18-year-old Summer Hill’s earliest memories as a child are of horses, and she wouldn’t want it any other way. Her 14 years of riding and dedication to the sport have paid off during her first year as an Amateur: With the acceptance of an exciting overseas working student position and a very successful circuit at the WEC in Ohio, Summer and her own Johnny B Good have an exciting future ahead of them.
Summer grew up and resided in San Diego, California until two years ago when her family relocated to Lexington, Kentucky. She began showing in the Walk/Trot at the young age of four. Her mother, a trainer, has always had her on the fast track to become a competitive rider. As a Junior, Summer rode in the Equitation with Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farms. Now that she is an Amateur, Summer trains with her mother, Andrea Simpson, and is focusing all of her attention on the horses, increasing her riding skills, and developing further education on the industry as a whole.
Summer and her horse Johnny (right) celebrating with friends at the WEC. Photo by Samantha Hill
2017 has been kind to Summer and her 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Johnny B Good (by Numero Uno). The pair joined up two years ago and Summer describes it as the best two years of her life. “Aside from being a top show horse, he is my best friend.” While they are extremely close, others cautioned Summer not to get her hopes up too high early in their partnership. “Johnny is a very tricky horse, who goes around for very few riders. When I tried him I was told ‘not to be offended if he would not jump for me’. But from the very first ride, I was just the kid he had been searching for! He loves me, and I him,” she said as she recollected their time together.
The pair share a lot in common, according to Summer. She loves to socialize and meet new people and Johnny doesn’t mind the attention from strangers. “He is personality plus. There isn’t a person around the shows who doesn’t fall in love with him after spending just a few moments with him. He collects fans and friends everywhere he goes.”
Johnny, relaxing at the show and showing off his personality. Photo by Summer Hill
That bond the two share has definitely helped them to excel in the Jumper ring. When asked about her reflections on their season so far, Summer shared this with Jumper Nation: “It feels great to be so consistent at such a high level of the sport. I have put in a lot of time and training to get where I am right now, so to have it pay off feels great.” And paid off it has- Summer and Johnny swept the class in the WEC $25,000 Grand Prix not once, not twice, but three times. They have also won several of the Open Welcome 1.40m classes at the WEC.
Sailing through their class with ease. Photo by Samantha Hill
With her goal of becoming a professional in mind, Summer will be flying out to Germany in May to serve as a working student for Rolf Göran Bengtsson and Bo Kristoffersen. “It will be a wonderful learning experience and I plan to advance my riding as much as humanly possible. I will be there for three months to start, but sleeping on how it’s going, who knows how long I will stay for!” said Summer. Initially, Summer will go to Germany without Johnny but if she decides to stay longer he will also make the trip abroad to be with her.
A strong partnership and lots of experience — both in and out of the saddle — will take you far in the horse world and Summer Hill is setting herself up for success in the best ways possible. With ambition, hard work, and her horse of a lifetime, Summer will definitely be a rider to follow during her journey to professional status. We at Jumper Nation wish her the best in her career and safe travels to Germany as she takes the next step in making her dreams come true!