August 2017 - Hinnemann Farm

Natalie Hinnemann showing Carol Daly’s 2011 Dutch warmblood gelding Genius, by Uphill and bred by Mountain View Sport Horses. First time out at first level at the 2016 Paso Robles show. Photo: Full Tilt Photography - Lesley Stevenson

Training, sales, breeding and young horse development program establishes a revered dressage brand in California.

The Hinnemann name echoes through dressage’s past, present and future. Patriarch Johann Hinnemann’s experience and contributions as a rider, German national team coach, mentor and trainer to many international medalists and breeder make him a living legend of dressage. For most of that time, those seeking his knowledge had to go to him, in Germany.

Stephan with Quigley and Royal Prestige on their way out to their daily turnout. Photo: Sabine Brandt

Today, however, Californians and many more Americans can get first-hand experience with the Hinnemann brand of horsemanship. That’s thanks to Hinnemann Farm, in Riverside County’s Murrieta, where Johan’s son Stephan and his daughter-in-law, Natalie Hamilton-Hinnemann are three years into a training, sales and breeding endeavor that is making its own mark on the sport. Johann is a big part of that in the form of regular visits to give clinics and supplying a steady stream of young horses and sport ponies that are becoming stars in the States.

Kathleen Raine and David Wightman are the third piece of this dressage triumvirate. As owners of Adventure Farms, also in Murrieta, they employed Natalie for four years as a student and groom travelling with them to shows throughout Europe. Kathleen and David have counted Johann a coach and mentor for many years and were based at his Krüsterhof Stables in Voerde, Germany during a European tour in 2003. That’s when Natalie and Stephan met. They later married and moved to the United States, first to Minnesota, where Natalie is from, and eventually to sunnier Southern California.

Stephan, Natalie and Copa Cabana on the farm. Photo: Sabine Brandt

Their 10-acre property has 16 stalls and will likely grow to house more horses soon. “The business is doing really well now and we would like to keep producing and selling really good horses,” says Natalie. Hinnemann Farm’s training clientele include juniors and amateurs, some of whom are targeting national success this year.

Copa Cabana and Natalie schooling in the outdoor arena on their lovely ReitenRight footing. Photo: Sabine Brandt

A USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist, Natalie is Hinnemann Farm’s head trainer. While living in her native Minnesota, she worked for William Solynties and Lloyd Landkammer’s Brandywine Farm, where she campaigned horses ranging from the in-hand breeding classes on up to Grand Prix.

David and Kathleen visit Hinnemann Farm weekly to add their insights. Thus far, Johann has been visiting from Germany for a few months every year, and Natalie says he plans to spend much more time at Hinnemann Farm in the future.

His expected visit in October will likely stretch to a six-month stay starting this year, with lots of time for clinics with existing and new students. Johan hopes to give clinics for USET team riders and is open to events that will share his teaching as broadly as possible.

Stephan, JoJo and Natalie.

The set-up at Hinnemann Farm provides Natalie’s regular students and visiting riders access to multiple layers of high level training. “It’s a great spot to be in because riders can work with whoever they feel most comfortable with,” Natalie says. “We have our personal styles.” Whoever is coaching, the instruction is rooted in Johann’s approach. “I worked for Kathleen and David for a long time, and they’ve worked with Joh for a long time, so the methods he taught us kind of filter down the ladder.”

Stephan and Veltins (Vitalis x Benetton Dream), owned by David Wightman.

As a result, the emphasis with all horses is solid basics with an emphasis on thoroughness. “Making the horses very rideable, trainable, supple and workable in their bodies is a big emphasis for Joh,” she continues.

Show Ring Marketing

Copa Cabana is the furthest along of Natalie’s current string of show horses. She and longtime friend Carol Daly bought the now-8-year old as a 3-month-old. Bred by the small Hanoverian program, Maple Run Farm in Wisconsin, Copa Cabana is by Cantucci and out of a Bordeaux mare and is prepping for the Small Tour ranks.

Natalie is also campaigning Carol’s Genius MVS, bred by Jackie Ahl-Eckhaus of Mountain View Sporthorses in Northern California. At 6, he’s doing very well at Fourth Level and Natalie hopes to move him up to Prix St. Georges next year.  Natalie’s first homebred, the 4-year-old Bravado, by the Hanoverian Benetton Dream and out of one of her own mares, is shaping up as a contender in the Young Horse events starting next year. “We’ve had a lot of fun bringing him along and he is turning out fantastic. We expect big things from him.”

The plan is to continue breeding a few horses every year, using mares in Murrieta or those with Johann in Germany and pairing them with the best suited sires. Those youngsters will add to a pipeline of young horses that arrive regularly from Krüsterhof for development.

Family relative Annika Rühl and JoJo Hinnemann with Hinnemann-bred German Riding Pony, Tom.

Stradiveria (Ferro x Beethoven) and filly, First Kiss (For Romance x Ferro) co-owned by Hinnemann/ Raine-Wightman

Natalie handles the training, riding, coaching and stable management part of the business and Stephan manages the property. Their 11 year old daughter, Josephine, is making her family proud with budding dressage talent and competing her pony in the Dressage Seat Equitation division.

Hinnemann Farm has one full size dressage court and another one, with a cover, is in the works. The program attracts riders from Canada and other colder climes who winter with Natalie, so the ability to ride through the rainy season will be great. More riding time, afterall, means more time for learning, for horses and riders, and Hinnemann Farm is poised to capitalize on that.