."

Bridget Hallman celebrated her birthday during WEF 7 with blue-ribbon results in the Amateur-Owner, 36 and over, Hunters by winning the stake class aboard Gala and earning a reserve championship in the Adult Amateur Hunters on Lulu.

 Maggie Hill and O'Ryan earned their first WEF championship together.

Maggie Hill and O'Ryan earned their first WEF championship together.

Posted on March 6, 2018 .

WEF Kudos Continue For Finally Farm During Week 4

 Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler

Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler

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 and Cassanto

Maggie Hill and Cassanto

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 and Gala

Bridget Hallman and Gala

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."

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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!."

 Liz Fogleman, No. 11, was especially thrilled to see the Eagles win the Super Bowl!

Liz Fogleman, No. 11, was especially thrilled to see the Eagles win the Super Bowl!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 6, 2018 .

A Team Effort Propels Gratis to the Top During WEF 3

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Although Gratis and Liza Boyd were the two to capture the 3'3" Young Hunter championship during Week 3 of the Winter Equestrian Festival, January 24-28, they had a true team behind them.  

Owner Karen Lackinger's 6-year-old Hanoverian (Grey Top--Akazie) swept all four over fences classes and placed second under saddle for a convincing championship title.

"I'm really proud of how far he’s come along. This time last year he’d never shown," said Liza. "We worked a lot at home last year, and he showed in the Baby Greens last spring before ending the year in the 3' Green Hunters."

Liza noted that Gratis was a little scared about the Jumbotron in the adjacent ring at WEF, but she was careful in the schooling area to help calm his fears and reassure him.

"I did have to change my plan in the schooling ring," she noted. "I didn't make it a big deal, though. Rather than walking him over to see it and face toward it, I bent him away from it when I was flatting. The more he looked at it, the more tense and nervous he would get." 

Instead, Liza decided to work to avoid the Jumbotron altogether and only jumped Gratis off the right lead, where he wouldn't have to face the moving screen.

With that plan in place, Liza said he retained his focus and she was able to get some quality, round jumps in the schooling area that obviously translated well in the show ring, where he won every jumping class.

"I've learned over the years it's best to distract them and keep them busy doing something else," she said of the green horses. "I like to change the subject, and if it wasn’t a moving object maybe I'd have a different strategy. But it's really unnatural for a horse to see what's basically a huge TV." 

Liza is also appreciative of having Gratis to bring up the levels. "Karen Lackinger lives in Aiken, South Carolina, and is a wonderful owner and supporter," noted Liza. "She bought Gratis herself and hopes to bring him along as a Derby horse, and he showed me a lot of a good characteristics of a derby horse here. For him to come through that challenge without a meltdown and go on and compete like he did showed his bravery. 

 Gratis (and Katie Wood) on the trail!

Gratis (and Katie Wood) on the trail!

"He's also growing into his body, and I felt some jumps where he pushed well and is getting stronger behind. It's very exciting to start a horse from scratch to be a derby horse," she added. "I can't remember the last time I've had a horse just for me to produce. We've developed a bond, and he’s very trusting. And since I was the first one to ever show him, I know everything that’s happened and that he's done, so that’s fun!" 

Liza also credited Finally Farm Assistant Trainer Katie Wood for her integral role in preparing Gratis and the other horses this winter. 

"Katie is amazing behind the scenes," noted Liza. "With S&L Just A Cobbler, I have to work on fitness. So she takes him on a four-mile trotting trail ride. I have no idea where she goes, but then she’ll say, 'I'm going to do a shorter trail ride, so I’ll do a nice walk.' She takes the horses out in the mornings and then brings them different ways home.

"I'm seeing a big difference in my horses from all of the exposure they're getting to the different sights. If there's an issue, like a big flock of white birds, Katie never gets mad and makes everything a good experience for them. Clemens has been nervous about rain and walking over puddles (I lost a big class at Blowing Rock because of that), but she's been taking him out and encouraging him to go through water. She has a real talent for that natural type of horsemanship, and I’ve noticed it's helping me in the show ring. She keeps the horses happy, and she takes the kids out with her, so she's involving everyone. It's been fantastic!"

Posted on February 6, 2018 .

