Heather began riding when she was small enough to fit into a halter (a convenient safety harness!) and many hours were spent hooning around on tiny ponies (coincidentally, all grumpy grey mares). By age 12, however, she had already done the majority of growing, which put her at 5'10" and definitely too tall for ponies; it was time to "more ambitiously" buy larger horses.
Heather's first tall horse was a spotty crossbred greenbroken 4yo Palomino Gelding ("Visible Ghost" (DEC), aka Sebastian) in 2009. They got along like a house on fire. 2020 was a crushing year to lose this special horse to aggressive cancer in the skull, absolutely no expense spared in the attempt to save his life but sadly unsuccessful. He was not particularly talented at Dressage, nor had the most attractive paces, however Heather developed and campaigned him through to Advanced Level EA. His party trick, a line of two time changes.
July 2019 saw Heather put horses aside and she headed off to Kapooka NSW to complete Basic Training for the Australian Defence Force Reserves. She considers it her proudest, most difficult achievement to date; something she never believed she could do. 5 weeks without horses was definitely a challenge! View photos here.
In 2022, Heather was been diagnosed with High Functioning ASD, (Aspergers) after a lifetime of "wondering". This does not appear to be an impediment in the slightest in this industry; it helps her to be obsessed and driven in a pragmatic way. It seems to help to achieve success by the desperate thirst for knowledge and improvement. When others give up, she is still analysing and calculating; there are solutions to every problem. It appears most professionals in many disciplines are, in fact Autistic!
"The Presence of Passion Inspires Progress"
Heather has been a "Carnivore" since 2020; it started out as an experiment to see if she could remedy her lifelong issues with autoimmune disease (Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, unexplained joint and muscle inflammation and stiffness, like arthritis, endometriosis, anxiety, etc). 30 days strict was the challenge... and 3 years later, she is still a Carnivore. This means that her diet consists of absolutely no grain, low to no fibre, sugar, vegetables, fruit or carbohydrates. So basically, just meat and animal products. Her symptoms have eased almost entirely and her autoimmune problems are in remission... not to mention, she is in peak body condition (7kg down), fasts intermittently (OMAD) and is absolutely thriving. Her diet is also useful in alleviating autistic tendencies relating to social anxiety and introversion. By reducing inflammatory foods, it's expected to see a reduction in overall inflammation of the body, including the brain. Amazing things happen when you have the willpower to have control of what you eat.
Heather is campaigning four very promising mounts, two at FEI, one green but developing nicely and one a breaker.
The first, a Patchwork bred gelding "Patchwork Stolen Moments" who is competitively sitting in EA Inter I with super extended trots and flying changes. He also has a powerful established piaffe in hand and under saddle and is showing serious potential for passage. He is by Sheer Etiquette's brother (Merlin) and out of a Benefit Performer TB mare. In 2021 and 2022 he was accepted onto the Victorian Dressage Development Squad, acknowledged for his high percentages, and also won the Gilbey's Trophy Commemorative Award in 2021.
Also on the team is "Patchwork Royal Etiquette", the only Sheer Etiquette foal in existence and still a colt! He is being brought along slowly and gently, with a focus on conditioning and correct training. He is 17h and only young - will need plenty of time to mature!
She is also campaigning a talented De Niro gelding, "Torvina De Meyer", who is competing successfully at Inter I Level as well. He was accepted onto the Victorian Development Squad, alongside Stolen Moments, and won the Marj England Trophy Commemorative Award in 2022 for Small Tour.
Also in the pipeline, but a long way off a competition, is "Patchwork Total Deja Vu", an outstanding, world class 3yo filly by Drumming R (De Niro / Totilas) and out of a top quality Fisherman's Friend x Gymnastik Star mare. She is really something!
Heather's main passion is breeding and she is into her 13th year of breeding Warmblood foals for dressage. All her mares are strategically chosen based on competition careers, paces, temperament and potential. They are all registered and full blooded mares paired to proven IFS WB stallions. She prides herself in knowing as many bloodlines as she possibly can and is very interested in matching strengths up though sires and dams. She can often be found discussing hypothetical pairings, colour genetic probability and bloodline strengths and weaknesses with other breeding enthusiasts. There's plenty of frozen semen in the talk a well as the plans to breed a few foals a year in house by Royal Etiquette. It's an addictive passion!