John McConnell – Hillcroft II

With 35 years of experience, Hillcroft II and John McConnell, are dedicated to helping take you and your horse to the next level, both in training and in the show arena, with an honest, fun, and creative approach. We train riders from beginning levels to Grand Prix and FEI with private and individual attention for all your needs.

 

 

John McConnell has been teaching and competing for over thirty-five years. His successes include thirty plus Grand Prix wins, a seventh place finish at the World Cup in Paris, France, a Nations Cup win in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and many placings in the FEI World Cup Qualifiers. He has also shown in Mexico and Canada. He was Chef D’Equipe for the Young Rider’s team in South Africa and here in the U.S.A., bringing along many students and horses from beginning to Grand Prix and FEI levels.

A few of our students’ recent accomplishments include:

 

 

Kristina Matthews and Neolisto van het Mierenhof 2017 Zone 8 AA Jumper Champions, USEF/CHJA AA Jumper of the Year, 2017 Colorado Summer Circuit AA Jumper Circuit Champions, 2017 Sportswomen of Colorado Outstanding Achievement Award in Equestrian Sport.

 

 

Katie Gualtieri and Castalano top placing in every Grand Prix and Welcome Stake entered in 2017. Over $65,000 in prize money won during the 2017 Summer in the Rockies Circuit and 2017 USEF/CHJA Horse of the Year.

 

 

Isabel Johnson and Carpe Diem top placings in U25 Grand Prix and 2017 Reserve Champion USEF Zone 8 High A/O Jumpers.

 

 

Shala McConnell and Southern Eyes top placing and multiple classic wins in the Low A/O Jumpers and 2018 Low A/O Champion Week 6 HITS Coachella Desert Circuit.

 

 

 

Our Premier Equestrian Facility, Castle Cliff Farms, is situated 20 miles south of Denver, Colorado and 5 miles north of Castle Rock, Colorado, adjacent to Castle Pines. 

Our boarding facilities include: 

• 29 12’x12′ heated indoor stalls

• 2 12’x16′ heated indoor stalls

• 100′ x 200′ indoor arena

• 200′ x 300′ outdoor arena

• Seven 4 acre grass pasture turnouts

• 20′ x 40′ tack room for boarders

• 5 wash stalls

• dressing room and restrooms 

 

 

Horse boarding rates include feed twice daily, turnout for 2.5 hours/day, stalls are cleaned twice a day, night check at 9 pm, timed automatic fly sprayer and automatic waters. Blanketing is provided when weather requires.

 

 

John McConnell and Hillcroft II are now accepting clients for the upcoming 2018 Show Season. Please contact John at 303-884-3269 or visit Hillcroft II.

Roxbury Farm LLC is located in southeast Parker and was purchased and named by Brad and Kathy Coors in 2014 so they could facilitate their family’s ever expanding love for Show Jumping, Polo and Fox Hunting. Together with Glee White’s expert guidance and management, they have created one of the finest training facilities.

 

 

As Glee lives on-site, no detail in management of the farm and the barn goes overlooked and her training program functions smoothly inside this private setting. They enjoy sharing this peaceful and well-appointed farm with others who are dedicated to a comprehensive and competitive program for their Jumpers.

 

 

Amenities include:

  • New footing in indoor and outdoor arenas
  • Show jumps imported from Germany
  • Heated barn aisle
  • Additional heaters in groom stalls and wash rack
  • Newly remodeled and beautifully appointed tack room, office and bathroom
  • Five horse Free-flow Eurociser
  • Large grass paddocks
  • Grass derby field
  • Great trail riding on farm & adjacent open space and trail system
  • Manager lives on-site providing night check
  • Five minutes to Colorado Horse Park
  • Thirty five minutes to Cherry Creek area
  • Farm owned and operated equine transport system

 

 

Now accepting new clients for the upcoming season. Roxbury Farm invites you to take a look at their full-care training facility located in Parker, CO. Glee White, the resident trainer, has taken many students from Pony Finals to the Grand Prix level. Her horses and riders have won WIHS, USET, Maclay and CET Medals. Her students have shared success all over North America including California, Kentucky, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Canada. Please contact Roxbury Farm for more details and information on training and boarding at (505) 603-2252.

