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.
Devon is one of our favorite shows and we always look forward to catching up with other breeders, owners, and friends at this historic show. A large group of horses joined us from Hilltop’s Raising Department and Devon Prep Program making this year’s Devon especially busy for Team Hilltop.
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.
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.