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Boyd, Towell and Brunello pile up wins and honors

Posted: February 20, 2014 10:38 a.m.
Updated: February 21, 2014 5:00 a.m.
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THE HONORS KEPT COMING for Camden’s Liza Boyd and Brunello following a memorable 2013 campaign in the Hunter ring.

Even though we are not a full two months into 2014, the new year has already been a memorable one for Camden’s Liza Towell Boyd and her younger brother, Hardin Towell, and the Towell family’s Finally Farm.
On Jan. 10, Boyd received the United States Equestrian Foundation’s Emerson Burr Trophy for her success in the Hunter ring. The Emerson Burr Trophy is presented to a rider in the hunter divisions in any breed over fences.
Long regarded as one of the top hunter professionals in the industry, Boyd added to her legacy with a 2013 season of which many could only dream. Boyd paired with multiple horses over the last 12 months to earn top prizes at many of the United States' most prestigious competitions in coveted classes.
Boyd began her season with a bang in a strong start at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival claiming Champion and Reserve Champion honors in the Gold Coast High Performance Working Hunter division in February. In the fall, she showed her skill and adaptability by winning the WCHR Professional Finals, where riders competed with donated horses over the first two rounds.
August, however, would host Boyd's biggest career victory when she bested a star-studded field in the 2013 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships with longtime partner Brunello. This was the pair's fifth International Hunter Derby win in as many months after topping fields in the Camden Spring International Hunter Derby, the Atlanta Spring International Hunter Derby, the Atlanta Summer International Hunter Derby, and the BRCHS International Hunter Derby.
Boyd and Brunello kicked off their championship season with strong second-place finishes in the Jacksonville Finale International Hunter Derby before placing second in the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
Boyd’s honor came on the heels of Brunello, co-owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, being honored as the 2013 USEF Horse of the Year.
Brunello, a 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding, has teamed up with Boyd since 2007 and together, the pair have won International Hunter Derby classes in 2013 including the Camden Spring International Hunter Derby in March, Atlanta Spring International Hunter Derby in May, the Summer International Hunter Derby in June, and the BRCHS International Hunter Derby in July, the pair went into Lexington at the top of their game.
 After the Classic Hunter round, Brunello and Boyd found themselves in second place, but one good Handy Hunter round away from a shot at winning. Their round was excellent, and with it they earned the 2013 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.
Brunello will be honored with the award of a lifetime on March 16 when it is inducted into the Equus Hall of Fame for 2013 at a ceremony in Wellington, Fla.
Not to be outdone by his sister, Hardin Towell rode off with off to his first FTI Winter Equestrian Grand Prix victory on Feb. 2 with a win aboard Jennifer Gates’ Man In Black in the $50,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI 2.
The score was the biggest in the 26-year-old rider’s career.
Towell and his mount won in an eight-horse jump-off at the stadium located inside the Palm Beach Equestrian Center
Last to go in the second round, Hardin Towell and Jennifer Gates' Man in Black got the winning edge, completing the course in 42.47 seconds.
Man in Black is a 12-year-old gelding by Gentleman x Calvados that Towell has been riding for one year. Gates showed the gelding in the Junior Jumpers last year and then handed him over to compete at the higher level with Towell. This was Towell’s second grand prix victory, and his first major win at the FTI WEF.
“It  feels very good (to win), and especially since I just started showing him,”  Towell said following his winning ride. “He’s a little bit strong. I have had a lot of trouble the last six months finding the right bit. I have changed a lot of bits and probably made a lot of mistakes using the wrong bits, but I think we have kind of figured it out.
“He’s a really sweet horse. He is very brave, very scopey, and this is a great venue out in this grass field. He is always good at places like that. He is so brave that he is a little bit impressed out here sometimes, so today he jumped unbelievably. I could not ask for any more; he was fantastic.”

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