 

Kelley Buringa & Ladybird

By: Kristina McCombie

 

No, we’re not talking about the movie! This exceptional mare is bringing home top ribbons in Grand Prix events across the country. Read how she and her rider, Colorado-girl Kelley Buringa became the team to beat.

 

HH: Tell us about your horse, Ladybird:

KB: Ladybird is a soon to be 9 year-old Irish Sport Horse by Lancelot and Farnes Ruby mare. I recently bought her in September of 2017. Around the barn we call her Lady Pajara. The guys love to add a little Spanish to all the horses names.

 

HH: How long have you and Ladybird been a team? How did you find each other?

KB: Ladybird was sent to Matt Cyphert and I by Kyle Timm to sell in February last year.   We started in the 1.20m Jumpers and ended the series in the 1.30m Jumpers. We were trying to sell her as a Junior/Amateur Jumper throughout the year and took her to all the shows. She was very competitive everywhere we went.

 

HH: What do you currently show in?

KB: We currently show at the Grand Prix level across the country.

 

HH: What makes Ladybird such a great addition to your barn?

KB: She has been a great addition to the barn because she always gives it her all! She has the biggest heart and that is so rare to come by.

 

HH: Does Ladybird have any quirks or goofy traits? How is she around the barn?

KB: You could say she is very particular. She chooses people; which is why I decided to buy her myself. We just had a connection from day one and I found myself having the hardest time letting that go. It’s not everyday you find a horse that trusts you completely. Around the barn she thinks she owns the place. She’s definitely a girl!

 

HH: What are your goals for the rest of the year and beyond with Ladybird?

KB: The goals I have for us are to just have fun. I want to be competitive of course, but for me it’s more about bringing this young horse along and showing her how to love her job and seeing what she can accomplish! We were invited as Wildcards for the International of Omaha so we will do our best there, as it will be her biggest debut to date.

 

 

HH: What successes have you shared with Ladybird? Anything in particular you are especially proud of?

KB: Every time we come out of the ring there is something to be proud of her for. But to date, I would say how well she jumped at the Denver Stock Show. We had a rail early, but it was completely my fault. She had never gone in front of a crowd like that before and I was in awe of how far she’s come in such a short time. I feel like we can do anything together!

*Editors Note: Since this interview, Kelley and Ladybird were the winners of the $7,500 Welcome Week 5 of the Gulf Coast Winter Circuit.

 

HH: What do you enjoy most about riding Ladybird?

KB: I’d say my favorite thing about riding her is how smart she is. She’s an athlete and loves to work and learn.

 

 

HH: If Ladybird was a teenager, which table would she sit at in the cafeteria and why?

KB: As a teenager she would be the girl who had her mom call her out at lunch so she could go to the barn and ride!

 

HH: What are Ladybird’s Favorite treats?

KB: I recently introduced Ladybird to the Horse Cannolis and she just can’t get enough! But in my eyes, she deserves whatever she wants.

 

 

All pictures courtesy of Kelley Buringa, Phelps Media and Alison Hartwell.

Spotlight on Jaden Olson – The Golden Girl

 

We asked Colorado girl, Jaden Olson, to tell us a little about herself, her horses, her trainers and what she thinks about going to college in August. Here is what she had to say…

 

Tell us a little about you and your horses…

I am 17 years old and currently a senior at Laurel Springs; an online private high school based in California. I started riding with my mom as soon as I could sit up and I did my first competition when I was four. Presently, I own two wonderful horses who I plan to compete on as I finish out my last year as a junior rider. Clearview is a 10 year old Dutch Warmblood that I show in the equitation division. Clearview is very special to me because my mom and I found him in Europe when he was just six years old with very little experience. Since then, we have worked very hard to become a great team. Conradical, also referred to as Conrad is a 10 year old Holsteiner that I show in the junior hunters. My family bought him when he was a recently imported five year old. Many would say he was not easy to begin with, but now I am able to ride him bareback with a halter and lead rope. Conrad is easily the barn favorite because he has the best personality and really loves his job!

 

How has riding made an impact on other parts of your life?

