Top Venture is committed to providing superlative care to our beloved equine partners. We know how important it is for our clients' to feel confident that their horse is receiving the attention and individualized care they deserve, and are diligent to ensure this peace of mind.
Owner/Operator Sarah Berkowitz grew up riding in Chester County, PA, and has been showing on the "A" Circuit for close to 30 years. During her junior career, she acquired multiple Year-End awards as she followed the circuit to show in the hunters, jumpers and equitation. A Middlebury College graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish, Sarah was avid on the equestrian team, showing in the Open Division and qualifying for the prestigious Cacchione Cup Championship. In addition to Sarah's involvement on the college equestrian team, she was a four-time letter winner and All-American in Track and Field, and played field hockey. Post graduation, she attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Trainer Nikki Jewell began her lifetime with horses at a young age and primarily was involved in the eventing and dressage disciplines through her high school and college years. Upon graduation from college, Nikki worked for several top level A circuit Hunter Jumper trainers. In 2000 Nikki started her own training business, Gem Stone Farm, Inc focusing on training and competing on the A circuit at the national level. She has developed many young prospects into successful performance horses. She has trained many students and horses to excel in the hunter, equitation and jumper rings and has had several students ride in the THIS Medal Finals, Hunt Seat Medal Finals and Maclay Regionals. In 2015 Nikki relocated to Central KY and started a new venture, Hidden Gem Equine. She has reunited with her love of the sport of eventing, and is bringing her Hunter Jumper background to help eventers and pony club riders with their show jumping. Nikki thrives on bringing out the hidden talents in horses and their riders in whatever discipline they find most joyful.
Sarah oversees all of the care and schedules of the horses, as well as managing the general logistics of the business. Her horses have found much success in the hunter and jumper rings, with a top finisher at National Pony Finals and the M&S National Finals, and Tricolors at many of the nations most competitive circuits and finals. Sarah has qualified hunters for the Devon Horse Show and Indoor championships, and travels to compete in Southern California and Florida for the winter season. She enjoys bringing the young horses up through the Rated Divisions, and focuses on her personal horses. In 2016, Sarah won the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover semi finals out of 77 competitors and finished 2nd in the Show Hunter Finale, aboard Top Venture's MY PRIZE NOW. Sarah is active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for both Dress for Success Lexington and the 82nd JL Charity Horse Show, the world's largest outdoor Saddlebred show. in addition, she is a member of the JC Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Horse Council, and the Junior League of Lexington. She enjoys going to the beach, traveling, fitness and running - a four time marathoner, with a personal best of 3:27:17. Sarah and John live full-time on the property with their four dogs - Dolce, Dakota, Sandwich and Christmas Bear.
"The goal of training a horse is to keep them happy and healthy and enjoying their work. Regardless of a horses specific competitive discipline or training goal varied methods are used such as, hill work, flat work, poles and caveletti, ring work, field work, trail rides, field trips, and ground work mixed with adequate rest and ample turn out to keep the horses interested and happy. Consistency in a training program is the key to a horses success. Horses must be fit and strong enough to do what we are asking of them. We can help you determine what discipline your horse will enjoy the most. Horses are individuals and all learn in a different way. We are aim to train in a way that each horse will understand best and tailor each program to suit the individual horses needs. Nikki travels to Kentucky a minimum of one week per month, and is available for lessons, training rides, and show coaching.
Just as with horses, riders also all learn in different ways. It is key to try to teach a rider in a way that they can learn. A trainer must explain and communicate instructions in a manner in which each rider will understand and be able to attempt and eventually succeed. Nikki’s years of teaching experience allows instruction to be targeted in a thoughtful simple progression of what the rider most needs to work on at any given time to help improve riding technique, communication with the horse and confidence."
A 1993 graduate with a BS in Business Administration and Equine Administration from the University of Louisville, Nikki brings a solid business background to her years of hands on horse experience. She is an active member of the professional equestrian community, serving as the Zone 5 USHJA secretary from 2001 to 2009, serving on the USHJA Scholarship Task Force, the USHJA Equitation Committee, the USHJA Junior Hunter Committee, and serving on the IDCTA Eventing Committee as a Guest Member of the IDCTA Board.