But in 2000, Hillary left the horses behind. She and William started a business in the culinary industry. They ran that business successfully for six years but then sold it to start her training business in 2007. “It was nice to get a little bit of a different business perspective, which I think helps any business that you run in the future,” she said. “The whole time I was out of it, everyone said to me, ‘You can’t not ride!’ But it was a good break and it was nice. Growing up with my mother and in a big barn as a professional’s daughter, there were a lot of easy answers, just filling that role. It was nice to get married and take a breather to gain a little perspective on how I wanted to do the horses.”
Hillary’s return to the show ring hit a snag in 2009 when a fall from a horse resulted in a shattered hip and a broken femur. Surgery followed, and Hillary took eight months off from riding to heal completely. In that time, she developed the teaching side of her business. By early 2011, Hillary knew the grand prix ring was her ultimate goal, and Cantus D and Nopus du jue Joubert joined her with her mother’s help. “I’ve really been able to sort of develop the business that I want it to be. It’s small enough that it’s manageable, but I’ve got lovely clients and horses,” she said.
And she and William, who celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary the night before her big grand prix win, share the business responsibilities. “He doesn’t ride as much anymore, but he’s a big part of it and helps me on the ground all the time with the horses. He helps me get to the ring. It’s a nice team effort, and it’s nice that he shares my passion for it. He’s super supportive,” Hillary said.