Saugerties, NY - September 16, 2011 - Jumper action got underway at the 2011 Marshall & Sterling League National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson on Wednesday as the top qualified competitors made their way to the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium yesterday to ride for national titles.
$7,500 Junior/Amateur Jumper Low Classic
The Junior/Amateur Jumper Lows is the newest to this year’s Marshall & Sterling League. Twelve qualified horse-and-rider combinations started the day off on a course designed by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida and four clear rounds returned for the jump-off.
Kira Kerkorian of Sagaponak, New York aboard Lisa Kerkorian’s Malcom were the last to show in the jump-off and rode their way to victory with a clear round in 42.132 seconds. Second place went to Alexandra Carlton of Madison, Connecticut aboard her own Carakter, with the second fastest time of 44.193 seconds. Catherine Wachtell of Morristown, New Jersey aboard her own VDL Las Vegas finished in third place, while Darby Toben of Califon, New Jersey rounded out the top four aboard Doreen Toben’s Cenzington 002.
“I’m really happy they added this division to the Marshall & Sterling League,” said Toben, who rides with Redfield Farms in Califon, New Jersey and Ocala, Florida under head trainer Emil Spadone. “I’ve been competing in Marshall & Sterling League classes since I was a junior rider and now, after all these years, I can still come back even in the amateur ranks. This is always one of the most popular divisions at the horse show each year so I’m sure it will continue to grow and find success here [at the National Finals] as well.”
$7,500 Adult Jumper Classic
The Adult Jumpers have been the cornerstone of the Marshall & Sterling League since its inception 21 years ago. This year, the usual suspects returned as three riders who have become synonymous with the League advanced to the jump-off. Alissa Kinsey, Patricia Diamond Hennessey and Katherine Edgell battled against each other for winning honors. Taking home the blue ribbon was Alissa Kinsey of Atkinson, New Hampshire aboard her own Grisset.
$7,500 Adult Jumper Classic
Kinsey posted a time of 38.120 seconds, to top four-time reigning champion Patricia Diamond Hennessy of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania and her own Little Tom by fractions of a second. Hennessy posted a leading time of 38.921 seconds in the jump-off until Kinsey's round.
“It was worth it,” said Kinsey, who has been trying for the past three years to earn her first national title. “Patricia was on fire, so I knew I needed to be fast. There was a lot of galloping in the jump-off. Luckily, my horse really likes to gallop and this ring is so big it makes it easy to do so – she enjoys showing in here.”
Last to show was Edgell of Flanders, New Jersey aboard her own Miss Kitty who acclimated well to the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium and earned the win on Wednesday in the $2,500 Adult Jumper Class. Their list of accolades includes many Marshall & Sterling League ribbons at HITS Ocala, HITS Culpeper and HITS Saugerties.
“I love showing at the Marshall & Sterling League [National] Finals,” said Edgell, who continually poises herself as a top contender each year. “This is what I work towards all year long starting in Ocala and I’m very lucky to have both of my mares here with me. I think Jerry [Dougherty] did a great job setting the course and it’s always fun competing against Patricia [Diamond Hennessy] and Alissa [Kinsey]. They’re both great competitors and we always challenge each other to bring our best every time!”
Edgell and Miss Kitty settled into third place with a clear round in 39.160 seconds. She also picked up the sixth place ribbon aboard her other mount, Elsa. Finishing in fourth after the jump-off was Tyler Linde of Hackettstown, New Jersey aboard Doris Leventhal’s Gemini.
$7,500 Children’s Jumper Classic
The Children’s Jumper Classic took the stage after much excitement in the early morning. Thirty-three competed and Ariel Epstein of Dix Hills, New York emerged victorious aboard Llevo Todo, owned by RJ Equestrian Group.
$7,500 Children’s Jumper Classic
“This was really exciting,” said Epstein, who has only been showing jumpers for four months. “It was a tough course but it’s important that you have a horse that you can stay in sync with who will help you and that’s exactly the kind of horse Todo is. I knew I needed to go fast and I really wanted to win so I’m happy with the way it turned out."
