Hilary has extensive and diverse competition experience ... she has ridden at the FEI level for 15 years and sat in the judge's box for hundred of hours. She is a USDF Silver and Bronze medalist and has taken students and horses to countless wins in the show ring. She coached the Young Rider CBLM First Level Champion and Training Level Reserve Champion. As a competitor, Hilary continues to qualify horses for year-end championships through the FEI. Before becoming a professional, she was one of the few Young Riders to have simultaneously competed at the NAJYRC level in both dressage and eventing. She also rode for Mount Holyoke College's National Championship Intercollegiate Dressage Team. She currently serves as the PVDA's chef d'equipe at the USDF Region 1 Youth Team Championships each year.
Hilary has an advanced technical knowledge of dressage ... she was hired as Dressage Today's contributing editor for her ability to write complex training articles, graduated from the USDF "L" Education Program, completed all of the USDF Instructor's Certification workshops on longeing, teaching and training, and has 16 years of almost daily training from green to Grand Prix under the supervision of dressage instructors. She participated at the USDF/USEF Advanced Young Rider Graduate Program and was later invited to attend as a guest speaker. She was recognized for her commitment to developing her education when she was named a recipient of the Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund.
Hilary has extensive knowledge of elite horse care ... she has spent almost every day working with horses over the past 24 years, when she took her first working student position as a nine year old. She later groomed for a trainer and her string of Grand Prix horses, before becoming the barn's assistant barn manager as a teenager. Hilary was involved with the wellness center the facility hosted and interacted weekly with elite veterinarians, farriers, dentists, holistic practitioners and saddle fitters. She now owns and operates Alsikkan Farm in Germantown, Maryland, and was responsible for the facility's extensive renovations to suit the needs of all of the horses on the property.
Hilary has developed her communication and teaching skills to the highest professional standards ... whether it is guiding a student through their first leg yield or explaining how to prepare for your first regional championships, she has always believed that being an effective dressage instructor is in the name: 50% dressage and 50% instructor. In her 16 years as a trainer, Hilary has also completed over 100 hours of training in the art of teaching while working as an elite tutor at the Princeton Review. She took countless classes on communication theory and practice during her Master's work at the University of Maryland's school of journalism. She honed her assessment/communication skills in the dressage arena when she completed the USDF Instructor's Certification workshops and "L" Education Program.
Hilary is passionate about dressage ... she competes, trains, instructs, writes and judges because she loves the sport. That is why she serves on the Executive Board of The Dressage Foundation, spent three years as a PVDA board member, volunteered as media chair for the PVDA Ride for Life, frequently donates lessons to charitable silent auctions, offers to teach and judge Pony Clubs, and owns horses. If this were not her job, she would be doing it anyway. From the long-term partnerships she forms with her horses to the close relationships she forms with her students, this is Hilary's career, not her job.
Influential Clinicians: Steffen Peters, Scott Hassler, Debbie McDonald, Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg, Christoph Hess, Susanne von Dietze, Anne Gribbons, Shannon Dueck, Todd Flettrich, Nicole Uphoff-Selke, Gunnar Ostegaard, Jimmy Wofford, David O'Connor, Lois Yukins, Gary Rockwell, Janet Foy, Sandy Howard, Lendon Gray, Melanie Tenney, Felicitas von Neumann-Cosel
Outside the barn...
Hilary holds her B.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College, with a year of coursework at Amherst College. Not only a rider, Hilary is a also freelance journalist and graphic designer. She was the 2006 Eleanor Merrill Fellow, awarded for graduate coursework in Journalism at the Philip Merrill School, the University of Maryland, College Park. She has written for Dressage Today, Equine.com, the PVDA newsletter and several publications owned by the Washington Post Corp. while on staff there.
When not riding or writing, Hilary enjoys volunteering... a lot.
She has acted as assistant chair for the Dancing Horse Challenge since its creation at the PVDA Ride for Life to benefit the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Center, Committee Chair for local events to benefit the equestrian community and Demonstration Rider for educational dressage clinics.
Hilary regularly donates her graphic design skills to silent auctions, including: the PVDA, Holly Bergay and many therapeutic riding programs around the country.
Life would not be complete without travel. Both of her parents live abroad and Hilary makes it a point to go overseas at least once a year. She has cantered through the rainforests of Belize and schooled the piaffe in Germany, always making a point of noting the barn's architecture and local horse-keeping secret.
From Top Left:
Adding a little sparkle to Socrates, 2007 PVDA Ride for Life.
USDF Young Rider Graduates in Florida, January 2008.
Visiting with Francis Ford Copolla's yearlings after a hack.
Hilary's dog, Ty, is very small... much smaller than a horse. However, pictures prove that he has ridden an 18h FEI horse (Degas).
Hilary and her mom, Elaine, sailing in the Grenadines with the rest of the family. Each year the women of the family "forget" how to sail, while brother, Justin, is forced to pilot the boat almost single-handedly.
Visiting the Panda baby at the National Zoo, after volunteering as an overnight "babysitter" for pregnant mommy panda.
In the co-pilot's seat.
Passing the USDF Instructor's Workshop - Advanced Lungeing of the Horse and Rider.
Vaulting with Francie Dougherty, aboard Goldie -- with the PVDA Sugarloaf Chapter's Book Club.