2015 News

Riverman USEF Leading Eventing Sire

Riverman-Jan-2012With each step in their careers, the Riverman offspring continue to impress us with the versatile athleticism that has allowed them to succeed at the highest levels of most every discipline.   Over the years we’ve seen Riverman ranked near the top the USEF Leading Sire rankings in multiple disciplines and in 2015 his offspring once again earned him the honor of USEF Leading Eventing Sire.  The results of a few offspring were particular highlights.  Owned by Judith McSwain and bred by Charlotte Wrather, Fleecework’s Royal (ds. Corofino) handily won the Preliminary Championship at the USEA American Eventing Championships.  Fleecework’s Royal is a previous winner of the 5-Year Old Young Event Horse West Coast Championships.  Rachel Wilk’s River King (ds. Speed Play xx) competed at the Intermediate and Advanced Levels, picking up 5 top ten finishes.  River King was bred by Cheryl Byrd. Kaitlin Whitefield’s Rivoletto (ds. Flying Nashua xx) was a consistent mount at the Preliminary level, taking home the Preliminary Level win at The Event at Rebecca Farms.  Hilltop Farm would like to thank all of the breeders who have confidently chosen Riverman for their breeding plans over the years. Your breeding and competition efforts are truly appreciated and this recognition for Riverman could not have been possible without your efforts!

Quite Easy USEF Leading Hunter Sire

QuiteEasy_HD-webWith the beautiful type, scope, quick reactions, and correct gaits, it is no surprise that Quite Easy offspring have become a top consideration for hunter riders.  The 2015 show season proved to be an exceptional year for the Quite Easy offspring, earning Quite Easy the coveted position as the USEF Leading Hunter Sire.  While it takes the results of many offspring to earn this status, there were definitely a few offspring that shone especially brightly this year.  Susan Baker’s Q (ds. Ahorn) racked up top ribbons at major shows across the country in the Second Year Green Hunter under Peter Pletcher’s guidance and in Amateur-Owner Hunters with Susan.  In the Junior Hunters, Pamela Kahn’s Quite Ruffy (ds. Krocket) and Tyler Petrie earned numerous championships and top ribbons at the Washington International, Pennsylvania National, and The National Horse Show. Over Fences Farm’s Quite Chocolate (ds. Elmshorn) had a successful year in the High Performance Hunters under Maria Rassmussen, and once again competed at the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships.  The beautiful Quasar (ds. Calido I), owned and bred by Laura Connaway, consistently earned top ribbons in the Adult Amateur Hunters.  It’s rewarding to see both the US-bred and imported Quite Easy offspring competing with excellent success.  Thank you to all the breeders who placed great faith in this exceptional stallion over the years!

Sternlicht Hilltop Wins US Championships

Sternlicht_SusanJStickle-webSternlicht drew an early time spot for the USDF First Level Championships, but the brisk weather didn’t change his focus or fluidity.  Together with Michael Bragdell, the pair put in an outstanding test that earned an overall 74.363% and all scores of 8’s for gaits and impulsion.  Winning the USDF National Finals at First Level was a perfect end to the show season.  Congratulations Michael!

Doctor Wendell MF Wins US Championships

Doc_Pir_SharonPacker-webJim Koford and the 7-Year old Hanoverian stallion Doctor Wendell MF (Don Principe-Sandro Hit) have had an exceptional year and the USDF National Finals were the perfect ending.  They earned a 7th place in the Intermediaire I Championships with a score of 68.947% but then ironed out the little details to commandingly win the Prix St. Georges Championships with a 72.982%!  Doc now gets a little rest before the start of his Florida show season.  Go Doc Go!

