Andrea St. Hilaire
With over eight years as the assistant and protege of eight-time Olympian J. Michael Plumb, Andrea is regarded as an educated, disciplined, empathetic, elegant rider. Her training approach parallels the structure of JMP's programs, following the assimilation of classic methodologies put forward by individuals such as A. Podhajsky, R. Klimke, B. de Nemethy, J. LeGoff, and later George Morris. Horses are schooled to be forward thinkers, balanced movers, and willing partners, with students learning how to acutely feel and properly understand a horse's way of going.
With instruction, Andrea focuses on enhancing communication between the rider and horse, while appropriately challenging and effectively improving each pair's performance. Her positive, encouraging style influences the initiative and confidence of riders from all levels, helping them to develop determination, finesse, and self-assurance in their skills.
Andrea's specialty lies in identifying and addressing the fundamental "why" of equine and rider actions, rather than applying a veritable "band-aid" to symptomatic elements. Her strengths reside in parsing apart and comprehensively explaining the minute pieces of the horsemanship puzzle. From lameness concerns to behavioral idiosyncrasies, through loss of confidence to desiring polished results, Andrea's perception, feel, and intuition are highly-refined, unrivaled, empathic abilities.
Andrea began riding at age 3 and competing at age 5 and spent eight years competing in hunters and equitation through the "A" circuit. At age 13, she began eventing and has successfully competed through Intermediate. She has trained with internationally renowned event riders Lucinda Green, Denny Emerson, and Capt. Mark Phillips, and has been J. Michael Plumb's assistant since 2010. Andrea's dressage training has been largely influenced by FEI instructors Jane Karol and Linda Parmenter, as well as sessions with clinicians such as Sarah Geikie and Dutch trainer Claes Bierenbroodspot.
In consecutive years as a junior rider, Andrea's competition was highlighted by winning the honor of USCTA (now USEA) Area 1 High Point Junior Novice Rider (1999), High Point Junior Training Rider (2000), and High Point Preliminary Young Rider (2001). In addition, in 2000, Andrea won the title of USCTA National Junior Training Rider of the Year, riding Without Consent. In 1999, she was the Area 1 Novice Champion, and in 2001, the Area 1 Preliminary Reserve Champion.
A United States Hunter Jumper Association Certified Trainer since 2008 and Massachusetts-licensed riding instructor, Andrea has regularly taught in New England since 2002. As an undergraduate student, she was also an instructor in Mount Holyoke College's nationally recognized equestrian program, prior to graduating in 2006.