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User profile: Platinum02

Joined: Aug. 15, 2011

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Location: Santa Ynez, CA

Biography: Staci has dedicated her life to understanding, training, and learning from horses. She has focused her life learning from all arenas of horsemanship to refine her practice in not only the training and understanding of her horses but also in the healing arts for the equine.

Staci started out at six years old, as many young equine enthusiasts, by riding all the horses in the neighborhood and cleaning all the stalls and doing the “chores” for the exchange of riding privileges and lessons. This lifestyle was a great education for Staci in which she quickly learned the amount of responsibility and dedication necessary to properly care and own a horse. She also learned the invaluable lesson of having a great work ethic.

In Staci’s early twenties, she had the opportunity to go to work as a groom for her all time mentor, Ian Millar of Canada.

Starting out as a groom for Ian, Staci worked with many of the Children and Adult/Amateur clients as their personal groom at various shows. As time went on Ian noticed Staci’s work ethic and drive to succeed. Over time Ian granted Staci the privilege of working with one of the Children’s Jumpers that he had in training. She was in need of physio-therapy and a strict but forgiving work routine that allowed her to recover but build muscle and stamina at the same time. This privilege was granted with one catch…the work must be done after hours. So needless to say, Staci took the opportunity and began to ride and work with this wonderful little mare. Over time Ian saw the dedication and results of Staci’s efforts.

Soon Staci began grooming for the upper level Jumpers and his daughter’s Grand Prix gelding named Manhattan. When his daughter, Amy Miller, went off to college, Ian granted Staci the opportunity to ride/work Manhattan on a daily basis. This then grew into more and more rides and opportunities.

One day Ian called Staci into the arena in which he was riding his great mount Big Ben. Upon Staci’s arrival to the arena Ian rode Ben to the mounting block, dismounted, and to Staci’s great shock, Ian told her to get on. Staci got on Ben and Ian instructed her to walk Ben for 20 minutes. That was the last time that Ian was to ride Big Ben. From that day forward, Staci rode Ben for his daily workout and for the next five years Staci and Big Ben developed an unbreakable bond.

Staci and Ben entertained delegates from all over the world of whom traveled just to meet this magnificent ambassador of the Show Jumping world. They also greeted hundreds of fans that would come to the farm for that special picture or the opportunity to pat Ben. Together Staci and Ben got to work very closely with the Make a Wish Foundation and grant several last wishes of terminally ill patients (many being kids) who’s final wishes were to meet Ian and his gentle giant Ben.

Staci was published in The Chronicle in 2005 for an article she wrote in tribute to Big Ben and then that article was later published in a book of short horse stories titled “An Apple a Day”.

In the beginning of Staci’s employment with Millar Brooke she spent a majority of her time heavily touring North America with Ian’s team of show grooms. As Staci’s riding duties expanded, her time on the road quickly reduced and a majority of her time was spent at the farm working with the string of horses that were resting/working at home while the other string was out on the road. During this time Staci had the distinct honor to work and ride some of the best horse in the history of Show Jumping. Horses such as Olympic mounts Mont Cenis and Play It Again. She also rode many other Grand Prix mounts such as Ivar, Future Vision, Roulette, My Girl, Aftershock, Life Guard, and many many more.

As an added bonus, Staci not only received top notch schooling and instruction from both Ian and his wife Lynn, Staci also got to participate in regular schooling sessions with the company of other great riders such as Canadian Olympic rider Jill Henselwood and Canadian World Show Jumping Champion Gail Greenough. Staci was allowed to school horses from the starting them as youngsters through all levels through Grand Prix. This behind the scenes experience has proven to be immeasurable to Staci’s toolbox of knowledge. Staci also earned the privilege of showing some of the lower level horses for the Millars.

As mentioned above, Staci’s riding duties later grew to starting the youngsters that were up and coming and also working with any of the horses that needed rehabilitation. With Ian’s encouragement and guidance Staci learned and became very proficient with such alopathic skills as lazer therapies, acupressure therapies, hydro-therapies, thumper therapies, massage therapies, etc.