I would say that riding horses has impacted my life in so many ways. I made the choice to take riding seriously at a very young age. I chose to give up other sports and even a traditional education when I decided to just focus on riding. I did not realize at the time how this would impact my life, but it really has. The positive impact has been the success I have found in the sport, the relationships I have made, the experiences I have gained, and ultimately a college path to take. I would never have wanted to not have the experiences I have had through my junior career. I would also say that it did not have a cost too. My chosen path did leave me without many of the high school experiences of my peers. Some of those good, and some of those bad.

 

 

What is the most important tidbit of advice you’ve learned in a riding lesson?

There are many variables that are out of my control in competition, but if you approach it like you will give every day 100%, you have to be okay with the days it doesn’t go your way. I like to think I am a good competitor due to the fact that I am not afraid to put in the hard work it takes to be prepared and competitive. However, I can appreciate when someone does it better. That makes me come home, reevaluate, and work harder.

One of my coaches Andre Dignelli would always tell me, “Don’t be late!” He would be referring to looking ahead while on course, making a decision and sticking to it. I think this tidbit of advice also crosses into life where I have been taught it is better to be an hour early than a minute late when you have made a commitment to be somewhere.

 

 

 

Is there anything you do or keep with you for luck during a show?

I don’t keep a specific thing with me. However, I am a very spiritual person and I believe God is with me at all times. Before I enter to the ring I give myself the sign of the cross to keep me and my horse safe.

 

Any pre-show rituals?

I prefer to do all of the pre-show prep work on my horses. I feel like this is the best way for me to connect with them and for them to connect with me. Sometimes this is not possible, but I try my hardest to prep my horses myself.

 

 

Favorite way to relax with your horse?

Again, I relax with my horses by being involved in their day to day care and training schedule. I really enjoy the everyday riding and training program of each horse. My way of relaxing with them is spending time with them on a daily basis.

 

What motivates you?

Being prepared motivates me. I know that my competitors are prepared and well polished so I try my best to keep myself and my horses prepared for upcoming competitions.

 

 

What are some goals you have for you and your horse?

My goals have changed this year. I am leaving for college in August so my goal is to try to prepare for college riding the best I can. I hope to enjoy a summer of competition with my horses.

 

Do you do any supplemental activities to stay in shape for riding?

I believe I need to train like an athlete, just like my horses do. I like to do this by circuit training, Barry’s Bootcamp and Orange Theory.

 

What are some of your most recent accomplishments?

Conrad finished 11th in the country in the 3’3 Junior Hunters in 2017. He also placed in every National Derby we entered last year and ended up 3rd in earnings for Zone 8.

I qualified for USET, Washington, Pessoa and Maclay Finals in 2017.

 

 

What are your plans for riding going forward?

I plan to ride for the University of Georgia on their D1 Equestrian Team. I also hope to spend more time in the jumper ring going forward.

 

What are you most excited for about riding in college?

I am excited to be part of the number one D1 Team, but mostly excited about doing something as a team.

 

 

Tell us a little about what trainers you have ridden with and what you have learned from each one?

My most recent trainers have been Michael Dennehy, Harriet Bunker, and Andre Dignelli. Michael taught me that you have to believe in yourself and not worry about what others say about you or label you as. He taught me the person most responsible for your success is yourself. Michael works extremely hard and I like to believe he helped instill a very hard work ethic in me. Harriet is my current trainer and someone I look up to as an excellent horsewoman. Harriet has a way of connecting with horses like no other person I have met. She reads horses very well and is able to help me understand my horses on a deeper level. Harriet respects me as a rider and has taught me to be confident in my own capabilities. Andre has helped to teach me about competing at a high level and putting finishing touches on myself and my horses. Andre has a perfectionist personality and I believe he has taught me to try to perfect my riding.

 

HH Ambassador

Brody Patton – Colorado Springs, CO

Brody is our youngest HH Ambassador at only 8 years of age. He is in the 3rd grade at Antelope Trails Elementary School in Colorado Springs, CO. Brody has two medium ponies named Just Push Play and Abby Lane. He is active in IEA and loves to horse show in Colorado. He rides with Karen Patton at Lilly Wood Show Stables. Brody also enjoys playing soccer and is a talented gymnast. Look for Brody this summer!