About Nicole

I have been riding horses since I was two years old and find there isn’t anything more satisfying than a day at the barn. I started riding with Jill Shull at the age of two and had many ribbons in the hunter ring on my little black Farnley pony Tutti Fruity. I became involved in Pony Club and fell in love with Three-day Eventing. This led to a working student position with Bruce Davidson.

After training with Bruce, I took a working student position in Blythewood, SC at Farewell Farm. I also took an opportunity with David O’Brien in Southern Pines. In 2000 I came home and we built Stonehill. I began working exclusively with Buck Davidson, who helped me get my horse, Instant Replay (now retired), up through the levels to Advanced. In 2015, I had the privilege to work for 6-time Olympian and Belgium team rider Karin Donckers.

All of my experiences combined with my degrees in Education and Communications are an integral part of my teaching philosophy. As an educator, instructor and trainer I believe every student and every horse are unique individuals. It’s extremely satisfying to help my students discover how rewarding the relationship with their horse is and develop into responsible horsemen and women. Teaching provides me with the opportunity to continually learn and grow. I hope to instill my love and passion for horses and learning  in my students.

I have trained and lessoned with many top professionals including: Denny Emerson, Bruce Davison Sr. and Jr., Ian Stark, Anne Kursinski, Todd Bryan, Greg Best, Heath Ryan, Kevin Babington, Steve Tibble of the UK, Joe Fargis, Eliza Lehrman and Patrick McGaughan.

I have trained and competed several horses through the levels of eventing, dressage and the hunters and jumpers. I have also bred and sold a few foals, the most outstanding one being Ganymede. Ganymede is a 14.2h conn/tb mare by Ballywhim Au Luan, who is competing successfully at the Intermediate level with owner Nicolette Merle-Smith of Virginia and is currently in California with a young rider.

My Current Horses:

Aracelli (Ary) – 6 yr old GOV mare by Coromino, out of Adagia by Alpenstern. She is a homebred competing BN. She is a beautiful uphill moving mare that is quite scopey. She is the quintessential chestnut mare!

Wilson (Willie) – 7 yr old WB/X gelding by Silvio, out of an appendix/Hanoverian mare. He has had his challenges but is confidently competing novice level ready to move up to training level. He is also doing first and second level dressage. I have raised him from a weanling.

Good Hope (Cappy) – 2 yr. old WB/X by Silvio, out of Africana by Brogan. He is a half- brother to Willie and will be backed lightly next spring.

Benguela (Layla) – weanling WB/X by Silvio, out of Africana by Brogan. She is the sweetest filly.