2017 USEF Young/Developing Horse Championships
The USEF Young and Developing Horse Championships remain a highlight of our show plans every year. With only the top 15 of each age group invited to the Finals, the competition is intense yet the sense of comradery and enthusiasm is one of the best of all the shows. It’s especially educational to see many of the horses back year-after-year and watch their development up the levels. This year, Michael qualified an impressive SIX horses for the Finals! The two 4-year olds started the week off well. Carol McPhee’s SenSation HW (Sunday-Dancier) has only been with Michael since the beginning of June, but is advancing well in the work. He offered two harmonious, flowing tests which earned a 5th place in the Preliminary and a 6th place overall with a final score of 7.472. Marydell Farm’s Debonair MF (Doctor Wendell MF-Rotspon) showed a lot of composure for a young stallion. While the connection could be a bit steadier, he remains supple and swinging in his work and the walk is a real highlight. He placed 5th in the Preliminary test and moved up to 5th in the overall standings with a score of 7.692. This placing will also fulfill his sport requirements for ISR/OldenburgNA.
Competing on the same days as the 4-year olds, was the Developing Prix St. Georges division for horses ages 7 to 9 years old. Michael’s two 7-year olds have had great seasons so far and produced two solid tests each. Sternlicht Hilltop (Soliman de Hus-Rascalino), bred by Rachel Ehrlich and owned by Hilltop Farm, finished in 12th place overall with a final tally of 66.715 and was edged out by Mitch and Lara Mitchelson’s Faberge Blue (Contango-Democraat) who finished in 11th place with a 66.86%.
Qredit Hilltop (Quaterback-Dream of Glory) competed in the Developing Grand Prix division for horses ages 8 to 10 years old. At 9, he is just in his first season at this level but came through with a 6th place finish overall on a final score of 65.355%. Qredit was one of two offspring in the Developing Grand Prix by Quaterback and bred in the US by Judy Yancey. Ending the weekend on a high-note was Anne Howard’s wonderful 6-year old stallion Finery (Furstenball-Diamond Hit). While still green at this level, Finery’s quality gaits were consistently evident and he stayed well focused on Michael throughout. With an overall 7.6, he finished strongly into 3rd place for both the Preliminary and the Final tests.
The 2008 USEF/Markel Young Horse Nationals was literally a whirlwind weekend for the Hilltop Team with trainers Michael Bragdell riding Selten HW (Sandro Hit - Hohenstein) to the Four Year-Old Grand Champion and Chris Hickey riding Cabana Boy (Contucci - Bordeaux) to successfully defend his National Champion title, this time in the Six Year Old division.
Jane MacElree and Hilltop Farm are excited to announce their purchase of the recently licensed, three-year old Hanoverian stallion Sternlicht GGF (Soliman de Hus-Rascalino). The charismatic black stallion was bred by Rachel Ehrlich of Massachusetts and is the second stallion from her well-established breeding program to be approved by the American Hanoverian Society.
Hilltop Articles & Interviews
Kristi Nunnink's default expression is a smile. It doesn't matter how hard she's working, what level she's riding or how the horse under her is performing -- her mouth curls faintly upward, unforced. It may just be a coincidence of facial structure, or it may be a product of years of habit. But either way, the expression fits her, because Nunnink may very well be the happiest rider at Rolex Kentucky. At 48, she's heading to her first CCI**** with her horse of a lifetime.
The phone rings at Hilltop Farm and breeding manager Natalie DiBerardinis answers. Just as she suspected, it is a mare owner looking for advice. Which stallion would be a good match for her mare, the caller asks anxiously. With scientific advances in artificial insemination, the choices for a perfect partner have never been greater, but that doesn't mean the selection process is any simpler. DiBerardinis asks the owner a few questions about her mare and suggests she complete Hilltop's online questionnaire. After reading it, she and the caller will talk again to discuss the options.