My family bought our first horse when I was 8 years old. Throughout my High School years, I self taught and researched training horses and broke many horses to ride. After High School I continued to train horses and competed in Barrel Racing, Flags and Poles at Horse Shows. I started college at 22 years old and received and AS Degree from Kirkwood and went on Iowa State to complete Pre-Veterinary Requirements.
My daughter, Carrie, and I worked at Camp Hitaga for the 2005-2008 summer programs. I was the Head Wrangler, writing my own program for the lessons and teaching children riding as well as care and maintenance of horses through classroom instruction and hands on. Carrie was 12 when we started and she did the hands on instruction and riding lessons while I did the classroom instruction. Since Carrie was underage, we had an adult with her at all times, but she did the actual lessons. We provided our own horses for use and built up a herd of 15 horses for the camp. We were contacted by Camp Wapsi after the first year to teach their campers since our program was so successful and very well received. We provided instruction for their riders at our facility on the weeks we were not having camp at Camp Hitaga.
I was interested in purchasing Four Oaks in 2001 when the original owners were selling, but the time wasn’t right. After my daughter and I worked at camp for those 4 years, we continued to give lessons and had a few boarders. The property where we lived was laid out in such a way that we were not able to build an indoor arena, in which we needed so desperately. We also had 6 horses in a 4 stall building and we weren’t able to expand. We had already established our name as Hilltop Ranch because of our training and selling horses, so when we decided to purchase Four Oaks, it seemed necessary to let our name follow us to our new stable. Horses have been my life and my passion and I am fortunate enough to have a daughter with the same love and passion for horses. We never want to stop learning all we can about them. Carrie and I are living our dream and loving every minute of it.