The Chronicle of the Horse
Adrienne Hillas calls Luxury Mail her “little brown unicorn”, despite the Selle Français gelding nearly 18 hands. (She didn’t put a stick on him, but he’s definitely fat.)
Turns out the unicorn can really jump, as “Remy” (Jaguar Mail – Aquidam, Quidam De Revel) has taken the lead in the 5 Year Old Championship at Dutta Corp./USEA Young Event Horse Championships – West Coast, held October 24-25 at the Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California.
Tenth after the dressage, they progressed thanks to Remy’s jump, finishing with a score of 88.6.
“I was nervous, but I just thought he would do what he always does, and he did,” said Hillas, 33, of Bell Canyon, Calif. “He gave all the jumps more room, and he was so daring, so confident, he just understood all the questions that were put to him. It couldn’t have been better. He was amazing.
We caught up with Hillas to find out more.
Tell me about Luxury Mail.
I got it when I was 2 at Harrington Horses [in England]. My top level horse at the time didn’t really want to do the top level things anymore, and I was trying to figure out how I was going to afford all of that. I said, “I’ll find out. I still understand it. I’ll just go get the horse and work more.
He got here, and I did almost everything myself. I think he had been supported several times before coming here, but I am the only one who jumped on him. I have worked with him a lot in the field and I take lessons here and there. I’ve had lessons with Hawley Bennett-Awad and Andrea Baxter, but all the work here at home is me and I’m looking for different exercises that are good for young horses. The jump comes very naturally to him.
The hardest part for us is the dressage because it is huge. I just want to be very, very careful not to push him too hard because of his size, so I brought him in very slowly.
I did the [USEA Future Event Horse program] at 3 years old to have an exhibition, then I did the FEH at 4 years old as well. I think slowness worked for him. He’s incredibly smart, daring, and brave, and for his size and age, it’s ridiculous how adjustable he is. He is remarkable.
He’s just a giant puppy. His personality, he wants to be in your pocket, he wants to be your boyfriend. The two hardest things I had to break him down were I couldn’t get him to stay in the turnout – he kept jumping – and the other thing was really hard! He’s just a good guy.
How did you arrive at the eventing competition?
I started out in the hunters’ ring, but I continued to get in trouble because I continued to take care of the horses, and the grooms didn’t like it. My trainer went back east and suggested eventing because I didn’t really fit into the hunting world.
Mill Creek [Equestrian Center] was just down the street from our house, so I went over there and practiced with Cory Walkey. The rest is history. I liked it. I love the eventing community. I feel like we really support each other. Even this weekend it was a big deal for me, and I think for a lot of people, that we won. I have so many people reaching out to me and congratulating me. I just think it’s great that we can come together.
You work full time in addition to having a few equestrian clients, right?
I am a CPA. I am a partner in [my dad Andrew Hillas’] firm, but I love horses, and that’s why I wake up every morning, to ride. I have about eight clients that I teach, and then I do my CPA stuff, so I don’t sleep!
I wanted to be a full time professional horse rider, but my dad was always worried that I wasn’t independent enough, and he kind of hammered this into me, that I needed to be independent if I wanted to accomplish this. that I wanted. accomplish with my life. He didn’t think I would make enough money.
He started this business. He made all of his dreams come true, and he was a major source of advice for me, and I wouldn’t be who I am and what I am today without him. He instilled in me that I needed my education. No one can take it away from you, and if you hurt yourself, you better fall back on something.
I was provocative for a short time while I was in college. I had 20 horses in training and a bunch of classes. I was helping a dressage trainer break her babies and one of them kicked me in the face. He was just really weird, and I went to ride him, and another horse walked behind him, but it scared him. He jumped forward and pulled back and nailed me in the face, and I went to fly. Fortunately, he had no behind shoes. I went to the barn that day and thought to myself, “I’m doing all I can to accomplish what I want with my horse, and I almost hurt myself on another horse.”
I was like, “Alright, daddy, you’re right. I’m going to finish school.
But I like teaching. I have adult amateurs. These are my favorite to teach because they really want to learn. I have a couple who aim to compete.
I am based at the Bell Canyon Equestrian Center. I share a dressage arena with a high level dressage rider who lets me organize jumps when she is not using the arena.
Do you have your eyes on the floor at home?
I took a clinic with Buck Davidson this year, and my fiance [Brett Seidenglanz], who tries to learn as much as he can about horses because he thinks it’s the coolest thing, was there. When I jump now he just repeats what he heard Buck say to me! It’s very useful. He doesn’t understand anything about horses. He’s a heavy equipment operator, and he understands mechanics so he can see when something’s wrong, but he doesn’t necessarily know how to tell you how to fix it because he doesn’t know horses.
But after he heard what Buck would say, he could sort of apply it. I have to give him a big scream.
What does your family think about your eventing?
It was really nice this weekend because I got to share it with my parents. I think my dad realizes how important this is to me. It might be a horrible thing to say, but the best thing that happened to our relationship was COVID because now we can work from home, and he realized he didn’t need to deal with everyone. in the office, and that things would continue to get done. . He turned around as far as he supported me, and that was huge. It was hard trying to make your dreams come true when someone told you it was too hard. Now he thinks it’s possible. I’m like, “Yeah, it has always been possible! Let’s do this. “
How do you manage a full time job and horseback riding?
I wake up early, pack my stuff and make it happen because that’s how all the greats made it happen.
[Kobe Bryant was an inspiration for me.] You listen to him and hear how he spoke. I was lucky enough to be No 24 this weekend, and I think that was a big help. When I went to get my package and saw that I was 24, I immediately took a deep breath.
I just think about what I want to accomplish and the things I want to do, and I wake up every morning, and I’m ready to do them.
What are your hopes for the future with Remy?
I treat him like a five star horse. I do my vet’s tax returns so he gets free acupuncture every month. I guess if I keep his body straight then this is the first step to success.
I would like to know [the Holekamp/Turner Grant] to compete in France at [Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers]. I wouldn’t have words if that happened. I didn’t even have a word after this weekend. I was crying.
But with him, the dreams are endless. I know he can do anything. If we could represent the United States in any way I would love that. Going to Land Rover Kentucky would be more of a long term goal.