Laura Hightower

Laura Hightower’s fascination with horses began at 3 yrs of age on her families’ farm where her father purchased and retrained “rogue” horses. Laura would watch for hours, along with some local cowboys, as her father would calm and ride the most anxious and fearful horses imaginable. This was  before the time of the highly publicized “Natural Horsemanship” trend, Laura’s father simply called his methods “Horsemanship”.

Laura actually started riding at the age of 3, sitting on horses her father had trained as she watched him do his work. When she was 8, her father decided English riding lessons were important, so she began taking jumping lessons and has been “hooked’, ever since. After Eventing for a few years, Laura showed Hunters and Jumpers, for the most part, riding problem horses which belonged to other people. Like her father, Laura really enjoyed working with green horses and re-schooling horses that have behavioral problems. As an amateur, Laura bought, trained and sold un-broke horses. She also showed these horses, but she was primarily interested in furthering her equine education with a strong emphasis in Dressage. Training with Kalman de Jurenak, Robert Chissus and Victoria Maeckle.

While living in England, Laura rode for Grand Prix rider and business woman Penny Cornish. Doing all of the flatwork and schooling over fences, at home. While riding at Penny’s Laura was privileged to ride some fantastic show jumpers,  belonging to Harvey Smith, David Broome and Robert Smith, including the great show jumper, Pavarotti.

In 1993, Laura was asked if she would be interested in relinquishing her amateur status to begin teaching and riding professionally at the Las Colinas Equestrian Center in Irving, Texas. She began teaching beginners, quickly growing her lesson business from 5 lessons per week, to more than 75 lessons per week, in six months time. Laura believes she learned as much about horses during the 2 years of her intense teaching schedule at Las Colinas, as in all of her previous years with horses.

In 1996 Laura opened Summer Hill Farms, primarily breaking and training young horses, re-schooling problem horses and teaching a few beginning riders. Her business has evolved into a successful show barn, with her horses and riders competing in all levels of showing from Short Stirrup to Grand Prix, Hunters as well as Jumpers, winning many year end State, Zone and National Awards. Summer Hill Farms has also become a successful sale barn, with Laura having a knack for matching horse and rider. Laura attributes her clients success in the show ring to her determination to adhere to the fundamentals of classical horsemanship and attention to detail.

Laura does most of the teaching at Summer Hill and still does quite a bit of the riding and training at home. Laura does some showing of the green horses, but leaves most of the showing to her daughter and partner in Summer Hill Farms, Jordan Gilchrist.



Champion Rider Jordan Siegel Makes History in SCAD Equestrian Program (Savannah College of Art and Design SCAD)

Jordan Siegel is no ordinary student athlete. Since her arrival at the Savannah College of Art and Design, she has achieved success and national recognition as a SCAD athlete and she has been one of the most successful riders in the history of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Through her many national titles, Siegel has brought a great deal of publicity to the college — all while pursuing a B.F.A. degree in media and performing arts.

At the Affiliated National Riding Commission’s National Intercollegiate Riding Championships this spring, Siegel captured the individual title for the second consecutive season and for the third time in the past four years. In 2003, she was the first freshman ever to win a national individual championship at the ANRC. Since her freshman year, Siegel won the IHSA Regional Cacchione Cup four times and was the National Individual Championship winner three times.

In addition, Siegel was chosen four times to compete for the United States Equestrian Team. She competed at the 2003 Nations Cup in Mechelen, Belgium, the 2005 Nations Cup in Casorate Sempione, Italy, the 2006 Nations Cup in La Rochelle, France, and was one of only four riders chosen from the United States to participate in the 2004 World University Equestrian Championship in Japan.

Siegel credits her success to her dedication, hard work and childhood riding experience. As the daughter of a horse trainer and equestrian coach in Flower Mound, Texas, Siegel quickly developed a passion for horses. Beginning at 7 years of age, she rode whenever she had the opportunity, simply out of love of horses. “If there was a horse that people said had a problem or was difficult, that’s what I would ride and try to get something out of that horse,” she said.

In addition to Siegel’s interest in SCAD’s performing arts program, she chose SCAD because of the equestrian program and the competition opportunities. “I had been approached by other schools, but SCAD had a lot more to offer in the realm of horseback riding,” she said.

Despite her previous training, Siegel noted that the SCAD equestrian program helped her mature as a rider in the show ring. She enjoyed the new aspect of competing with a team since she previously had competed only as an individual. “I think that winning ANRC this past spring was the most rewarding moment, since I really wanted our team to win, and I also wanted to win the championship a third time.” Both goals were accomplished, but the competition for Siegel was bittersweet as it marked the end of her collegiate riding career.

Though Siegel graduated from SCAD in June with a B.F.A. in media and performing arts, she will continue to be an inspiration to the equestrian team. She plans on competing as an amateur for a few years before pursuing professional horseback riding. She also plans on acquiring a judging license so that she will be able to judge competitions.

Because of Siegel’s success on the SCAD equestrian team and her positive representation of the college nationally and internationally, SCAD has named a scholarship on her behalf. The Jordan Siegel Scholarship is a $500 admission scholarship that will be given to an incoming freshman who will be a member of the SCAD equestrian team. With the assistance of this scholarship, motivated students like Jordan Siegel will have the opportunity to achieve their dreams both academically and athletically.



Summer Hill - Assistant Trainers





  Grace Crampton - Assistant Trainer/Horse Manager    
   Megan Green  - Assistant Trainer

1757 Bridle Bit Road, Flower Mound, TX   75022  817-875-9082

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