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Enthusiastic Exhibitors funnel in for the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (September 11, 2008) – A magnificent fall day in the historic Hudson Valley welcomed all of the exhibitors who qualified for The Marshall & Sterling League National Finals to HITS-on-the-Hudson for an exciting four days of equestrian competition that is set to begin on Thursday, September 11.

"The Finals really have an old-fashioned feel to them," said trainer Robert Beck. "It's a very friendly event and a good staring point for some of the kids who are attending their first Finals. Riding in the Grand Prix ring is a great opportunity for some of my kids to really learn how to gallop and jump."

"The kids are really excited to be here," said trainer Leah Epstein. "It's a wonderful chance for them to come and compete in a Finals atmosphere."

The Finals officially kick off on Thursday, September 11 and are highlighted by the $1,500 Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic and the Local Working Hunter Classic before the action really heats up over the weekend. However, the equestrian facility was filled with anxious exhibitors on Wednesday who took advantage of using the Grand Prix ring for a warm-up before the prestigious Finals take the stage with all of the action taking place in the majestic Grand Prix arena.

"The facility is drop-dead gorgeous," said Beck. "With all of the beautiful jumps and the berms that surround the ring I think it's one of the nicest horse show facilities around."

The four-day competition will offer $35,000 in prize money, as well as numerous perpetual trophies and awards. New to the schedule this year are the popular $1,500 Pony Jumper Classic, $1,500 Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic and the Local Hunter Classic. Other classes and divisions on tap include favorites such as the $2,000 Adequan Hunter Division, $4,000 Children's Hunter Pony Division, $4,000 Children's Hunter Horse Division, $4,000 Adult Hunter Division, $10,000 Children's Jumper Division, $10,000 Adult Jumper Division, M&S Children's Horse Medal Final, M&S Children's Pony Medal Final, M&S Adult Medal Final, and the Central Equine Junior Medal Final. Coverage from the Finals is also available through the Productions East Video website on a pay-per-view basis for a fee of $25 per day or $49.95 for the entire week.

The Marshall & Sterling League Finals will once again feature a festive League Awards Dinner and Party on Friday, September 12. This year's bash will have a Mardi Gras theme highlighted by a Cajun and Creole dinner and live music.

The Essex Classics Year-End High-Point Awards will be presented following the fabulous dinner. The awards will be presented to the top 10 riders in each division based on the Marshall & Sterling National Point Standings. The top rider in each division will receive a certificate for a free pair of Tretorn riding boots courtesy of EquiFit. In addition, the other riders in the top 10 of each division will receive a valuable coupon towards the Tretorn riding boots. Completely unlike any other riding boot, EquiFit's new Tretorn boot combines the superior technological functionality of modern sports shoes with the styling required for optimum riding performance.

Once all of the awards are handed out, it will be time to boogie during a special musical performance by Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers that will be sure to delight the crowd.

The fun doesn't stop on Friday. After Saturday’s action in the ring, exhibitors are invited to a special Ice Skating Party from 6:30-9:30 PM at the Kiwanis Ice Rink across the street from the show grounds. There will also be an Ice Cream Social on Saturday afternoon on the show grounds.

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: Danette Kadlic for HITS

A group of enthusiastic exhibitors show off all of their awards at the 2007 Marshall & Sterling League Finals Awards Dinner and Party


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