Heather Gillette

Heather Gillette.jpg

Heather on Opera Groove
After a horrific accident earlier this winter it would hardly have been surprising if Heather Gillette had taken a few months off – in fact those were her doctor’s orders.However, having met Heather last summer in Montana at Rebecca Farm, and as anyone who knows her will agree, Heather is cut from some pretty special cloth and it was fairly clear she wasn’t going to sit around and feel sorry for herself.  After bargaining with her doctor on the eve of her surgery and kitting herself out with a customised face mask a la Kobe Bryant, she’s not only back in the tack, but back on track to tackle Rolex this spring, and very kindly took a few minutes out of her flat work at Red Hills to stop and chat. 
Heather rode Our Questionnaire into 9th place in the Open Intermediate, Opera Groove into 11th place in the Open Prelim, and pulled up G-Star after she was getting too strong across country.  I want to thank Heather profusely for talking to us so openly about her accident and recovery, and wish her continued success and rapid healing. Thank you for reading and go Eventing! 



  • FLeventer says:

    Very cool! I read about this earlier, and I have to say that as a huge basketball fan as well as an eventing rider/fan I think it is great on both counts. Get well soon Heather!

  • Jessica M. says:

    Way to go Heather! You are amazing!

  • RAyers says:

    I am sorry, but as a faculty in an orthopaedic department and having published a lot of work in craniofacial reconstruction, I find Heather neither amazing, heroic, nor an inspiration. I have seen cases where the bone fails to heal because the patient was unwilling to follow their doctor’s professional opinion resulting in extensive additional reconstructive procedures. It is likely she is now a running joke in the M&M. I wonder how she would feel if her students ignored her professional opinion or they “bargained” with her as to how to ride or care for a horse?

  • CookiePony says:

    Heather, I am inspired! The face mask is really cool and it is this sort of tenacity that I find inspiring in eventers.
    RAyers, you were not privy to any of her discussions with her doctors and what you have posted is presumptuous and inappropriate. Shame on you.

  • Janet D. says:

    RAyers, I agree with Cookie Pony. Unless you know the whole story comments like that are not necessary.My daughter and I met Heather a couple of years ago while stabled near her at Rocking Horse. We had the pleasure of being stabled near her again at the last RH event. Heather was right there with her horses, feeding, mucking, hosing and just taking great care while finishing in the ribbons She actually remembered us and had great words of encouragement for my daughter. I find Heather to be an inspiration as well as a great horsewoman!

  • ENichols says:

    You raise a good point and I don’t want others reading Heather’s story to think that she just decided to ignore her surgeon’s guidance in favor of her own agenda. That didn’t happen nor would Heather recommend that for exactly the reasons you noted.
    As her husband, I definitely didn’t want her to take unnecessary chances during her recovery. It was several weeks before Heather actually sat on a horse and only after the last x-ray showed the fractures had mended to a point where returning to work could be an option. That decision was made with her doctor’s input and guidance. Heather also got a referral to another surgeon in Florida so her treatment and recovery could continue to be monitored after she moved training operations there.
    Her comments about negotiating to keep riding immediately after surgery were somewhat tongue-in-cheek and the point of which was that event riders face continual challenges on many fronts and always must be willing to re-plan to achieve their goals.

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