VIP February 16, 1979-November 13, 2002
Hilltop Farm regretfully announces the passing of a wonderful stallion and a real show jumping star. On November 13, 2002, the famous jumping stallion VIP passed away while enjoying a beautiful sunny day in his paddock. At nearly 24-years of age, VIP still came out of his stall each day with the exuberance of a 3-year old! No one would have guessed it would be his last day. VIP had a heart attack in his field and died very suddenly. Just moments before, he was enjoying his usual gallop through his paddock, gesturing to all that he was still "King of the Hill!"
VIP enjoyed a wonderful life as a show jumper under Steve Stephens and Debbie Dolan. As a 7-year old under Steve Stephens, VIP won the AGPA Championships, one of the youngest horses in the history of the sport at that time to win such a prestigious event. He continued on under Debbie Dolan to an international career as a show jumper.
1987 -- CSIO Spruce Meadows, Calgary Nations Cup
1987 -- CSIO Royal International, Toronto Nations Cup
1988 -- CSIO Mexico, Nations Cup (2nd place)
1989 -- CSIO Rome, Nations Cup
1989 -- CSIO Hickstead, England Nations Cup (2nd place)
1989 -- Grand Prix of Aachen -(3rd place)
1990 -- US World Equestrian Games Trials, Overall Best Score
1990-1991 -- Volvo East Coast World Cup League
1992 -- I Love New York Grand Prix
When VIP was retired from sport, he came to live at Hilltop Farm. We were blessed with many years of his exuberant expression and playful personality. We are grateful for VIP's offspring who are growing up in our fields and happy for those breeders who took advantage of his wonderful influence while he was with us.
Ten weeks following a surgery that was intended to prolong and sustain the quality of life for the 19-year old Holsteiner stallion, Hilltop Farm lost their founding sire Cabaret on October 28, 1999. An arthrocentesis was performed on the right front fetlock of the stallion in order to" fuse" the fetlock and create relief for a failing suspensory apparatus.
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.
Hilltop Articles & Interviews
A Sport Horse Handler, whether at a show, inspection or exhibition, constantly strives for that 'magical moment' as he guides a horse in hand around the arena, often negotiating a large triangle formed from flower pots and jump poles. Together the two lift off and eat up the ground, matching stride for stride -- the horse seeming to float, to collect and extend on his own, all in perfect rhythm. The handler is as discreet as possible so that all attention focuses on the horse looking his best.
Whether you are learning about showing your horse in hand or just looking for some tips, this excerpt from the 2015 USDF Sport Horse Breeders/Handlers Seminar is for you – Showing Sport Horses In Hand with Michael Bragdell.