Marshall & Sterling League National Finals Crowns Winners

Saugerties, NY - September 16, 2011 - Hunter action was in full swing Thursday afternoon at the Marshall Sterling League National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson. Leading the way was Osvaldo Ornia Pacher, who captured championship honors in the Adequan Working Hunter division aboard Palermo Show Stables' Alivio.

The Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium at HITS Saugerties welcomed 13 Adequan Hunters over course designer Jerry Dougherty's track. Pacher of Bedminster, New Jersey and his horse captured first-place honors in the opening round of the division on Wednesday to fuel their divisional championship. In addition to their blue-ribbon effort, they were second in the stake class on Thursday and took the red ribbon in the under saddle to rack up enough points for champion honors.

"This has been a wonderful opportunity and I would like to thank Cynthia Williams of New England Farms. She helped a lot with this horse and was a big supporter," said Pacher. "I show here in Saugerties all year and love it. This horse is a new ride and my wife shows it in the Adult Hunters."

Earning reserve champion honors was Brian Feigus of Colts Neck, New Jersey and Gina Marie Calicchio's Panamera. The pair won the blue ribbon in the stake to secure the reserve championship.

Bit O’Straw Hunter Classic

The afternoon saw 58 starters in the Bit O’Straw Hunter Classic in the Stongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium. The top 12 horse-and-rider combinations returned for a second round and saw South Florida’s Cassie Crotty emerge as the winner aboard her own Uroko.  “[This win] was huge,” said Crotty. “We came all the way from Miami for this event and couldn’t have asked for more.”

Crotty, of Coral Gables, Florida is a high school basketball and volleyball star who will now add winning the prestigious Bit O’Straw Hunter Classic to her resume.  “Cassie has only been riding this horse for two years,” said trainer Karen Flynn, who is also the head coach of the Equestrian Team at The University of Miami. “When he was three years old, we took him out of the jumper ring and he has turned into a wonderful hunter.”

Other top performers in the Bit O’Straw Hunter Classic were Samantha Frable of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania and Bronwyn Tillman Rowlands’ Promises Kept in second and Elizabeth Reynolds of Littleton, Colorado aboard Peggy Batt’s Tailor Made in third.

“This has been my first year back riding in more than 10 years,” said Reynolds."I am lucky to have come back on such a great horse.”

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.

Photos:  Osvaldo Ornia Pacher and Palermo Show Stables' Alivio receive champion awards from HITS' Kristen Vale and Asia Manning in the Adequan Working Hunter division.  Brian Feigus and Gina Marie Calicchio's Panamera earned reserve champion honors in the Adequan Working Hunter division. Cassie Crotty and Uroko receive first-place honors from Joe Norick of Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Inc.;  Samantha Frable and Bronwyn Tillman Rowlands’ Promises Kept accept the second-place award from Joe Norick of Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Inc.  All photos © ESI Photography.