Trainer & Judge
Steve Heinecke grew up in Connecticut and began riding at the age of 6. He developed a passion for the sport almost immediately and, throughout his highly successful junior career, competed in the junior jumper, hunter and equitation disciplines with trainers Timmy Kees and Jeffrey Welles as well as Barney and McLain Ward. Under their careful guidance, Heinecke went on to claim numerous champion titles at some of the most prestigious horse shows across the country including the 1983 Connecticut Hunter & Jumper Association Junior Medal Final, the 1985 Rolex-Maclay National Equitation Championship at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden, the New England Equitation Championships and the Devon Horse Show.
Since then, Heinecke has gone on to establish himself as a highly competitive professional hunter rider, trainer and judge. He has helped develop and produce some of the top junior and adult riders and horses in the nation under his tutelage.
Heinecke and his students have claimed championship honors in the Small Junior, Large Junior and Amateur-Owner divisions, among others, at shows such as the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Capital Challenge Horse Show, National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show, Devon Horse Show, Winter Equestrian Festival, Tryon, Atlanta, Blowing Rock, Lake Placid, Kentucky, Old Salem, U.S. Junior Hunter National Championships and the Hampton Classic. Throughout his professional career, Heinecke’s won the USHJA National Hunter Derby in Kentucky and the USHJA National Hunter Derbies in Tryon.
As a trainer and professional rider, Heinecke has had the privilege to work and compete with some of the most decorated equine athletes in the sport such as Glen Owen, Popeye, Water Ship Down, Speechless, Hakim, Take Away, Pedro, Lands End Mad Hatter, Cortina, Highlight, Akinda, Mayfair, Betty Boop and Cool Blue, to name a few.
He’s trained top riders such as Alise Oken, Lucille Oken, Paige Wilson, Madison Johnson, Victoria Press, who he helped guide to victory in the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby in 2013, Jenny Belknap and Jane Olson Fisher.
Today, Steve owns and operates Sock Inc., based in Waxhaw, North Carolina, where his keen insight and eye for detail inspires his students to be competitive riders as well as horsemen. Steve looks forward to growing his business and continuing to compete, train and judge while also spending cherished time with his children Olive and Charlie, and partner Ken, of which his business is named after (Steve, Olive, Charlie, Ken = Sock Inc.).
Photos by The Carolinas Equestrian and Loli Photography