USDF Region 1 Championships

246-webIt’s been a fantastic show season here at Hilltop Farm and everyone has been looking forward to the USDF Region 1 Championships in Lexington, VA.  The temperatures were brisk (to say the least), but the sunny sky and fall foliage made for beautiful horse show weather.  Beth Custalow had a strong finish to her season with her wonderful gelding Bvlgari (Bordeaux-Rohdiamant) competing in the Third Level AA Championship and winning their first Fourth Level Test 1 with a score of 64.459%.  Hilltop’s assistant trainer Jessica Fay finished out a strong season with Cha Ching HTF (Contucci-Cordoba) in the Training Level Open Championship.  Tiffany Bragdell showed her own Bellatae (Bugatti-Grusus) to a 7th place finish in the Third Level Open Championship and earned a wildcard score of 68.333% and showed Lesley Feakins’ sport pony Wicked Games (Wicked Courtjester-Nieuwmoeds Patrick) to a 67.927% and 6th place in the Second Level Open Championship and a 70.147% and 5th place in the First Level Open Championship. Congratulations Tiffany on qualifying both of your horses for the USDF National Championships!

Michael Bragdell, Hilltop’s head trainer, had a packed weekend competing horses from First Level through Grand Prix. Faberge Blue (Contango-Democraat), owned by Mitch & Lara Mitchelson and bred by Marie Emrey/Lazy J Sporthorses, wrapped up a fantastic season with a 3rd place in Saturday’s First Level Test 3 and a 12th place in Sunday’s huge First Level Open Championship. Iris Aberbach’s Boxster A (Bugatti-Weltbekannt) showed off his maturity and was Reserve Champion in the Prix St. Georges with a 74.211% and was Champion at Intermediaire I with a 71.842%.  Qredit Hilltop (Quaterback-Dream of Glory) was 2nd in Thursday’s Prix St. Georges and placed 5th in the Prix St. Georges Open Championship with a score of 72.171%, well above the wildcard score he needed to earn his trip to Kentucky. Witness Hilltop (Hamlet-Burggraaf) was Champion at Intermediaire II with a 68.092% and was Reserve Champion at Grand Prix with a 66.533%.  Not to be outdone, Sternlicht Hilltop (Soliman de Hus-Rascalino) wrapped up the weekend as the last ride in Ring 3 and what a ride it was!  Scoring a 76.397% he won the First Level Open Championship and the Horse of Course sponsored High-Score Award.

2015 Dressage at Devon

Devon2015Throughout the years, Dressage at Devon has held the distinction of being one of Team Hilltop’s favorite shows each season, and 2015 has proven no different. It is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with our amazing clientele, new and old friends alike, and serves as a true showcase of the amazing horses the US industry is currently producing. Along with longtime friend King Santacruz of Wellington, FL, our resident handlers Michael Bragdell and Quinnten Alston provided another banner year within the historic Dixon Oval.

We began our week in Tuesday morning’s large Yearling Colts and Geldings class. Doc Marten SPF (Doctor Wendell MF – Liberty Gold), bred by Gina Leslie and owned by Karen Schumaker, had a beautiful go with Quinnten to take 6th place with a 77.2%. Also finishing within the Top Ten were Dana Groop’s LJS Wild Waldo (Wild Dance – Caesar) and Michelle Ryan-Schwartz’s Coach (Contucci – Benetton Dream). King handled Marydell Farm’s Debonair MF (Doctor Wendell MF – Rotspon) to a commanding win in the Two Year Colts & Geldings Class with an 83.5%. In the same class, Bob Jackson’s Rock Royale RSW (Rock Solid – Archipel) was close behind in 3rd with a 78%. Debonair’s stablemate David Bowie MF (Don Principe – Rotspon) brought in another blue in the Three Year Old Colts & Geldings Class, winning with an 81.8%. Wendell and Maryanna Haymon’s Marydell Farm was strongly represented in the Devon Colt Championship, with Debonair and David Bowie being named Champion and Reserve Champion respectively!

