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Loulie Bunzel and Catherine Wachtell pilot their mounts to a tie for Champion!

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (September 14, 2008) – Loulie Bunzel's last hurrah on her mount Porter's Creek proved to be a successful one when she piloted her mount to share the Championship in the Children's Hunter Pony Division at the 2008 Marshall & Sterling League National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

"It was the last show for Loulie and her pony," said trainer Sarah Friedman. "I am very proud of her. She just loves it here and having the opportunity to ride in the big Grand Prix ring with all of the jumps and flowers."

"My pony loves the Grand Prix ring here more than any other ring in the world," said an enthusiastic Bunzel as she took her photo with Mary Moeller and Kristen Vale.

Bunzel, who trains with Friedman at Autumn Farm, in North Salem, New York is one of a handful of students from Friedman's barn to make the journey to the historic Hudson Valley for the Finals. "We come to Saugerties for both the Junior Hunter Finals and the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals," said Friedman. "The most important thing that I tell the kids when they are here is to stay calm and remember that this is supposed to be fun."

"Loulie's parents are on fire about the ribbons and the cooler that she won," added Friedman.

"Riding with Sarah at Autumn Farm is so much fun," said Bunzel. "We laugh a lot but we also know when it's time to be serious."

Rikki Tikki Tavi with rider Catherine Wachtell tied for the title of Children's Hunter Pony Champion. Wachtell trains with Amanda Flint in Long Valley, New Jersey.

Wachtell is a well-rounded athlete and is currently the captain of the cross country team at Morristown Beard School, in Morristown, New Jersey. In the spring she hangs up her running shoes and grabs her lacrosse stick.

"She plays a lot of sports and also rides five days a week," said Flint. "She is very dedicated to the sport."

The Hunter action continued on Saturday with Landrie Folsom riding Just About Time to win the $2,000 Children's Hunter Horse Stake, clinching the Championship for the Children's Hunter Horse Division. Gabrielle Bausano was in the saddle aboard Renoir, who was named the Reserve Champion in the Children's Hunter Horse Division.

Billy Elliot, piloted by David Connors and owned by Carol Stillwell was named The Grand Hunter Champion for the entire 2008 Marshall & Sterling League National Finals. The pair earned 24 points in the Adequan Hunter on Friday en route to the title. Just About Time and Folsom tied Abundance and Cara Garito for Grand Hunter Reserve Champion, both with 20 points.

Competition at the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals continues on Sunday and will feature the Marshall & Sterling Children's Pony Medal Final, Marshall & Sterling Children's Horse Medal Final and the Central Equine Junior Medal Final.

During the year, riders from coast to coast compete at more than 980 Marshall & Sterling League member horse shows to earn points for a place at the Finals. Since its inception in 1991, the Marshall & Sterling League Finals have provided the goal that has fueled the competitive spirit of child and adult riders at all levels of competition. Click here for the current standings.

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 race horse or a commercial farm. An employee-owned company, Marshall & Sterling has been recognized by IIABA as one of the nation's top “Best Practice Agencies”. The company maintains a national presence and is licensed in all 50 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information contact Mary Moelle r at 800-836-3046, extension 224.

HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com

Photo: © 2008 Lili Weik Photography; Porter's Creek, who was ridden by Loulie Bunzel, shared the title of Champion in the Children's Hunter Pony Division.


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