After an unfortunate riding accident in the show arena with Ian and his mount Lonesome Dove, Dove received a career ending injury that was so bad the attending veterinarians wanted to euthanize her. With Ian’s love for this mare and knowing that she could overcome this injury so that she could have a proper retirement grazing pain free in a pasture, Ian brought her home to Millar Brooke and turned her rehabilitation over to Staci. There were no expectations for her recovery and the vets did not believe she would ever become weight bearing on that leg again.

With a daily vigilance to this mare, Staci’s efforts combined with Ian and Lynn’s guidance over the next year, Dove was able to do the unthinkable. Dove not only made it back to the state of soundness…Staci got Dove back into the jumping/competition arena. And with that, Dove was eventually sold to a wonderful Children’s Jumper home and she went on to compete and win at many competitions and live out a happy and pain-free life. This is just one example of success stories that Staci was fortunate enough to take part in during her invaluable time at Millar Brooke Farm.

The winter before Staci’s departure from Millar Brooke, Staci took Ian’s horses over to Jill Henselwood’s, Juniper Farms in Oxford Mills, Canada and she spent a few months working not only with Ian’s horses but she got to work with some of Jill’s clientele as well as other such notables as Sandi Patterson (Ben’s original groom) and Jill’s wonderful string of horses. Staci was allowed to teach and train a select number of clients along with her daily grooming duties while Jill and Sandi went to horse shows. It was a wonderful experience to gain insight from other world class caliber trainers and the ever important grooms.

Upon Staci’s departure, Ian gave her some very valuable advice that she still lives by today…1) you can not short cut the minute details on the horses education and physical health and 2) you can not complete your education through one instructor…no matter how good they are. During her time with Ian, he sent her to ride not only with Jill Henselwood, but she also got to train with Gail Greenough and the late Ronnie Mutch.

Since going out on her own Staci continues to expand her education as often as possible. She has spent time schooling with other mentors such as Susie Hutchison and participating in clinics regularly with such notables as Olympic Silver Medalist Greg Best, Jumping Guru George Morris, Kevin Freeman, Joe Fargis, and many more.

After leaving Canada and returning to the United States, Staci spent two years building her own business in the Mid-west and touring the Mid-west and East Coast. With success there Staci decided to move back to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to her family.

In 2006 Staci created her business Prestige Hunters and Jumpers in Enumclaw, WA. Staci had great success with her business with teaching clients, working with all levels of horses from rescues to Grand Prix horses, rehabilitation horses, and buying and selling horses for clients. She had successful track record in the smaller show arenas around Washington. Staci had an even bigger track record with helping with horses that needed all different levels of rehabilitation.

Upon meeting her now friend and mentor Cindy Rackley, Staci was introduced to the world of integrative therapies and vibrational medicines. Staci studied intensely and learned and practiced on a daily basis by applying these techniques not only to her horses, but to herself that allowed her some much needed physical healing. As her knowledge and skill grew, she noticed a huge leap in her horses well being, attitudes, and overall health. Staci also noticed a huge drop in her clients bills when it came to the areas of vet care and supplements due to the fact that the horses were so much happier and healthier they didn’t require so much assistance in these areas.

In 2008 Staci came to the conclusion that if she wanted to reach her goal of competing in the international show arenas under her own name she needed to place her business where the international caliber shows and riders are. So with that decision Staci disbanded Prestige Hunters and helped place all her clients with appropriate trainers in the area before moving herself and her horses to California. Never having been to California before, Staci spent a couple of months in Temecula studying under the instruction of Susie Hutchison. From there Staci moved around to several different facilities and areas over several months until she found her fit.

Now located in Santa Ynez, CA Staci has found her niche and since October 2010 has started building her business Staci Hill Equine Training and Rehabilitation. With several successful horse sales already under her belt since forming her new business and many happy clients Staci has attracted a lovely barn that she leases in which she boards, trains, and rehabilitates horses from all walks of life and levels of achievements. She is excited to be stepping back into the show jumping arena this year, welcoming new clients and their horses into her training program, and to be hosting clinics with some of the top riders from around the world.

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