In 2003 Natalie Hamilton went to Europe to groom for her long time trainer, David Wightman who was participating in the FEI World Dressage Young Horse Championships in Verden. Little did she know she was about to not only bring a new horse back to the USA, but a new husband as well.
Based at David Wightman and Kathleen Raine’s dressage trainer and mentor Johan Hinnemann’s farm in Germany, Natalie met her husband Johann’s son, Stephan. “After Verden Christine Traurig helped me find my new horse, and I stayed on at Hinnemann’s to train. Stephan was very caring and helped me through the language barrier. Then he got sick, and I helped take care of him. Then we started dating.”
Natalie’s roots were in Minnesota where she began her dressage foundation training at Brandywine Farm owned by William Solynties and Lloyd Landkammer, showing from in-hand breed classes and eventually to Grand Prix. After Natalie and Stephan were married they moved to Minnesota to start their business and family together. “We settled in MN because my family was there, but funny thing, after one year there, they moved away.”
Natalie has travelled and trained for over 9 years with Wightman and Raine at Adventure Farm’s beautiful location in Murrieta, California. She was admittedly in love with California, but more in love with her new husband who preferred Minnesota. Their breeding, training and sales business thrived, working closely with Joh, who visited the USA frequently to coach, clinic, and who also arranged for the import of fabulous horses from Germany.
“I have always wanted to be back in California but Stephan didn't have any desire to be there. I kept telling him he has to come see where David and Kathleen and how wonderful it is.” But on a trip to visit his father while he was coaching at Adventure Farms, Stephan was convinced and started looking for property with his father.
“It just all fell into place,” said Natalie of the move in early 2014. “ Now we are out of the cold MN and German winters, close to David and Kathleen who are like family. We have a base for Joh to come and teach on our own farm where we are with friends and family, work hard and have fun together. “
The couple has always had a hand in breeding their own Hanoverians, and has several young ones of their own in training and competition. One of their “homebreds” recently qualified and competed near their mid west turf at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships. Benettona (by Benetton Dream out of Pow Wow by Pik Solo) ridden by Adam Steffens one of Natalie’s former students.
Hamilton-Hinnemann and Dark Dream by Dream of Glory Top Six-Year-Old Division at the USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Central Selection Trial in 2005, just one of many of her career highlights.
Natalie travels on a regular basis doing clinics in Minneapolis, MN and Sioux, Falls SD, along with managing their boarding, training and breeding and sales operation at Hinnemann Farms LLC, Murietta, California.