Elizabeth Boyd and Fiyero 2008 AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular Winners
WELLINGTON, FL, Feb. 23–
James Taylor songs and a gift of a bridle from a competitor and friend were lucky omens for Carolina rider Elizabeth Boyd and Fiyero to become repeat winners of the AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular Saturday night at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising.
Twenty nine combinations qualified to start in the WCHR Spectacular that is in its 12th year, with the eight top pairs returning for the second round and to win a slice of the prize money of more than $40,000.
Boyd, 28, of Camden, S.C. and Fiyero, an 11-year-old Regular Conformation gelding owned by Molly Gardner of Charlotte, N.C. and trained by Jack and Hardin Towell, were the last to go before a large crowd in the newly refurbished International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
The pair scored a total of 178.750 points to beat close friend Kirsten Coe of Toluca, Calif. on Genuine who posted 178.499 points and last year’s winner, Tim Goguen of Wellington, on Angelo in third place with 176.749.
Boyd, who is a professional as were all the eight finalists, won the WCHR in 1997. She was 4th in the WCHR Pro and 2nd in the WCHR Pro Challenge and Champion Regular Working Hunter at the Capital Challenge, in Harrisburg and the Washington International Horse Show in 2007.
But the win Saturday night, when the International Club decorated for the occasion and catered by the Equestrian Club Tavern on the Green was a sellout, was “more real” than the victory 11 years ago.
Now, Boyd said, she understands the horsemanship and effort required to succeed.
Her superstitious nature led her to believe something special may happen before the first streaks of light when she was up at 5:45 a.m. and heard a James Taylor song on the radio.
Later at the PBIEC she heard another James Taylor hit over the public address system, “Carolina In My Mind” that “gave me that extra oomph.”
When she was preparing Fiyero, a “magic” bridle showed up from a good friend for her to ride with. It was from Kirsten Coe who provided it because she had used it on her winning horse.
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com