September 13, 2013--The first day of the Marshall & Sterling Insurance League National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson hinted at an exciting week forthcoming. Competition got underway yesterday in the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium as HITS Working Hunters, both Professional and Non-Professional strutted their stuff.
Rob Burroughs and Spellbound ride to a clean sweep of the HITS Working Hunter - Professional
Rob Burroughs of Pompton Plains, New Jersey delivered Tricia Flood, who owns Spellbound, Champion honors after piloting the nine-year-old Trekehner mare to the top of the HITS Working Hunter - Professional division. Burroughs and Spellbound rode to a pair of 84s to win both over fences classes and topped all comers in the under saddle, to dominate the division.
Burroughs, trainer at North Jersey Equestrian Center, is spending the week at the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals with his group of qualified riders.
Greta Heimbold of Howell, New Jersey finished eighth in the first over fences class, but returned with a score of 75 to finish third in the second aboard Jayna Suoninen's Diesel Only. She then rode to second place in the under saddle to earn Reserve Champion with the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding.
Lena Reeb comes off a big week to capture HITS Working Hunter - Non-Professional
After riding to seventh place in last week's HITS $250,000 Hunter Prix Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson, Lena Reeb of Weston, Connecticut and Jamie Ringel's Private Ryan didn't slow down one bit, returning to the ring Wednesday to take Champion in the HITS Working Hunter - Non-Professional division.
An 82 landed Reeb with third place in the first over fences class, and she returned with an impressive 90 to win the second class. Reeb also won the first over fences class with Susan Schoellkopf's Call Me.
"Private Ryan was so great out there today," said Reeb. "He goes so well in the grand prix ring because I can get him on a nice long stride, which made all my rounds flow really nicely today."
Reeb has been riding Private Ryan for several years and the two have a storied career together, with countless ribbons on their record. "I want to thank Jamie Ringel for letting me ride this horse - it's a great opportunity to be able to ride a horse like this," said Reeb who was also quick to hand out appreciation to her parents and her trainer Michelle West.
Adding to Reeb's hardware, she and Private Ryan won the under saddle to clinch the division championship. "He tries so hard for me all the time," said Reeb of Private Ryan. "It's exciting to win Champion at a finals as prestigious as Marshall & Sterling [Insurance League National Finals] - it's not every day we get to show in the grand prix ring."
Taking Reserve Champion was Holly Caristo of Saugerties, New York with Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo's Hayden. They were second and seventh in the two over fences classes and finished second under saddle.
HITS Working Hunter 2'
Victoria Rainis and her own Galen Raintree earned Champion honors in the HITS Working Hunter 2' division during the Marshall & Sterling Insurance League National Finals. Rainis and Galen Raintree won the first over fences class and were seventh in the second before riding to second place under saddle.
Behind Rainis, Madeleine Mallon piloted Laugh Out Loud, owned by Hannah Matts to Reserve Champion. Mallon won the second over fences class and rode Laugh Out Loud to eighth in the under saddle.
The Marshall & Sterling Insurance League National Finals continues today as jumpers take the stage in the $7,500 Low Junior/Amateur, Adult and Children's Jumper Classics, while one hunter rider will also be honored with the Adequan Hunter Championship. Then, the $1,500 Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic will be the featured event of the afternoon.