Industry Rallies as Trainer Deserie Rieu Fights to Recover from Serious Injury

December 30th, 2018 8:50 PM | No Comments
Deserie Rieu and My Sleepy Valentine celebrate the win at the 2017 NW Emerald Masters.

Deserie Rieu and My Sleepy Valentine celebrate the win at the 2017 NW Emerald Masters.

By Robyn Duplisea

On December 28th, a young trainer from Alberta, Canada was involved in a devastating accident at her barn. Deserie Rieu was rushed to hospital after being kicked in the face by a horse. With severe injuries, Deserie was airlifted to the Intensive Care Unit at a larger hospital in Edmonton, Alberta via the Shock Trauma Air Rescue (STARS) helicopter and her family followed behind by car.

Deserie’s mom, Judy Rieu reached out to family and friends upon hearing of the accident asking for thoughts and prayers and the industry responded. In mere hours there were thousands of people sending well wishes and prayers via social media, people were stepping in to help with her barn full of training horses and fellow trainers even offered to fly in to help out while awaiting news on Deserie’s status. Few in Alberta who know the young trainer slept that night as they waited for an update.

Deserie sustained severe head and facial trauma from the incident but is classified as stable. She has been intubated to help her breathe while the swelling in her face is treated and she is being closely monitored for a (thankfully) stable brain bleed. Deserie has many injuries that will require multiple surgeries when she is able including a broken jaw and her road to recovery will be a long and arduous one.


Des shares a quiet moment with one of her training horses.

Deserie’s long time client and friend Susan Lehman set up a Go Fund Me page to help her trainer and friend with the many costs she will incur while recovering and unable to work.

Susan explained on the Go Fund Me page “A very dear friend, trainer, who is like a daughter to me has suffered severe head trauma from a kick to the face from a horse. Deserie is a young trainer in Alberta and will be in the hospital for quite some time. Des will require many surgeries to repair the broken bones in her face.  Please find it in your hearts to help her through this very difficult time.”

Friends, clients and industry peers immediately stepped up raising over 20K in just one day.

A benefit auction was also set up on Facebook to help Deserie and it has quickly grown with the support of the entire horse industry both in Canada and the United States. Stallion services, training packages from across North America, tack, show clothing, handmade items, services, website and ad designs, and even a once in a lifetime trip for 2 to BIG AL’S GOLD MINE from YUKON GOLD.

The auction will run through January 18th, 2018 – If you would like to donate or bid please visit it on Facebook HERE.

The response of the entire horse industry has been overwhelming and heart warming. Deserie’s sister Dana shared “We are blown away by the generosity, support and kindness from everyone during this difficult time. Thank you all so much for everything it means a lot! I am sure Deserie can feel all the love”

“Its a scenario that is truly frightening.” explained Deserie’s boyfriend, Logan Bitz. “To see our friends, family and many other people gathering together and setting up the Go Fund Me and the benefit auction brought me to tears. I can’t even look at the auction for long cause it makes me tear up just thinking about all these people helping Deserie, her family and myself.”

“If I could switch places with her I would do it in a heart beat. To the people back home at our barn helping and to everyone that has messaged me offering help I don’t even have words right now to express how much that means. It’s gonna be a long road to recovery for Des, but she is tough and she will make it.”


Deserie Rieu and Im Behind In Sleep.

Clients, friends and fellow trainers continue to reach out with love, prayers and support for Deserie. Last night they were able to reduce her sedation and she was responsive to those around her. Des is able to squeeze hands in response and was agitated by the breathing tube. While scary and sad these are all very hopeful signs for her recovery. Her family, boyfriend Logan Bitz and best friend Kaycee Hecht have been by her side and will continue to support her in this recovery.

It takes a special person to ignite an entire industry. Friend and client Angela Cawsey shared that “Deserie is not only an incredibly talented trainer and coach, but also one of the kindest, most selfless people I’ve ever met.”

Deserie’s mom Judy was at a loss for words for the support and love that has been shown to her daughter. “I have no words for this, everyone is so, so kind and generous. You are all amazing. Des is not going to believe it when she is able to see all of this. Thank you all so much”

One of the most beautiful things in our industry is the willingness of horse people to jump in and help each other out. While Deserie has a long and painful recovery ahead of her, she will know that thousands are holding her up in prayer and offering support to ease her burden as she focuses on getting well.

The support and love shown in a few short days has been nothing less than remarkable, and truly is inspiring and heartwarming for all to see.  

All of us at wish Deserie a complete recovery and will continue to hold her and her family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.




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