Marshall and Sterling Insurance League Finals Take Center Stage at HITS Saugerties

Saugerties, N.Y. — Sept. 15, 2023 — 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! 

Emily Weis and Linta Blue. Photo by: ESI Photography

“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.

Emily Weis and Linta Blue. Photo by: ESI Photography

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.”

Elena Buchsbaum and Leonardo. Photo by: ESI Photography

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.”

Cassidy Hisler and Nevers. Photo by: ESI Photography

In the last of the hunter classes on Thursday, Hisler and Nevers topped 63 other entrants by attaining a 171.250. Following in second place were Georgia Wallace and Opaline De Grisien, who earned a 169.500. Finally, Marisa Deyoung and Captivating got a 167.500, which would become the third-highest score of the HITS 2’6” Hunter Derby.  

Saving the best for last in Friday’s M&S 2’6” Children’s Medal Final, Lola Erdmann and her partner of three-and-a-half-years, Coranto D, stepped into their test round as if they’d already won their class. 

“[Winning this class] feels really good because it’s been a really long road with [Coranto D] trying to figure him out and working with him,” said Erdmann of her gelding. “I feel very accomplished to be able to win.”

Lola Erdmann and Coranto D. Photo by: ESI Photography

The last to return for the test that made up the riders with the three highest-scoring rounds, Erdmann and Coranto D walked confidently into the arena and did not have a single step out of place, which helped them get a 169.000 at the completion of their ride. Merrill Moccia and Denmark finished one point away from Erdmann and Coranto D’s score with a 168.00, and Beth Wissing and Hendrix came in one point subsequent to Wissing and Hendrix’s with a 167.00. 

Tune in for Saturday’s Dover Saddlery Adult Medal Final and to see who will be named this year’s Grand Hunter Champion at the 2023 Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Finals. There will also be a karaoke night for exhibitors to wind down at in the evening, where complimentary pizza and ice cream will be provided by HITS Saugerties. For more information, visit