Olympic veteran, renowned clinician and course designer Buddy Brown, and his wife, noted hunter rider Vanessa Tuss Brown are the dynamic team responsible for the selection, development and campaigning of many nationally recognized hunters and jumpers. Recently relocated to Livermore, CA in the San Francisco East Bay area, they are accepting new clients who wish to develop their skills in the Hunter/Jumper and Equitation disciplines, and reach optimal results on the A Circuit.
Buddy and Vanessa combine over 45 years of experience as respected professionals in the Hunter/ Jumper industry. Their involvement has taken them throughout the continent, as well as overseas, and results in a broad network of other leaders at the top levels of this sport. As a team, they not only share a deep love of the animals, but also a sympathetic, classical training philosophy, and ethical business practices. Their knowledge of physical care and conditioning of the equine athlete ensures that behind the operation is a group of highly skilled farriers, veterinarians, and alternative therapy professionals. Buddy and Vanessa's expertise spans many aspects of the industry including riding, training, teaching, management, sales, investments, and course design.
Buddy is a living legend in the industry. He has represented the United States on many occasions, as a member of the team in numerous international competitions including the Pan American Games, Olympic Games, and several Nations Cup teams. In addition, he is a prominent clinician, and sought after course designer. Buddy's talent was recognized early, and Hunter Hall of Fame inductee, Robert Freels, laid the foundation for his enviable career. As an early teenager, George Morris took an interest, and Buddy was afforded the opportunity to study under this cornerstone of the American Jumping System. Not surprisingly, the result was a win in the Medal Finals. More intriguing is the fact that not a year later, Buddy was winning at the Grand Prix level with the same horse, the amazing Sandsablaze.
Buddy Brown and Sandsablaze demonstrate their winning form at the AHSA Medal Finals.
At 18 years of age, Buddy became the youngest rider to win the Grand Prix of Dublin (a record which he holds to this day). Buddy's years at Gladstone fine-tuned his riding and training techniques. He was fortunate to study under the great horseman Bertalen DeNemethy, and receive exposure and input from so many of our Nation's masters including Rodney Jenkins, Frank Chapot, Joe Fargis, Anthony D'Ambrosio, and Michael Matz. His riding career includes team and individual Pan Am medals, a win in the prestigious American Invitational, and being the only three-time winner of the American Show Jumping Derby. Most recently Buddy has guided Kilkenny Randall Z to top honors in the Queen Elizabeth Cup at Spruce Meadows and the $150,000 Grand Prix of Indio, as well as securing a win with Kilkenny Lesandra in the Pickwick Grand Prix. His vigorous course designing schedule takes him to the top shows and circuits in the U.S. to set grand prix courses that challenge horses and riders to give their very best efforts.
Vanessa's Junior years were spent in Vancouver, B.C. under the guidance and tutelage of Lindy Townley, widely known for her classical and thorough teachings that have always given her students huge success in the Equitation ranks through a firm grasp of proper flatwork, and form. Vanessa held many Provincial and National titles, including CEF Junior Hunter Champion twice, several major Medal wins, and an undefeated streak her final year in age group Equitation.
After graduating from the Junior ranks, Vanessa decided to explore the Jumpers further in depth. She spent a summer apprenticing with the Cheska family in Wisconsin, before moving to California to study under, and ride for master horseman, Eddie Connors, a contemporary of Jimmy Williams. During this time, she was also fortunate to be able to work Francie Steinwedell. Her years in California resulted in a wealth of knowledge in regards to starting young horses, re-training difficult horses, and being creative with the training approach. Notable horses that came out of her training efforts were Andiamo, (winner of the CPHA Medal Finals), Tempest, (a top 3 finisher in 4 CA medal finals), Rich and Famous, (who went on to be zone and National Champion for the AHSA as a First Year Green, and Junior Hunter), Dance Till Dawn, (who had similar success), and perhaps most famous, Grappa, arguably the best Equitation horse ever produced.Vanessa's love for Thoroughbred horses led her to Kentucky, where at 22 years of age, she purchased her own farm. In addition to furthering her education on turning ex race horses into winners in the Hunter and Jumper arenas, it also provided an in depth study of how to run every aspect of a training facility, from employee management to facility upkeep and care. Valuable contacts were formed in the Thoroughbred industry that serve her well to this day. Some of the great horses produced in this era include Honor Roll, (Pre Green champion throughout the Midwest), Slim (sold to Mary Maricoli, and very successful in the Amateur Owner Jumpers), and Marshall (zone champion in the Children's Jumpers, and top finisher in the Marshall Sterling Finals).After deciding to give up the burden of owning her own place, Vanessa secured a job with legendary Hunter rider and trainer, Larry Glefke at Lane Change Farm in Chicago. This opportunity included management of all aspects of a major show operation including coordination of employees, preparation of show horses for their owners, showing, teaching, and sales. It was during this time that