Hilltop Farm, Inc. is one of the largest sport horse stallion stations in the United States. Shortly after Jane MacElree entered the horse industry she purchased two stallions, Cabaret and Nureyev. Her primary reason for acquiring these stallions was for their development as competition horses but it didn’t take long for the breeding industry to take hold of Mrs. MacElree. In 1989, she purchased 400 acres in Colora, Maryland. It is laden with lush rolling hills, a world renowned training barn, beautiful pastures, and riding trails. Today, many stallions, broodmares, and young horses call Hilltop Farm home. This summer they will celebrate 25 years of business.
What started with two Hilltop Farm owned stallions has now become a facility which houses and/or manages the breeding careers of many stallions. For North America, they market anywhere from 20 – 30 sallions but most do not reside at the farm as some are based in Europe and are only available via frozen semen. However, for cooled semen, they typically have 8 – 12 stallions at the farm during the breeding season. These stallions cover a wide diversity in bloodlines, types and athletic specialties. The variety of stallions allows Hilltop Farm to offer appealing options which meet the needs of many different breeders with a variety of mares and breeding goals. Their lineup consists of not only Hilltop owned stallions but several guest stallions as well. These stallions are: Ampere – Dutch Warmblood, Bugatti – Hanoverian, GK Calucci – Holsteiner, Chippendale – Dutch Warmblood, Contucci – Hanoverian, Doctor Wendell MF – Hanoverian, Don Hill – Hanoverian, Don Principe – Hanoverian, Everdale – Dutch Warmblood, George Clooney – Dutch Warmblood, Glamourdale – Dutch Warmblood, Jaguar Mail – Selle Francais, Lord Leatherdale – Rheinland, Negro – Dutch Warmblood, Netto – Dutch Warmblood, Popeye – Westfalen Pony, Qredit Hilltop – Oldenburg, Quality Touch – Oldenburg, Quite Easy – Holsteiner, Riverman – Holsteiner, Royal Prince – Hanoverian, Sternlicht GGF – Hanoverian, Talisman – Selle Luxembourgeois, Ulmar Mail – Selle Francais, Utrillo Van De Heffinck – Belgian Warmblood, Vallado aka Praise – Dutch Warmblood , and Woodbury’s Harlequin – Sport Pony.
The goal of Hilltop Farm’s breeding program depends on the combination of the mare and stallion. Their offspring have gone on to become successful hunters, jumpers and eventers. However, the current breeding program with their own broodmares is concentrated on breeding for dressage prospects. Natalie DiBerardinis (General Manager and Breeding Manager of Hilltop Farm) said, “Temperament and rideability is of the highest priority – everyone wants the horse that wants to work with you! Correct conformation helps make the work easier for the horses and promotes long-term soundness. Then the quality of movement sets the really special youngsters apart. Most of our mares are 2nd or 3rd generation mares for us so that really helps in making our breeding decisions as we know the whole family!"
Hilltop Farm received the coveted award of USDF Breeder of the Year in 2013. Their stallions, broodmares and offspring have achieved goals of which there are too many to mention. However, their stallions have accomplishments which deserve attention. In 2015, Sternlicht GGF won the USDF National Championships for First Level. Riverman was the 1995 Grand Champion of Dressage at Devon, a 2x USEF Eventing Sire of the Year and 3x winner of the South Pacific Award (highest ranking US-based Show Jumping Sire). Qredit Hilltop (photo left) was named 2009 Grand Champion Dressage at Devon, the 2012 Reserve Champion USEF Young Horse Championship, and the 2012 Champion North American Stallion Performance Test (both overall and gates/rideability section). Last but not least, Royal Prince has been 5x USEF Dressage Breeding Sire of the Year and received a 4th place finish at the 2004 FEI World Championships for Young Horses.
Select Breeders Services (SBS) was located on the Hilltop Farm property in Colora for 18 years until it moved to its current headquarters in 2011. As before their move, SBS still provides all semen services for Hilltop Farm stallions. Natalie said, “We’re fortunate to have such a long-standing relationship with SBS and rely on their expertise in the management of each of our stallions. SBS travels to Hilltop Farm almost daily during the breeding season to handle all of our collections and shipments. Our frozen semen is stored and distributed from their headquarters in Maryland They also provide quality-control testing on all semen that we import from Europe.” Natalie went on to say the following about SBS,
“The professionalism and experience that SBS offers sets them apart within the industry. Our focus can be on our stallions and meeting the needs of mare owners, while SBS handles all of the details related to processing and shipping the semen. Knowing that service is behind us provides a great sense of confidence throughout the breeding season.”
Hilltop Farm offers frozen semen for most all of the stallions in their lineup. They find it very beneficial that the stallions can be collected at the optimal time which does not interfere with their training and competition demands. Natalie said the following about the use of frozen semen for mare owners, “For mare owners, the advantages come through the ability to order semen early and have it waiting for your mare, saving on shipping fees by sending semen from multiple stallions in one tank, and it allows access to stallions that for whatever reason are not available via cooled semen. That said, frozen semen isn’t an option for every breeder and we’re fortunate that SBS also does an excellent job with our cooled semen processing and shipping.”
Photos provided by Hilltop Farm