Riding the intricate patterns of dressage is a challenge, but the reward of accomplishment can be satisfying to both rider and the equestrian athlete. German natives Traudel Bongers and Thomas Steinebach had to overcome international bureaucratic hurdles, consult with attorneys and produce stacks of documentation to open Hope Hall Farm as a Hanoverian Dressage Center and a Bed and Breakfast business in 2012. But, the couple overcame all barriers. Now, visitors who pass through their farm’s iron gate will see inviting paddocks with a calm pond, regal horses milling on the grass, a rustic modern home, free-form pool, sand volleyball court, and tennis court calling all fitness enthusiasts. Two new barns and a fine dressage arena (made of Clopf Fiber) nestle beneath towering live and laurel oak trees. Guests are the lucky beneficiaries of the hosts’ persistence and attention to detail.
Born and raised near Cologne (Koln), Germany, Thomas grew up around horses, showed them and competed with them as an amateur jockey. Eight Hanoverian horses traveled across the Atlantic Ocean aboard a plane with the adventurous couple in December 2011.
Thomas’s father is a lawyer, but Thomas pursued a career in hospitality out of high school. He went to work at a restaurant located in a historic castle surrounded by a moat, earning experience in the food and beverage. After a little over a year, he moved up to dining room manager, and then at age 25, he opened his own restaurant. His hospitality background serves he and Traudel well in their latest endeavor as owners of their Bed and Breakfast, located in pastoral Marion County in Reddick near northwest Ocala.
What sets Hope Hall Farm apart from others is its European flair. From an expansive German breakfast to European equestrian training, human and horses are treated with the utmost respect and gallantry. An Ocala resident who boarded her horse with Thomas and Traudel commented she learned more in a few training sessions at Hope Hall Farm than she did in multiple sessions at other boarding and training facilities.
Guests can choose from a variety of options at Hope Hall Farm. Perhaps they are not “horse-oriented” folks at all but love the serenity of Hope Hall. These visitors will find plenty to do and plenty of places to relax. Those who are equestrian aficionados may avail themselves of Hope Hall Farm’s horse training, breeding, purchase boarding and teaching options.
Hope Hall Farm’s web site sums it up: “At HHF, we build the fundamentally crucial foundation for the performance-based career of a sport horse.” Thomas and Traudel have the background and experience to offer a variety of equestrian services.
Traudel Bongers found American competition to her liking as she placed first in her first dressage appearance in April 2012 atop the gelding “Waky-Nao.” She grew up with a love of horses and in the early 1990's trained under Willi Schultheis, one of the foremost teachers and trainers of European dressage.
Traudel and Thomas built the 15-stall and six-stall cream and dark-green-colored barns once they purchased their horse farm, and no amenity is lacking. Any horse would love to be boarded there. Their hooves are protected; the flies are kept away; there’s automatic watering, and fans producing cool breezes to help overcome Florida’s summer heat.
The same tender loving care which is shown to horses is extended to Bed and Breakfast guests. From an apartment which can accommodate several family members with its own kitchen, and two other comfortable rooms, one upstairs, one at ground level, there is a room available to suit guests’ needs and preferences. A client’s desire for varying degrees of privacy and views may help make decisions as to which room. But, all guestrooms feature Wi-Fi Internet access, TV, hair dryer, alarm clock, refrigerator, coffee/tea maker, and have access to the swimming pool with Jacuzzi, tennis and volley ball courts.
The free-form pool is modeled after John Travolta’s pool who also has a horse farm in the Ocala area. The pool has a rock waterfall and several shallow seating areas within it. The property’s former owner hosted many parties at his beautiful location.
Hope Farm Hall is located at 13010 NW 90th Ave., Reddick, FL 32686; and the phone number is 352-591-9623.
The web site, http://www.hopehallfarm.com, offers tremendous detail and many photographs which share what equestrian lovers and bed and breakfast guests may expect. To be hosted by Thomas and Traudel who chose this horse farm carefully and judiciously is to taste luxury and class amid serene and pastoral surroundings. No human or animal will be able to say “nay” to their loving care.