Hillary has always loved horses; doubtless an inherited trait from her mother and grandparents! Hillary first sat on her mother’s retired event horse at thirteen months and cried when being pried off; the rest is history. Hillary got her first pony, Toby, when she was eighteen months old and was jumping him over logs by the time she was three. By the age of five she was winning ribbons in the Atlanta area hunter rings. Upon moving to North Carolina Hillary immediately joined the local pony club (Yadkin Valley Hounds); and at the age of six began eventing.
While growing up in northwestern North Carolina, Hillary had the opportunity to ride consistently with top riders David O’Brien (for eleven years) and Lauren O’Brien (for six years) as well as in clinics with some the country’s top riders and coaches including Jim Wofford, Kim Severson, Captain Mark Phillips, Phillip Dutton, Lucinda Green, Cindy Rawson, Buck Davidson, and Jim Graham. During her college years Charlie Plumb, Jim Kofford, and Bobby Costello coached her while she competed her two homebred horses, and graduated on the Deans list with honors from Appalachian State University with a major in psychology and a minor in business.
Upon graduation Hillary made the decision to take her riding to the next level, enhancing her overall horsemanship as well as learning the business end of the equine industry. She began a year working for Sharon White, an invaluable experience. While working at Sharon’s Last Frontier Farm Hillary was also able to consistently work with both Jimmy Wofford and Linda Zang in the continuing refinement of her skills. While at Last Frontier she was able to ride and compete many of Sharon’s young up and coming horses, sometimes as many as five in a weekend; a fantastic way to gain knowledge and confidence.
Hillary has competed multiple horses from the 2* rider to Advanced Level. Bringing a horse up from the beginning is what she enjoys the most. She loves the process of working with a horse daily and being an integral part of their growth and success. Hillary continues to learn something new everyday. If you are not willing to learn this is probably not the sport for you! Above all she wants to help each individual rider and horse gain the knowledge that will allow them to truly enjoy, and be successful, at the sport to the utmost of their ability.
ADVANCED LEVEL EVENTER
2017 Virginia CIC2* 12th
2017 Midsouth CCI1* 7th
2017 Bromont CCI2* 10th
2017 Area 8 Champs - Intermediate - 1st
2016 Jockey Club Int. CCI** - 5th
2016 Chatt Hills CIC** - 3rd
2016 Red Hills – Advanced
2015 Retired Racehorse T.P. - 2nd
2015 Midsouth - CCI* 1st
2015 Chatt Hills - CIC** 2nd & 5th
2015 Virginia CIC** - 11th
2015 Pinetop CIC* - 7th
2014 Carolina Int. CIC* - 8th
IN THE PRESS
2018 "Hillary Irwin: Continuing a Thoroughbred Tradition"
2015 Bit of Irish ranked 9th in the USEA Mare of the Year leaderboard
2015 "The Chronicle Staff's 2015 Fair Hill Picks"
2015 "Meet Four Fair Hill First-Timers"
2015 "Thoroughbred Makeover Sneak Peek Wows Crowds at Rolex"
2015 "Hillary Irwin is reaching for the stars"
2012 "A Family Affair"