West Palm Beach, Florida – On the drive to Florida from Alabama, riders Debra Hill, Suzi Jennings and Caroline Humphries joked that being from Alabama just might disqualify them from competing among the Palm Beach/Wellington show crowd. But at the Wellington Classic SpringChallenge, held Feb. 16-17, they did their state proud.
"We feel that we represented Alabama pretty well," Hill said. And so they did. With both Brocken and River Side Lady, Hill consistently scored in the 70s. Her working student, Caroline Humphries, riding Ballina, earned the Third Level scores she needed to gain her USDF Bronze Medal at the show and her friend, Jennings, riding Tagustus, consistently placed in Third Level.
"We had a great time," Hill said. "We’re all just thrilled." The three friends traveled to Florida from their Huntsville, Alabama base with five horses for three weeks of showing in Florida. Hill has an eight-year-old son so she can’t be away from home long. "This was just a three week trip," she said.
The trio are heading back to Alabama at the end of February, but are already thinking of making a return trip later in March for a bit more showing. They took two days to make the trip, stopping along the way in Wellborn, Florida at Hanoverian Hof farm, owned by Ellinwood and Uwe Migeel, who also own Brocken.
The Migeels bred Brocken, a seven-year-old Hanoverian mare, at their farm and the mare has been in training with Hill since the age of three. Along the way, she’s racked up a number of championships and reserve championships. "She’s schooling Fourth Level and she’s for sale," Hill said. At Third Level, the mare is consistently hitting the 70 percent range.
River Side Lady is a five-year-old Hanoverian mare by Royal Diamond that is owned by Robbie Rice. Rice and Hill share the ride on the on mare. "She was third in the National Young Horse Championships last year," Hill said.
She’s aiming for the Young Horse Championships again this year and the pair if off to a good start. At the Wellington Classic Dressage, they scored a 77.60 percent in the FEI Test for Five-Year-Old Horses. "I’m really, really happy with both mares," Hill said.