About Us

About Heritage Hill

Moonbi-lookoutOwned and run by highly-regarded equestrian couple Sharmayne Spencer and Michael Ruddy, Heritage Hill is a dedicated horse and rider training and education facility. A genuine desire to assist riders and horses of all ages and abilities to progress and enjoy equestrian activities results in lasting client relationships – it is no accident that many of Sharmayne’s pupils are also good friends!

Cradled by the beautiful Moonbi Range, Heritage Hill is 20 inviting acres of rolling hills located just 4km off the New England Highway and 20 minutes from the Australian Equestrian and Livestock Event Centre (AELEC) at Tamworth.

crosscountry-heritagehillThe property features well-maintained facilities and a natural ampitheatre surrounding a 60m by 20m sand dressage arena and separate show jump arena. Facilities include a round yard to safely start the education of young horses and as an ideal starting point for beginner riders to feel secure. Michael and Sharmayne have developed the property with a new 6 stable complex and boasts a 600m sand track and cross country training obstacles including banks, ditches, roll tops, arrowheads and brush fences.

The Horse Heartland

Heritage-Hill-Equine_9Heritage Hill is located just minutes from the charming village of Moonbi, about 20km north of Tamworth. Nestled alongside the Peel River and floodplain and the imposing Moonbi Range, the small township of Moonbi, settled in the 1850s, is home to a robust equestrian scene including Kootingal Pony Club and Tamworth Dressage Club, which has two permanent sand arenas at Moonbi sports grounds. Cradled and sheltered by Moonbi’s spectacular ranges, Heritage Hill is a perfect fit in a delightful country community.

Heritage-Hill-Equine_4In many ways, Heritage Hill is a stone’s throw from Australia’s horse heartland, with nearby townships such as Quirindi and Scone also boasting thriving equestrian communities, with everything from Polocrosse to dressage on offer. A strong pony club movement in the region along with fast-growing one day events and other competition ensures continuing demand for the experience and expertise on offer at Heritage Hill. 

About Sharmayne

Bree-DressageAn all-encompassing passion for horses has resulted in Sharmayne pursuing a challenging but rewarding career as an accomplished event rider and instructor – and she is equally passionate about both aspects of her career.

An inspiring approach to everyday challenges and obstacles and an infectious enthusiasm for all things equestrian has ensured Sharmayne continues to achieve her goals – the latest being to establish Heritage Hill as the nucleus of a boutique horse and rider training business. Named NSW Eventing Junior Squad trainer in 2006, 2007, 2010, and Eventing NSW President for several years, Sharmayne has a genuine interest in progressing the sporting pursuit she is immersed in. “It’s amazing what you can do when you have to,” the down-to-earth mother of active toddler Reese says. “Moving to Heritage Hill has necessitated a lot of long hours on the road to attend squads and competitions but we are also now well-located to get to Queensland events and clinics,” she says.

Cross-Country-(2)As well as running clinics and individual lessons at Heritage Hill, Sharmayne is in demand as a member of the NSW Pony Club Instructors panel. Sharmayne is genuinely interested in assisting those she teaches to not only achieve but exceed their goals. This has resulted in widespread praise and popularity among riders of all ages. “I am a relaxed coach but I am definite and articulate, and I explain what I want to see, and why, I don’t just say ‘do this or do that’,”

Showjumping-sconeShe is also busy schooling horses of all shapes and sizes – from ponies to 3* event horses. Sharmayne has an impressive resume: an EFA NCAS Level 2EV certificate holder, Coach Educator, Paid Pony Club Panel Instructor, President of Eventing NSW during the challenging era of Equine Influenza, and winner of the Eventing Equestriad Camden CIC 2* 2009. Sharmayne is also a qualified and experienced equine veterinary nurse. But ultimately, it is her down-to-earth approach and result-driven philosophy that has enabled Sharmayne to establish a niche, a reputation as a well-liked and effective instructor, and to rapidly grow her client base at Heritage Hill.

Horses have always been an intrinsic part of Sharmayne’s life, as she was raised in Sydney’s racing heartland near Randwick until moving with her family to Leppington in Western Sydney in 1985. Both her grandfathers were heavily involved in the racing industry – Randwick based Baden Hasler winning the Sydney Cup in the 1950s. “My whole family have been into horses and both my grandfathers were jockeys, one on the flat and one in steeplechase, so I don’t think I had a choice, really,” she says with a laugh. In her youth Sharmayne was a successful show rider competing at Sydney Royal but it was not long before she was enticed to the adrenalin-charged Olympic sport of Eventing.

Her personal philosophy is simple, tried and tested: “be true to yourself and try harder than you think you can”. It is a mantra that has resulted in this ultra-professional equestrian reaching successfully for the top, both as a competitor and as an instructor.

About Michael

michaelAn extensive background in thoroughbred racing in the UK combined with considerable experience in equine physiotherapy means that Michael’s skills perfectly complement his wife, and, like Sharmayne, Michael never considered a career that did not involve horses.

As well as attending to Heritage Hill, Michael sub-contracts to Tamworth Horse Transport.  A well respected company owned by Graham and Wendy Hill where Michael drives the 10 horse Mercedes truck from Sydney to Tamworth and Tamworth to the Gold Coast and everywhere in between.  This is mainly made up of transporting Thoroughbreds with performance and pleasure horses as an add on.  this position takes Michael to all the well know Thoroughbred training and breeding establishments throughout NSW.

Heritage-Hill-Equine_1He is a qualified Technical Delegate (TD) and is currently aiming to obtain FEI qualifications to participate in this demanding role at an international level. “I love doing it – I am big on safety issues because I rode as a jockey for many years and now Sharmayne is riding at an elite level, and I want it to be safe. If I can help out and make sure an event runs well, then that is very satisfying, and it enables me to get back into the sport without actually competing,” Michael offers. “It’s great because we can go to an event as a family and I get to do my thing and stay out of Sharmayne’s hair while she is competing and then at the end of the day we come together” Michael and his twin sister rode regularly as toddlers – but at his father’s insistence Michael completed a trade as a qualified roofer. “The day I completed it, I went back to work at a racing stable and I’ve been involved full time with horses for 25 years,” he says.

Successfully training stakes winners in a highly competitive European environment before travelling widely with the company Equissage has given Michael a global perspective and the personable horseman has adapted ideas and techniques from his experiences to Heritage Hill. He is particularly interested in the successful rehabilitation of horses with injury or soundness issues.