Devon also serves as the first opportunity for us to get our young foals off of the farm and we could not have been more pleased with how they handled the exciting environment! In the large Colts of Current Year Class, Steinbeck HTF (Sternlicht Hilltop – Royal Prince) placed 2nd with an 80.7%. Amy Bhakhri’s Qhrome HTF (Qredit Hilltop – Contucci) took 4th with a 78.1% and our own Stetson HTF (Sternlicht Hilltop – Negro) placed 9th with a solid 76%. It was especially gratifying to see Sternlicht’s first foal crop received so well – we have been consistently impressed with the correct conformation, type, and good temperaments that he is passing on to his offspring! In the Fillies of Current Year Class, Kouture (Florianus II – Ampere), bred and owned by Lesley Feakins, dazzled with an 83.6% to take the win with Michael. Michelle Nightingale’s Sophia FCF (Sternlicht Hilltop – Amiral) and Ashley Beheler’s Kirika (Riverman – Consul) put in wonderful rounds to place in the Top Ten as well. In the Devon Foal Championship, Kouture was named Champion Foal with Steinbeck HTF as Reserve Champion Foal.

The Filly classes in the Dixon Oval were especially thrilling for Team Hilltop this year. King once again found himself in the winner’s circle with the Marydell Farm bred and owned Danae MF (Doctor Wendell MF – Rotspon). This beautiful filly is a true head turner and thoroughly enjoyed showing off in the ring to an 82.5% and the win in the Yearling Fillies class. Paulette Ziegler’s Royal Secret (Royal Prince – Donthelumbertrader xx) also put in a beautiful round in the same class. Danae would go on to be named Reserve Champion Filly and Champion Young Horse, clinching a spot in the Grand Championship on Wednesday night. Qindle HTF (Qredit Hilltop – Royal Prince) followed suit by winning the Two Year Old Fillies with Michael on a 79.7% and was also Born in the USA Champion for Two Year Old Fillies. In the same class, Relevé HTF (Royal Prince – Cordoba) took 3rd place and Beth Custalow’s Bugatti’s Ballerina (Bugatti Hilltop – Rohdiamant) a 5th place. Quinnten would take the win in the Three Year Old Fillies class with long-time friend Mo Swanson’s Shcooter (Shakespeare RSF – Royal Prince). Also placing well were Quinzy HTF (Qredit Hilltop – Cordoba), Royal Olivia (Royal Prince – Chardonay) and Field of Dreams (Fielding – Rascalino). Shcooter was named Champion Filly and Reserve Champion Young Horse, earning her place alongside Danae in the Grand Champion Ring!

Wednesday morning started off with a bang seeing Quinnten take the two top spots in the Maiden Mares 4 Years & Older class. Winning the class was Nancy Radtke’s big moving Welina (Wilkens – Sandro Hit) who would later go on to capture the Champion Mare and Champion Mature Horse titles. She also won the large GAIG/USDF Mare Championship with an impressive 87.3%! Mo Swanson’s Shabrina (Shakespeare RSF – Widmark) took a close 2nd in the Maiden class and placed 3rd in the Mare Championship. Also placing in the Top Ten were Mo Swanson’s Shtiletto (Shakespeare RSF – Fabriano) in 4th and Gaye Bergstrom’s Grand Star WS (Amazing Star – San Remo) in 7th. Lesley Feakins’ Glamour Girl (Ampere – Varus) placed in 7th in the Four Year & Older Broodmare class as well.

Joanna Gray Randle’s Royal Tourmalet SPF (Royal Prince – Armin) took a 2nd place in the Four Year Old & Older class with an 80.7% on Wednesday afternoon and then placed 3rd in the Stallion Championship. “Artie” also finished 6th in the Four Year Old Stallions & Geldings Materiale with a 75% and was named the Born in the USA Champion for American bred stallions. It was a true delight to see Joanna’s commitment and love of her horse translate to such success at Devon this year!

Represented by Qindle HTF and Steinbeck HTF in the Produce of Dam class, Raja HTF (Royal Prince – Parabol) would take the win with a 76.4%. The Hilltop Stallions had a strong influence in the Get of Sire class as well. Get of Doctor Wendell MF (Don Principe – Sandro Hit) came in 2nd with an overall score of 78.7% followed closely by the get of Sternlicht Hilltop (Soliman de Hus – Rascalino) in 3rd and Qredit Hilltop (Quaterback – Dream of Glory) in 5th. In the Breeders Group Class, Hilltop Farm took 3rd place with 76.4%.