her love and talent for teaching was realized. Students were hugely successful under her tutelage, and 3 years in a row, they swept the IHJA Senior Medal Finals. Vanessa guided numerous horses to zone and National hunter honors while at Lane Change including Honor System (Green Conformation and Regular Conformation), Mathis (Second Year Green and Regular Working), Mane Event (Regular Working), Frederick of Hollywood (First Year Green), Scholar (First Year Green), and Count Appeal (Second Year Green, Green Conformation, and Regular Conformation). She also enjoyed success in the High Preliminary Jumpers, and Modified Jumper division with Feodora, a horse of McLain Ward's. She was a key player in the selection, development and training of such famous hunters as Enchanted (AHSA Horse of the Year Green Conformation), Flipside (AHSA Horse of the Year Amateur Owner 18-35), and Visionary (AHSA Horse of the Year Green and Regular Conformation). Her time at Lane Change allowed her to show at the best venues in the Country, including Upperville, Devon, and the prestigious Indoors shows.Vanessa also held a private job in Texas, for revered hunter rider, Peter Pletcher, where she had full charge of one of his customer's horses and stable. Every aspect of the care and of these horses was overseen by her including their feed regimens, farrier and vet work, and grooming routines at home. Vanessa rode and trained them daily, and took care of morning preparation at the horse shows. During her time at Gray Wolf Farm, Peter took top honors in the Regional IHF competitions with a few of the youngsters, and rode Geste to a Perfect 100 in a Hunter Classic at Pin Oak (the third ever perfect score given at the time). Since Buddy and Vanessa have been together, they have run Derby Hill as a sale and training operation in Louisiana, Tennessee, Oregon, and now the San Francisco Bay area. Together they selected and produced the highly successful Jumper, Russell Stover for an investor. Vanessa guided Rex Marquette's Stately to wins at such prestigious venues as Blowing Rock, and Biltmore in the Regular Working Hunters. The pair selected, developed, campaigned, and sold investment horses, as well as home raised horses for Kilkenny Crest during their time in Bend, OR. With Buddy focusing on the Jumper string, Vanessa took the primary role of selection, development, marketing and sales of young horses, and investments. Her efforts produced Kilkenny Righteous, a multiple tricolor winner at Indio, Kilkenny Hansel who is now enjoying great success on the Northwest Circuits with his new owner, and Lakota, who has recently made the move to the Level 6 Jumpers. Buddy successfully campaigned Kilkenny Randall Z, Lexus, Rindo, and Lesandra in the Grand Prix ranks with multiple wins, and impressive results at prestigious venues
Derby Hill has a few remaining openings for new clients in the hunter and equitation ranks. Buddy has returned to the show ring to ride a select few horses for clients. He continues to course design occasionally and conduct clinics at a few outside venues across North America. Buddy also continues his role as a "professionals' professional" coaching pro riders in Northern and Sourthern California with their upper level and more challenging mounts. Vanessa trains clients and shows horses in both the hunter and jumper arenas. The team splits teaching duties for the Equitation enthusiasts. Derby Hill will continue sales of quality horses, and will manage barn growth to an intimate number of under 25 horses.
Since they moved to California, Buddy and Vanessa have trained numerous CPHA and NorCal year-end champions including Topper & Susan Meadows and Alize & Adrienne Dixon. Buddy guided Adrienne and PomPom to the grand prix level. Adrienne and PomPom were member of the 2009 Bronze Medal North American Young Riders Team. Vanessa guided Ali Cornish to top-10 finishes in PCHA 14 & Under Medal Finals, CPHA Foundation Medal Finals, Horse & Hound Medal Finals, NorCal Junior Medal Finals. In addition, Vanessa coached Ali to a top-10 finish in her first USET West Coast Talent Search Finals. Under Vanessa's tutelage, Ali was also one of the 12 finalists in the U.S. that qualified for the Level 3 Emerging Athlete's Program.
Since January of 2010, Derby Hill has called home the beautiful, historic Red Barn at Stanford University. A large covered arena with GGT footing, two outdoor arenas and a dressage court provide ample space for riders of all levels. Horses enjoy a choice of stabling in the Red Barn or stalls with attached paddocks. All horses are turned out for at least three hours a day and enjoy use of the covered Eurocizer throughout the year.
Since moving to Stanford's Red Barn, Vanessa has been very supportive of the Stanford Equestrian Team and regularly helps Vanessa Bartsch with training duties for the team. In 2010, the team were Champions at Regional and Zone finals and 4th at nationals. K.C. Simon, one of the Stanford students who is a Derby Hill client was Regional Champion in open fences and Reserve Champion in Intermediate Flat. K.C. placed 4th open fences at the Zone Chamionships and was on the team that placed 6th at IHSA nationals in team open fences at Kentucky Horse Park.
Vanessa is also active in giving back to the hunter/jumper community as she enters her fifth year as a member of the NorCal Hunter/Jumper Association board of directors. Vanessa led fundraising for the organization in 2009 and 2010. In addition, she has organized the NorCal clinics, attracting top clinicians including Olympic Gold Medalist Will Simpson, nationally recognized judge Scott Hofstetter and noted grand prix rider Michael Endicott.