Hilltop Farm Welcomes a New Assistant Trainer
It’s an official welcome! Hilltop Farm has hired a new Assistant Trainer – Jessica Fay. Originally from Maine, Jessica grew up with horses on her family’s small warmblood breeding farm. Jessica raised, started, and sold a number of young homebreds. As a teen she competed in lower level eventing and show jumping.
Jessica originally joined the Hilltop team for a year and a half in 2006 as a working student with Michael Bragdell. It was here that she developed her love of dressage and confirmed her desire to continue starting, training and developing young horses. After completing her Bachelors in Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts Jessica spent the summer of 2011 working again with Michael and with Chris Hickey. She returned to UMass that fall where she entered the Masters Program in Kinesiology. During this time she continued to train her homebred Oldenburg mare, Veraki (by Riverman) and rode at Brenna Kucinski’s farm. In the summer of 2013 Jessica successfully made her FEI debut aboard Brenna’s wonderful Pan-Am winner Regent. Jessica then had the opportunity to further her training abilities by working as the assistant trainer/barn manager for Grand Prix trainer and competitor, Sharon McCusker. With Sharon’s support Jessica finished her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals aboard her own mare, Veraki, in 2014.
Jessica has now completed her Masters Program at UMASS and returns to Hilltop as our new Assistant Trainer. Her passion for young horse education, and her knowledge of kinesiology provide a unique foundation for developing today’s sporthorses.
The influence of a stallion is marked not only by the stallion's success but most importantly by the success of his offspring. Riverman's (Redfort x Alexis III/Landego) offspring set him apart as truly an exceptional sire as they continue to excel in the dressage, eventing, hunter, and jumper rings at all levels of competition.
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.
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.
Wisconsin breeders work on one foal at a time. Shannon (a competitive dressage rider) and Doug Langer, DVD, (a partner of the Wisconsin Equine Clinic and Hospital) have bred Hanoverians for 10 years at their Maple Run Farm in Helenville, Wisconsin. They arrived on the international stage when their homebred Cabana Boy represented the United States at the 2007 World Young Horse Championships.