We were delighted to be back in the Grand Championship this year in such a strong group of horses! Under the lights and with a light rain beginning to fall, it was thrilling to see Quinnten guide the impressive Welina to Dressage at Devon Grand Champion for 2015! King was also in the winner’s circle for a second year in a row, showing Danae MF to Reserve Grand Champion for Marydell Farm. To top it all off, Jane was on hand to partake in the celebration of another great year at Devon!

The final day of the breed show saw a drastic drop in temperatures but the momentum from the previous days remained consistent. In the Hanoverian 2 Years & Under Class, Steinbeck HTF took the win with a 79.1%. Other Hilltop-bred and client owned horses rounded out the Top Ten, including Bugatti’s Ballerina, Releve HTF, Qhrome HTF, Stetson HTF, Coach and Doc Marten SPF. In the Hanoverian 3 Years & Older Class, the Royal Prince sons Royal Tourmalet SPF and Rex Roland BHF took 4th and 5th respectively. Grand Star WS took 4th in the KWPN-NA Three Years & Older IBC for owner Gaye Bergstrom. Bob Jackson’s handsome colt Rock Royale RSW finished his Devon week out with a strong finish by winning the Oldenburg 2 Years & Under Oldenburg GOV IBC as well!

In addition to the in hand classes, we were excited to see two of our homebreds excelling under saddle! With our assistant trainer Jess Fay, Quinzy HTF (Qredit Hilltop – Cordoba) placed 2nd in the Suitable to Become a Dressage Horse and won the Three Year Old Filly Materiale with an 80.2%! Quinzy is our first Qredit Hilltop to go under saddle and we are absolutely thrilled with her quiet, workmanlike attitude – both at home and at such a big show like Devon. Cha Ching HTF (Contucci – Cordoba) won the Four Year Old & Older Stallions and Geldings Under Saddle class and also placed 3rd in the Four Year Old Stallions & Geldings Materiale with a 79.4%. In the large Materiale Championship class, Cha Ching put in a beautiful round with Jess to placed 3rd overall! Cha Ching started his show career being named Champion Foal at Devon in 2011, so it is especially fun to see everything come full circle!

Congratulations and thank you to all of the owners and breeders with horses participating in the show! We always enjoy our time at Devon, and it wouldn’t be possible without our great staff and past Hilltop alums who all pitch in to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes both at the show and back at home.

And a special thank you to all of the volunteers and show management who continue to make Devon such a fun, family-like atmosphere for us each year. We’re already looking forward to 2016!

Royal Prince (1999 – 2015)

 royalprince-showcase-edited_1 - Copy“Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” ~ William Shakespeare

It is with a broken heart that we share the news of Royal Prince’s passing this week.  Late in the afternoon of January 20th Royal Prince presented an acute colic and was immediately taken to New Bolton Center.  Unfortunately due to complications discovered during surgery, the only humane choice was to euthanize him.

Royal Prince had a significant impact at Hilltop Farm.  In 2004 with Susanne Hassler, he placed fourth at the FEI World Championships for Young Horses – the highest American finish at the Championships to this day.  Royal Prince later helped Michael Bragdell earn his USDF Bronze and Silver Medals and he showed at Prix St. Georges with Chris Hickey.  Royal Prince developed into one of our most prominent stallions including winning the USEF Dressage Breeding Sire of the Year Award for five consecutive years. His offspring have been consistent winners at breed shows and inspections.  To date he has eight Elite Mare/Elite Mare Candidate daughters with the American Hanoverian Society and seven Premium Mares with ISR/Oldenburg. His offspring have earned USDF Horse of the Year titles, Regional Championships, and USDF All-Breeds Awards.

Most importantly, Prince was part of our family.  The barn feels a bit empty without him here and while we are grateful for the years we had with him, we can’t help but feel his time here was cut far too short.  For those of you with a Royal Prince offspring – go out and give them a hug.  We hope they bring as much joy to your lives as Prince has brought to ours and we’ll look to them to carry on Royal Prince’s legacy for years to come.



News from the Past