SAUGERTIES, NY (September 17, 2012) – Children’s Working Hunter riders, their horses and their ponies were the center of attention in the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium this weekend during Marshall & Sterling League National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson. While year-end award winners were crowned during the annual awards ceremony at Diamond Mills Hotel and Tavern, Children’s Working Hunters took to the saddle and rode for even more ribbons over two days.
Children’s Working Hunter – Small Pony
Kayla Ryan of New York, New York led the charge as she and Lochmoor Stables’ First Dibs clinched the small pony title. Ryan rode to an impressive score of 80 to finish second in the first over-fences class. She also piloted First Dibs to second place under saddle to rack up enough points for Champion honors.
Sophee Stenbeck of Clarksburg, New Jersey used a high-score of 82 over fences to win the first class and ride to Reserve Champion. She and her own Coconut Creek also earned fifth place in the stake and were third in the under saddle.
Children’s Working Hunter – Medium Pony
Eleven-year-old Emma Weiss was beyond excited to ride her pony Tazmanian Devil in her first-ever Marshall & Sterling League National Finals this weekend. Weiss of New York, New York earned the title of champion in her division after a second-place finish and a score of 82.5 over fences topped 35 fellow competitors. She also rode Tazmanian Devil to win the under saddle.
“This was her fist time doing anything like this and she really rose to the occasion,” said Weiss’ trainer Heidi Earle. “She’s a special kind of rider and she and I have brought Tazmanian Devil along over the past five years. They deserve this.”
Taking reserve in the medium pony division was Melinda Hartman of Flemington, New Jersey. She and Patty Miller’s Celtic Charm picked up first and second-place ribbons over fences. A high-score of 83 earned them the blue.
Children’s Working Hunter – Large Pony
Just two years after learning how to post on her pony, Phoebe Spar of Chappaqua, New York rode to a Children’s Working Hunter Championship aboard her own Midnight Snack and topped a staggering 53 challengers.
“She has come far and I know that she will go far,” said Spar’s trainer Stephanie Demmon. “Midnight Snack has a big, lopey stride, so this ring and layout was perfect for them. I am incredibly proud.”
Despite being nervous about riding in the grand prix ring at HITS-on-the-Hudson, Spar picked up a second-place ribbon in her first over-fences class with a score of 82. She also boasted first place in the under saddle class to clinch Champion.
“We had a great week here and you haven’t seen the last of us,” added Demmon with a smile.
There was a tie for Reserve Champion among large ponies. Sharing the honors was Samantha Pellegrino of Merrick, New York and Cloe Hymowitz’s Olivander, and Shannon Eckel of Rockaway, New Jersey aboard Redfield Farm’s Around The World.
Children’s Working Hunter – Horse
Madison Strony of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania and her own Aye Spy rose to the top of stacked field of 62 horses and claimed Champion in the horse division. The pair earned a high-score of 87 during their fist go over fences. They returned to claim third in the stake to be named Champion.
The battle for Reserve Champion among horses was a dead heat and the award went to both Rhian Murphy of Charlotte, Vermont and her own Phantom, as well as Kennedy Knapic of Smithtown, New York in the irons of her own Zedulon.
About 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 22nd 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 or 805-338-0099, or Margaret Barese at 800-836-3046, extension 288.