WEF Starts Great for Finally Farm

 Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler, 3'9" Green Hunter Champion

Liza Boyd with S&L Just A Cobbler, 3'9" Green Hunter Champion

The Finally Farm team escaped South Carolina just in time to miss the historic snowstorm that blanketed the state with up to eight inches of snow the first week of January. And their perfect timing continued on into the first two weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit, held January 10-21 in Wellington, Florida.

“We’ve had a wonderful start to the circuit, from the Short Stirrup to the Junior Jumpers,” said trainer Liza Boyd. “We have a great group of ponies, horses, juniors and amateurs here for the season, and we’re looking forward to a great winter.”

Liza herself started out strongly in the open hunters, piloting S&L Farm’s S&L Just A Cobbler to the 3’9” Green Hunter Championship.

“That was so exciting,” said Liza. “I showed him once in Aiken (South Carolina) for the first time and then here. He’d never jumped this height, and he handled it really nicely. He’s a brave horse, so walking into the Grand Hunter Ring was easy for him. The Handy was especially fun, and he was right there for me.

“He’s had a lot of good riders on him who brought him along through the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program, so he’s seasoned in that sense,” she added. “It was more about me just getting to know him. I couldn’t have been happier with him. He’ll have Week 3 off and trail ride, and then we’ll show him again Week 4 and plan to do the USHSJA International Hunter Derby.”

Liza is also showing S&L Lion King, who contested the 3’6” Green Hunters, for owner Sam Edelman.

“Both horses are for sale, and I’m excited to have horses to ride for Sam. When I was younger, he sent me jumpers, and he’s had a long friendship with my dad (Jack Towell). Sam has a good eye for a horse and picked out these two and brought them along. It’s great that he’s bringing young horses through our American hunter programs,” she said.

The names Cassanto and O’Ryan are frequently heard at the Junior Hunter ring, and this year is no exception. However, the two talented mounts are now under the direction of Maggie Hill in the younger sections after owner Stella Styslinger went off to college.

“WEF 1 was Maggie’s first time ever dong the 3’6”, and she won a class with Cassanto in the Large Juniors!” said Liza. “I’m so proud of her consistency. During the second week she earned thirds and fourths on both O’Ryan and Cassanto and ribbons with Shamrock. She’s in such a great spot already, earning scores of 84 and 85. She’s so close to getting those 88s, and it’s just fine-tuning. Her hard work and dedication this winter to riding and practicing has paid off.”

Lily Bennett also showed consistency in the jumpers as she piloted Zimba and Athina 18 to top ribbons in the Children’s Jumpers Week 1 before moving up to the Low Juniors with Zimba during Week 2.

“She’s riding great,” said Liza of Lily. “To be in the top ribbons and be that fast down here just shows how far she’s come. It’s hard to go clean in the first place over these technical courses, and then to go fast in the jump-offs is challenging. She’s really turning into a good little jumper rider.”

Ruby Sloan also showed her prowess in the jumpers, guiding Libertina to third place out of 48 in the Low Children’s Jumper Classic in just her first season showing jumpers.

 Amy Nolan's Caruba

Amy Nolan's Caruba

“The courses are technical, and it’s hard to even remember the courses,” said Liza laughing. “The courses down here really push you to the next level, so Ruby held her own in that. We’re excited to have her back, and I think she really found her niche in the jumper ring.”

Finally Farm welcomed new clients to the barn this winter, including Amy Nolan who was reserve champion on Caruba in a section of the Middle Adult Amateurs. “She’d never shown down here, and her horse hasn’t been here, so to walk in the Grand Hunter Ring and be competitive on a green horse is really a big deal,” said Liza. “Now, she’s moving up to 3’3” Amateurs, where they’ll be quite a good competitive combination.”

Paige Miller started her time with Finally Farm aboard Lavasco in the Low Adult Hunters, where she earned second- and third-placed ribbons in a field of 34 competitors. “We’re so happy for her, and she’s leasing this horse for the year,” noted Liza. “It won’t be long before she’ll move up to the Adult Amateurs, where I’m sure they’ll shine.”

Bridget Hallman also joined Finally Farm this winter and started out strongly with ribbons in the 3’6” Amateur-Owner section aboard Gala. Liza also showed Bridget’s Salt in the 3’9” Green Hunters, where they won a competitive class.

“We’re excited to help Bridget with her horses,” said Liza. “She and Gala make a great team and have already started the circuit with some impressive placings.”

