Following a successful inaugural year, The Blenheim EquiSports Young Hunter Program, presented by Brookway Stables, is back this season. The first program of its kind in the country, the program continues to grow. Offering three established age divisions for five, six and seven-year-olds, and a Championship in the fall, up and coming hunters can compete in the division and classic for free. There’s no better place to start a young hunter.
We caught up with Hailey Flowers, owner and head trainer of Flower Hill Farms located in Del Mar, California, to tell us about her newest mount: a 6-year-old Oldenburg named Tinka’s Boy.
Barn Name: Theo
Breeding: Argo x Tinka’s Boy
What quality attracted you to this young horse the most?
Theo has a really great mind and an old soul. I am always impressed with his ability to step off the trailer at a new facility, and head to the ring with no prep. His confidence and quiet manner makes him a very trustworthy horse. Theo is a team player and is always aiming to please.
How does Blenheim’s Young Hunter Series affect your horse’s development?
Blenheim’s Young Hunter Program has been a great opportunity for our young horses to come along at their own pace, in addition to positive miles in the show ring. Financially, the program has allowed us to get the horses comfortable in the ring, and really take the time to make sure they are ready for the next step without breaking the bank.
What is the most rewarding aspect of bringing along a young horse?
There are so many rewarding moments. For me, my proudest moment with Theo would have to be watching him successfully take his owner around the 3’3’’ Junior Hunters during Spring Classic 1. It is such a neat process to be a part of. There is nothing better that having all of the pieces come together to create a horse that genuinely enjoys their job.
Share your favorite exercise for a young horse?
Every horse has their own set of strengths and weaknesses – so I individually tailor the program. Still I feel every horse needs to have solid flatwork foundation. I expect my horses to be educated to my leg, and have an understanding of lengthening and shortening their stride. Adjustability is key.