A native of Westhampton Massachusetts, Chris rode in the 1988 and 1989 North American Young Rider Championships on the Region 8 Dressage Team. He qualified for the 1994 Olympic Festival and the selection trials for the 1995 Pan American Games. Chris has shown several horses successfully at the FEI levels, both in the United States and in Germany, often earning scores in excess of 70%. Chris has studied with some of the best in the field, including American Olympians Lendon Gray, Robert Dover and Sue Blinks, and Lilo Fore. He has also ridden in Germany with both Conrad Schumacher and Ulla Salzgeber and he continues to train with Ulla Salzgeber on a regular basis.
|Photo by Megan Nichols|
Chris passes what he’s learned along to his students, who have been highly successful as well. His students have won many USDF Regional Championship titles from training level through the FEI levels, their USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals, and many USDF Year-End Awards. In addition to teaching at home, Chris is on the Faculty for the USDF Certified Instructor program and regularly gives clinics.
Christopher Hickey joined the Hilltop team in January 2007. During the 2007 season he continued to build on a long and successful competitive career, earning the U.S. Intermediaire I Championship and the Pan American Games Dressage team and individual gold medals with Brenna Kucinski’s Regent, a horse Chris selected as a four year old and has trained through his entire competitive career. With Hilltop Farm’s Cabana Boy, earned a trip to the World Breeders Championships for Young Horses in Verden, Germany that same summer. Chris and Cabana Boy have since won three consecutive National Championships and have proven that they are one of the most talented up-and-coming teams in the U.S.
Chris spends the winter competition season (December - March) in Wellington, Florida. He travels to Maryland monthly during the winter and is in residence at Hilltop for the rest of the year.
Michael is originally from Gothenburg, Sweden. While in Sweden, Michael worked several years at a riding school, serving as an instructor and member of the show jumping team. He continued his riding education in England where he trained and showed young horses for Gustavii Stud. In 1995, Michael joined the Hilltop Team, where he now holds the position of trainer and professional handler. Over the years he has presented numerous stallions and over 500 mares and foals at different breed registry inspections. Michael has handled hundreds of horses at breed shows around the country and frequently presents in the championship classes.
|Photo by Megan Nichols|
In 2005, the major task of young horse backing at Hilltop Farm was placed in Michael’s competent hands. Michael has a special gift with starting and developing young horses. Michael’s youngsters are known for being forward, light and confident. Michael believes in keeping the work interesting for the young horse to ensure they stay fresh and happy throughout their career. Three of the youngsters that Michael has started at Hilltop have gone on to wins in the USEF/Markel Young Horse National Championships - BW-Callista (2006), Cabana Boy (2007, 2008, & 2009), and Selten-HW (2008 & 2009).
In 2008, Michael captured his first National Championship aboard Selten-HW in the FEI Four-Year Old division. Michael also has the pleasure of showing Hilltop's stallion, Royal Prince. Together they have earned Michael his USDF Bronze Medal, two Reserve Championships at the BLM Finals, and the 2009 USDF Region 1 Reserve Championship at Fourth Level.
Michael is in residence at Hilltop year-round.