The 3’3” Junior and Amateur Hunter riders added many ribbons to the Finally Farm banner, including Sarah Ekola with Zanzibar and Ellen Addison with El Tindo.

Joann Loheac’s Callahan also earned prizes in the 3’3” Green Hunters with Liza before making his presence known in the Adult Amateurs with catch rider Lisa Baugh during Week 2. “They won a class in the Adults, which was super for them. Lisa did a great job,” said Liza. “He’s such a solid horse, and for a green hunter he’s so straightforward. He’s for sale and eligible for the USHJA Green Incentive Program, which is a wonderful opportunity for someone to continue on with his success.”

Similarly, after time spent showing in the Green Hunters with Liza, Sawyer is back in the ring with owner Liz Fogleman who is now competing him in the Low Adult Amateurs to top ribbons.

“Liz showed him a little last fall and has really worked hard this winter,” said Liza. “She’s jumping bigger, solid 3’ courses at home, so when she walked in the ring she was more than ready. Liz imported him as a barely broke 4-year-old and now at 7 he’s truly ready for an amateur. It’s cool she took the time to put the foundation into him, and she’s rewarded with an amateur-friendly horse who has come up the American Hunter system.”

Other top ribbon winners included Kelly Maloney, who enjoyed great success during WEF 1, with excellent ribbons and clear rounds aboard Fieona and Justified. Gratis and Liza earned excellent prizes in the 6-year-old Young Hunters, and daughter Elle Boyd earned the reserve championship with Otis Spunkmeyer in the Short Stirrup Hunters.   

But the star of the jumpers during Week 2 was Cassiana. McKayla Langmeier catch rode the mare in the Low Junior Jumpers and won a class of 78 before returning to claim the classic out of 81 entries.

“It was amazing! She’d never sat on her,” said Liza. “She got on her at the ring on Friday, went first in the order out of 78, and won it. This mare can go fast and turn and go for it. Then on Sunday she walked in de Nemethy Ring and wins again.

“Owner Stella Styslinger is in college now, so Cassiana is for sale,” added Liza. “Someone is going to have an incredible horse. She knows all of the questions and answers them. She’s super brave and fast, and she’s just a good, fun horse—and a lovely girl’s horse because she carries you to the jumps. We’re really proud of her, so that was exciting!”

Posted on January 23, 2018 .

Fall Foxhunting and Thanksgiving Fun in Camden

 Mary Katherine Farnell and Ned Towell

Mary Katherine Farnell and Ned Towell

Late November often brings families together for Thanksgiving, and at Finally Farm it's all that and more.

With the farm nestled in Camden Hunt territory, Thanksgiving time also means Opening Meet and the Blessing of the Hounds. Ned Towell and his girlfriend, Mary Katherine Farnell, enjoyed a beautiful day out hunting in and around Camden's beautiful rolling hills and looked picture perfect in their Camden Hunt colors.

They also participated in the Middleton Place Hounds' Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds at The Greensward on November 26 in Charleston.

 Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer leading the way!

Elle Boyd and Otis Spunkmeyer leading the way!

During this week at home, the horses and riders took to the trails at every opportunity to enjoy the glorious fall weather, with Elle Boyd and her small pony Otis Spunkmeyer often blazing the way for the bigger horses. 

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Liza Boyd and her father Jack Towell taught a benefit clinic for the Camden Hunt, which was sold out and a successful fundraiser. 

"The clinic went really well, and we had three sessions with up to 11 riders per group. It worked really well with us teaching together," said Liza. "When my dad had one group on the flat, I had another at the other end of the ring. Then, when they were jumping courses we would take turns instructing the rider and then talking to those who were watching. We felt like it all worked smoothly and everyone jumped at least three full courses and learned a lot."

The Towell family also traveled to Liberty Hill for a Thanksgiving luncheon, where they enjoyed a gorgeous table set by Lisa Towell and feasting with family and friends.

In addition, Liza and Jack spent time teaching at home, with lessons for the green horses and ponies (Elle even took a turn on one of the 4-year-olds!) and the new combinations preparing for the 2018 show season.

It was a great week to share the blessings of the season and enjoy the horses in beautiful Camden!

 

 

 

  

Posted on November 28, 2017 .