Lendon Gray contacted us last evening to tell us of the passing of one of America's best known and admired equestrian educator's Jill Hassler-Scoop. The mother of Scott Hassler, Jill Hassler managed Hilltop Farm from 1991-2001, but her contribution to equestrian sport spanned her lifetime.
"For me her greatest of the many contributions she made to the horse world is her marvelous work in educating riding instructors how to be better teachers." said Lendon Gray, who sent us this tribute.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for the newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
That was one of Jill Hassler Scoop’s favorite quotes, as most of you already know. And a philosophy she continued to embrace until yesterday. On the last day of October at 10:30 in the evening Jill peacefully passed away at her beloved home here in Montana. She continued to live every moment to the fullest, and even on Monday morning was thrilled to wake up to the first snowfall of the year. She enjoyed her favorite views of her mountains and river covered in a fresh blanket of white.
Jill has long talked about wanting to die in peace. And she felt strongly that her dream and her passion to produce a happy, comfortable horse working to his potential will continue to spread and be realized with the program she created with so many of you. Jill believes EES and the Balimo Equestrian Training Program are in the capable hands of those who share and will carry on her dreams.
Jill was grateful to all of you for being part of her life; you all inspired her each and every day. Here’s a request from her that some of you may remember, “I ask you to maintain a positive, up-beat, non-judgmental and compassionate attitude towards each other… I ask that when you… think of me to think how lucky I am, how I have had so many opportunities in life and enjoyed life to the fullest and felt that I was productive.”
Jill was also grateful to all of you for respecting her privacy. And she was touched and grateful for the messages and notes and flowers so many of you sent in these last months. She wrote this for all of us, “Death is the end of this life, but it is also the beginning of a new life – so everyone should feel joyous about my death. … I do believe in death as a positive step in the development in man. I believe in reincarnation and I believe in a universal God … my life’s pursuit has been for this meaning in life.”
She did not want a memorial service or a funeral or flowers. Instead, she chose to be cremated, and to have her ashes spread here in the place she loved most. For those who wish to make a donation in her memory, there are two organizations dear to her heart.
J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center
26284 Oso Road
San Juan Capitrano, CA 92675
St. Patrick Hospital and Health Foundation
The Montana Cancer Fund
P.O. Box 4587
Missoula, MT 59806
We also are grateful for all you have given to enrich Jill’s life through the years. And we know, because she was a great teacher and always taught by example, that she wants all of us to follow our dreams, just as she stayed true to hers.
The President of Equestrian Education Inc, the following bio is on her website equestrianeducation.org
Jill was a graduate “B”of the United States Pony Clubs, Inc., with a background in hunters, equitation, dressage and eventing (even a little western!) She has served on the USPC Board of Governors, as a director of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, founder and District Commissioner for the Lanchester and Sunny Hills Pony Clubs, and from 1971 until 1990 offered a Riding for the Handicapped program with the Easter Seal Society of Lancaster County. From 1963 to 1991, Jill owned, managed and taught from Hidden Acres Farm in Quarryville, Pennsylvania. From 1979 – 1991 Jill worked as an international educational consultant. During this same period Jill had a live-in program for teenagers who loved horses but were dealing with a life challenge. From 1991- 2001, Jill managed Hilltop Farm.
Jill has taught many students through their USPC Ratings, as well as National Awards in the AHSA, USDF, and USCTA. Jill’s son, Scott, received his basic training at Hidden Acres Farm, and went on to win many AHSA & USDF National titles on several horses before going to study in Germany with Mr. Herbert Reibbein for two years.