Marshall and Sterling Insurance League Finals Take Center Stage at HITS Saugerties
The 2023 Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Finals are underway at HITS-on-the-Hudson this week, where hardworking riders from far and wide have come to showcase their skills in the hunter, jumper and equitation rings. Since Wednesday, competitors have been vying for the top honors in their respective classes, with the first notable win going to Emily Weis and Linta Blue in the M&S 2’6” Adult Medal Final. After two rounds of competition and being one of five teams to get called back for a tiebreaker flat round, Weis and Linta Blue’s effort embodies what Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Finals are all about!
“We’ve been coming to this show for the past few years, and we made it a goal of ours to come and do [Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Finals] this year with a lovely horse [Linta Blue] who we’re leasing,” commented Weis following her awards presentation. “It’s really exciting that all of our hard work has paid off. It was a good day!”
The twelfth to go in the original line-up, Weis and Linta Blue bested a field of 28 other competitors with an impressive score of 163 to garner the winning title. Maria Frankel and Redfield Farm’s Avalon were hot on their heels, placing just two points behind Weis and Linta Blue, with a total score of 161, leaving Emily Rose Sgro and Benico to round out the top three in the M&S 2’6” Adult Medal Final by scoring a 158.5. These are just a handful of entries in the nearly 400 gunning for gold at the world-class facility, where the Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Finals will continue through Sunday.
Thursday brought even more dedicated horse and rider combinations to the showgrounds, where hunter action took center stage in the afternoon. Leading the way to victory in a class of 75, Elena Buchsbaum and Leonardo had their time to shine in the M&S Bit O’ Straw Hunter Classic.
“I feel super honored and super privileged,” noted Buchsbaum at the conclusion of the class. “This is our first real final with Leonardo, and I never thought I would have a horse this amazing and this beautiful. He’s just a really great boy! I’m glad I got to come back to [HITS Saugerties] as an adult ten years after I last showed here. It was a really great way to end the week.”
Riding 38th in the order, Buchsbaum and Leonardo were one of twelve pairs to return for the handy round, receiving high marks from the judges with a combined score of 172. Brook Slavitt and Retrospect ended their day in the Classic by achieving a 167, which would hold up for second. Meanwhile, Sydney Smith and Samba slipped into third with a score of 165.
The next feature class of the day concluded in the newly renovated THE Ring, where Cassidy Hisler and Nevers were the ones garnering the blue ribbon at the end of the HITS 2’6” Hunter Derby.
“It really means a lot to me,” remarked Hisler when asked what it meant for her to be the crowned victor of the HITS 2’6” Hunter Derby. “I’ve been working super hard all summer, and being here is just a great opportunity.”