Grand Tour

History of Hilltop Farm, Inc.

 

Hilltop Farm had its genesis in the special effect horses can have in the lives of children.  In the early 1980’s, Ann Hill, the youngest daughter of Jane MacElree, began riding with Jill Hassler at her small farm in Quarryville, PA.  Ann is one of the early survivors of spina bifida and her time with the Hassler family at their Quarryville farm had an enormous positive impact for her.  To this day Ann remains an enthusiastic and accomplished horsewoman and enjoys competing in hunter and jumper divisions with her horses.

The relationship between the Hill/MacElree and Hassler families grew as Jane began to support the riding career of Jill’s son, Scott, and in 1984 she purchased the stallions Nurejev and Cabaret for Scott to continue to train and compete. Jane and the Hasslers began to develop a vision for a breeding and training center that would promote excellence and raise the standards within the US sporthorse community.  The search for land began and in 1989 a very special property was found in Colora, MD.

Nestled in the hills of northern Maryland, the 400-acre farm offered a tranquil setting, excellent pastures, and endless possibilities.  Construction began and in September of 1991 Hilltop Farm officially opened its doors.  Our training program took center stage and horses such as Cabaret and Parabol were actively campaigned at CDI competitions throughout the US.

SBS
Paul Loomis, SBS

In 1993 Select Breeders Service moved their home office to Hilltop Farm.  Respected worldwide for offering the very best in equine semen collection and processing, SBS elevated the breeding program at Hilltop Farm to a whole new level. Our breeding programs began to grow and the purchase of the Holsteiner stallion Riverman brought a whole new focus to our stallions in 1995.  A few years later saw the addition of the Hanoverian Contucci to our stallion line-up and breeding became the focus of Hilltop Farm in the following years.

During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Hilltop Farm embraced our relationships in Europe and extended our stallion line-up with Bugatti Hilltop and Rousseau.  Both stallions continued to stand in Europe to have a lasting impact over there, while we also offered their services to US breeders through frozen semen.

Royal Prince

Susanne Hassler and Royal Prince
Photo by Astrid Appels

Next the Hanoverian stallion Royal Prince was purchased by Hilltop Farm and we began to cycle back to our earlier years of promoting both breeding and sport.  In 2004 Royal Prince and Susanne Hassler represented the US at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses.  Their fourth place finish in the five-year old division is still the highest finish by an American to date. 

As the goals and plans for the farm changed Scott and Susanne Hassler decided to venture out from Hilltop Farm to develop their own business at the end of 2006. This marked a new and exciting chapter for Jane MacElree and Hilltop Farm.  Beth Clarke had been consulting for the farm for a few years and was instrumental in developing the new incoming staff to continue the farm’s development.

Christopher Hickey came on board as Director of Training in January 2007 and immediately took the farm to new heights in the competition arena as that summer he represented the US at both the Pan-American Games and the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses.  Chris and Brenna Kucinski’s Regent won both the Team and Individual Gold Medals at the Pan-Am Games and Hilltop Farm’s Cabana Boy was the highest finishing American horse that year at the Young Horse Championships.

Bugatti Hilltop
Bugatti Hilltop

Natalie DiBerardinis, who had originally worked for the farm in the late 1990’s, returned to Hilltop in early 2007 to take up the reins in the Breeding Department.  The goal for the stallions became a balanced approach to competing and breeding, with the high expectation that our stallions be successful on both fronts.  Bugatti Hilltop was brought “home” finally when he was imported in the fall of 2007.  Our Guest Stallion Program was also expanded and popular stallions such as Donarweiss GGF and the sport pony Popeye have greatly added to the line-up for our breeders. 

Every member of the team at Hilltop Farm continues on our mission to provide the very best in our programs, customer service, and always to keep setting a new standard of excellence in our endeavors.   Hilltop-bred and owned horses are making headlines in both the competition arena and the breeding shed and we continue to redefine our own place in the sporthorse industry. We hope you join us in becoming part of Team Hilltop!

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