Hemmingway & Qredit on Top at the USEF National Championships
The Lamplight Equestrian Center showgrounds were an exceptional stage for the USEF Young Horse National Championships this past weekend and we could not be happier with the performances of Hemmingway (Hofrat - Archipel) and Qredit Hilltop (Quaterback - Dream of Glory). These two US-bred stallions put in solid performances in the warm-up class, but really stepped up in the Four-Year Old Championship class with some of their best tests to-date and they finished being named Champion and Reserve Champion for the USEF Four-Year Old division. Hemmingway, owned by Rock Solid Warmbloods, bred by Angela Barilar, and ridden by Michael Bragdell, earned an overall score of 8.26 and high praise from the judges including "you make us forget we are watching a 4-year old".
Qredit, owned by Hilltop Farm, bred by Judy Yancey, and ridden by Christopher Hickey, gave Hemmingway and Michael a run for their money finishing closely behind them with an overall score of 8.22. To develop both of these horses from youngsters to the National Championships is a wonderful feeling and just the start of their success as both performance horses and breeding stallions.
Also in the 4-Year Old Championship, Dilona (Lord Leatherdale - Kennedy) and Anna Marek took third place with an excellent score of 8.2. Dilona's sire Lord Leatherdale joined Hilltop Farm's International Stallion program in 2011 and we are very excited to see some of his older offspring now competing in the United States. In the 5-Year Old Championship Boccaccio IOF (Bugatti - Rubinstein I) finished in 5th place. Boccaccio is owned by Marchella Richardson and was bred by Hilltop Farm and started by Michael Bragdell. Calimar (Contucci - Martini), another US-bred representative, earned an 8th place finish in the Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship. It is especially rewarding to see Calimar, owned and ridden by Claire Darnell, succeeding at this level. Claire started Calimar as a junior rider and has brought him successfully up the ranks, including competing in the USEF Intermediaire I Championships last year.
Once again we made the long drive out to the beautiful Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL for the Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships. Michael qualified two horses for the Championships this year.
The favorites going into this year's Markel/USEF National Championship, Chris Hickey and Cabana Boy didn't disappoint. After awarding a "9" on submission, judge Hilda Gurney said, “Our general impression, of course, is that he has super talent for collection and for the FEI.
Hilltop Articles & Interviews
For many Warmblood enthusiasts, just the mention of the famous stallion Riverman is enough to send chills down their spines. The stunning grey Holsteiner, who currently stands at stud at Hilltop Farm in Colora, Maryland, was the Reserve Champion at his stallion licensing, and was a Verband stallion in Germany for the first part of his life.
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.