Epstein’s national title serves as the exclamation point to her junior riding career. In two days, she will begin her first year of college at Ohio State University.
“I’d really like to thank my trainer, Patrick Rice, for everything he’s done for me as well as my friends and family for all of their support,” said Epstein “And of course I want to thank Todo, who has been wonderful to ride these past four months.”
Second place went to Irene Peluso aboard her own Odin, while Kendall Casaccio finished in third place aboard her own Axl Rose. Jordan Banghart capped the top four aboard her own Paddington.
$1,500 Pony Jumper Classic
The $1,500 Pony Jumper Classic concluded jumper action on Thursday as young riders hoped for a national championship. Just days after the world’s best competed on an Olympic sized track in the Pfizer Million, nine pony-and-rider combinations took to Dougherty’s track.
$1,500 Pony Jumper Classic
Elizabeth Ranzo of Sutton, Massachusetts cruised her way to victory aboard her own Cruizer as the only rider to go clear in the first round. Four fault finishers would round out the ribbons as Samantha Fitzgerald aboard her own Pandora’s Box finished in second place while Elizabeth Shaffer earned the third and fourth place ribbons aboard her own Styled with Perfection and Proven Theory, respectively.
Coming Up Next
The Marshall & Sterling League National Finals continue this week with a full schedule of classes and special events. Hunters will highlight the competition today with the $2,000 Adult Working Hunter Stake, after which the Adult Hunter champion will be crowned, while the Children’s Working Hunter Horses and Ponies will have their first day of competition in the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium.
The Hudson Adult Equitation will finish the day before riders and their guests attend the year-end awards ceremony, which will take place at 6pm at the HITS café & bar. A dinner will be served at 6:30pm and awards begin at 7:15pm with a Hoedown party to follow. Saturday will welcome an ice cream social at the HITS ice cream parlor at 1 pm and a pizza party at the HITS café & bar at 6 pm.
About the Marshall & Sterling League
The Marshall & Sterling League was designed to enhance the level of competition for children and adult riders, with an opportunity to qualify for a prestigious National Finals competition. Now celebrating their 21st year, the Marshall & Sterling League features 14 divisions of competition. Riders who are members of the League had the opportunity to earn points throughout the year by competing in Marshall & Sterling classes in order to qualify for the Marshall & Sterling League Finals, held at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
The Marshall & Sterling League is proudly sponsored by Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Inc. Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Inc., founded in 1864, is among the largest privately owned insurance agencies in the United States. For more than a quarter century, Marshall & Sterling has protected precious equine assets with unparalleled service and support, whether the family hunter, a champion racehorse or a commercial farm. An employee-owned company, Marshall & Sterling is recognized throughout the nation as a leader in providing exceptional service and support. The company maintains a national presence and is licensed in all 50 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information contact Joe Norick at 800-333-3766, extension 270, 805-338-0099 or JNorick@MarshallSterling.com.
Membership for the 2012 Marshall & Sterling League is $40 and applications are available at all member horse shows, as well as online at the Marshall & Sterling League website. For more information on the Marshall & Sterling League, contact Patti Guerriero, League Coordinator, at Patti@HitsShows.com.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS once again offered the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosted the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, this fall at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!
Photos: Kira Kerkorian on course aboard Lisa Kerkorian’s Malcom in the $7,500 Junior/Amateur Jumper Low Classic at the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals. Kira Kerkorian and Lisa Kerkorian’s Malcom receive first-place honors from HITS' Kristen Vale and Asia Manning, and Joe Norick of Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Inc.; Alissa Kinsey on course with her own Grisset in the $7,500 Adult Jumper Classic at the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals; Alissa Kinsey and Grisset receive first-place awards from HITS' Kristen Vale, and Joe Norick and Robin Walton of Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Inc.; Ariel Epstein on course aboard RJ Equestrian Group's Llevo Todo in the $7,500 Children's Jumper Classic during the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals; Elizabeth Ranzo on course aboard her own Cruizer in the $1,500 Pony Jumper Classic at the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals. All Photos © ESI Photography.