Saugerties, NY - HITS-on-the-Hudson was jumping on Friday when Alexa Adelson (Scarborough, New York) posted the fastest double-clear round aboard Vorst to win the blue in the $2,500 Children's Jumper during the Marshall & Sterling National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
Course Designer Jerry Dougherty trimmed a field of 38 starters to a field of seven that moved into the jump-off round. "It was a really fun course and to have seven come back for the jump-off seemed to make it just right," said Adelson. "The hardest part of the jump-off was going to be the first turn. I took it real tight and galloped to the next jump and I think that made the difference."
Adelson is 17 and runs Cross Country at The Hackley School just outside of New York City when she is not at the barn training. "I just want to thank my trainer Simonetta Meisels and a foundation that I belong to called Just World International. I have a great group that supports me."
Taking second place in the class was Ashley Althoff (Sarasota, Florida) aboard Top Chic D and in third Tara Corr (Goshen, New York) piloted Rain or Shine to the yellow ribbon.
HITS-on-the-Hudson's Grand Prix Ring welcomed the adults Friday as well when the $7,500 Adult Jumper Classic took the stage. In the end, it was a familiar face that stood above the rest when Patricia Diamond Hennessy (Kintnersville, Pennsylvania) and Little Tom took the victory gallop. "This is his third time winning it," said Hennessy. "He had a couple of owners before I bought him and I think he is so successful because I take care of him in every aspect. I am his groom. He is a one person horse."
"It's nice to come to the Finals," she continued. "My husband and I have a horse transportation business so we don't show him much. We pick and choose the shows that we really love."
Taking the red ribbon was Alissa Kinsey (Ft. Meyers, Florida) riding Grisset and in third place was Katherine Edgell (Mendham, New Jersey) aboard Miss Kitty.
A Great hunt! Adequan and Adult Hunter Champions get crowned at the 2009 Finals
Kelly Champion (Washington, New Jersey) lived up to her name on Friday when she guided Mistletoe to the championship in the Adult Hunter Division during the Marshall & Sterling National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
Champion, who is a longtime client of Robert Beck and Hunters Crossing Farm in Long Valley, New Jersey, has been competing at the Finals since its beginning and that made the triumph extra sweet. "I finally did it," she said. "I have been riding with Robert for 22 years and he can't get rid of me."
"I have been leasing this horse for two years," continued Champion. "He has been perfect since the first day that I sat on him."
Champion is just one of a handful of exhibitors at the Finals with Beck who's clients strive for a place at the prestigious Finals. "I feel great for Kelly," said Beck. "She is a hard worker and nobody deserves this more than she does."
Also excelling on Friday was David Connors who piloted Carol Stillwell's mount Nadia to the Championship in the popular Adequan Hunter Division. According to Stillwell, she purchased the horse as an investment during HITS Ocala earlier in the year and he began to win at a blistering pace. Stillwell qualified for the Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic at the Finals aboard her horse but due to a broken hand, she had to miss her favorite class.
Connors is no stranger to the winners' circle at the Finals. In 2008, he led Stillwell's other horse Billy Elliot to the Grand Championship and could have the inside track on a repeat performance this year when the big winner is crowned this afternoon.