“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.”
- Sharon Ralls Lemon
Rose Hill Stables – Hilary Johnson, Owner & Head Trainer
Iron Horse Equestrian Center’s Hilary Johnson is classically-trained and has successfully competed in hunter/jumper, dressage, and three-day eventing. She owns and operates Rose Hill Stables, training children and adults to achieve their personal goals and encourage them to even greater accomplishments. A three-time recipient of the Starr Vaughn Trainer of the Year Award, even her novice riders consistently qualified for medal finals. Here are just a few of her team’s accomplishments for 2010:
- SAJHA Mini-Medal Winner
- Pony & Child Adult Medal Finalist
- Almaden Medal Finalists
- Carousel Medal Finalists
- Cloverleaf Medal Finalists
- NorCal 3-Foot Finalist
- Stirrup Cup Finalists
Hilary’s early career began with a Native American woman riding “half-broke Mustangs bareback and Western” until she was seven. She then moved to England for a short time where she began formal English riding lessons, and has been showing and training since she was eight, climbing to the Grand Prix level under the tutelage of CPHA’s Hall of Fame Inductee Chris Borba.
During her junior career, Hilary was mentored by some of the top riders in the business. She spent every summer, spring, and winter break riding and training at the world-famous Westmoreland Davis Equestrian Center in Virginia where she rode with Olympic gold medal winner Tad Coffin and master instructor Raul de Leon.
Hilary began teaching when she was 15, having worked as a rider and groom for many trainers in Alamo, California. She participated in the California State Horse Mastership where she achieved top scores. She partnered with Paul Bennett and opened Sun Grove Farms in the late 1990s until 2003 when an unfortunate riding accident took her out of riding – some thought permanently. Unable to turn away from her beloved sport, she attended Equinology, a school for therapeutic massage and body work, and worked with Lisa Laurie, DVM. It only took a year before she was able to reclaim her amateur status, riding a friend’s quarter horse to win the Champion Hunter Under Saddle in Del Mar, California. Encouraged by friend and former partner Paul Bennett, she started Rose Hill Stables in 2009.
Usually surrounded by a group of young girls who hang on her every word, Hilary is the perfect role model and mentor. A stickler for details, Hilary dissects mistakes in such a way that students learn from them in a positive atmosphere. “Horses have a brain. They don’t always perform the same. Students must recognize that every day is a new day.” Her patience, sunny disposition and encouraging style will have every rider confidently looking forward to the next lesson.
Alexandria Telatnik, Trainer
Alexandria Telatnik A life long equestrian who found her roots with her families Thoroughbred racing business, Ali has dedicated her life to becoming a horseman. She started her equestrian pursuit at the age of 5, lessoning with John Turner and Jack Hammond of Thumbs Up Farm. Her early show years were spent under the guidance of Anne Selinger at Park Side Stables, where she was given the opportunity to work with many influential trainers including Linda Allen, Bob McDonald and Jack Towell.
A successful junior and amateur career culminated with wins along the west coast earning her qualifying spots back east, as well as USEF Zone 9 Adult Amateur Hunter Rider of the Year, Zone 9 Adult Equitation Reserve Champion, Top 3 placing in the USEF/USHJA Horse of the Year and Top 5 placing in WCHR standings. Numerous catch rides up and down the west coast led to a job with Joan Curtin at her sales barn Select Sales.
Through the many trainers and coaches she has had the pleasure of working with, she felt prepared to take the position of Assistant Trainer at Rose Hill Stables in 2012. “I enjoy working with clients and their horse to become a better team. Hard work, patience and understanding is something I hope to instill in all my riders.” Ali brings to the team a love of teaching and acute attention to detail.
Carlos Alberto "Beto" Gomez, HEad Groom
When asked how long he's been working with horses, Carlos Alberto "Beto" Gomez remarks "Our family had a farm so I've been working with them all my life. I think I was born on a horse." He began working at stables since he was fifteen years old, learning early how to break colts, start young horses and deal with problems such as rearing and bucking. He is experienced in training horses in the harness as well.
Beto met trainer Hilary Johnson while working at a large equestrian facility in Livermore, California because of his connection with our veterinarian, Lisa Laurie. Because of his expertise with problem horses, Hilary began consulting him for help. As their friendship and mutual respect grew, he began working for Rose Hill Stables in 2008.
Beto is responsible for starting all young horses at Iron Horse Equestrian Center and works with any behavioral problems that might arise with our four-legged athletes. He accompanies our team at shows, supervising all grooming and care.