Get to know Emilie Veillette, the professional barrel racer and trainer and the first and youngest Canadian to be ranked in the world.
Where are you from ?
Québec, more precisely, from the region of Lanaudière.
How long have you been riding ?
My parents were passionate about horses long before they had children, so I was lucky enough to be born in this environment and born on a horse.
Why did you start riding?
I did all kinds of singing and acting classes. I was even part of an agency and was selected for commercials, television series and stuff like that but really nothing was stronger than horses. It’s a little unexplainable when it’s in your blood.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
The people who have certainly influenced me the most are my parents. Thereafter, my professional career was most influenced by Pier-Luc Phaneuf a reining coach and in the barrels Jolene Montgomery.
Even today, I continue to seek advice wherever I go, from the big names of the industry, in the United States as well as in Canada.
What makes you so passionate about this sport?
Everything, absolutely everything. I like to evolve our sport and be innovative, help others, but especially help horses.
What do you do?
I'm a barrel horse trainer
How many hours a week do you spend on horseback?
Since I am 18 years old I work in this field professionally. The first 10 years I put 24/24 7/7. Now I take a reasonable number of horses in training for 8 to 10 hours a day. I take 1-2 days off a week and a holiday at Christmas.
What are your future goals in this sport?
My number one goal is to ride more my horses at shows. My second goal is to continue to have solid, healthy and performing futurities. One day, keep the chosen horse to try to go to the NFR maybe, who knows?
How many years have you been competing?
Since I was eight, so 22 years.
Where do you compete?
For some years I have been competing more in the United States but sometimes I come back to Quebec.
Have you ever been stressed at shows?
Ooh, yes! When I was younger it was much worse. Now I manage well and I stay very calm.
What is your best way to manage stress at shows?
The best advice I can give is to go see a professional in mental preparation for sport. That’s what I did. And to surround yourself with people that are better than you.
What is the top 3 products, equipment, tools, piece of tack that you always want to have on hand?
My stirrups from the EM collection, I can’t live without now. Thanks to Sylvain Gauthier for the great design. Other than that, electrolytes, jeans that are a little bit loose and 475 different bits!
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start competitions?
The same as for mental preparation, go get a coach. Do it for the well-being of your horse.
Ask questions to your vet, osteopath, nutritionist, etc.
Surround yourself with people that are better than you.
What is your “pre-show routine”?
I walk my horse a long time. After that, each horse is different and is treated individually.
What is your favorite product from FG Pro shop?
FG Pro Shop is the best shop for real horsemen and horsewomen in Quebec. At FG it is the quality of the products that I appreciate the most and not just a single product!
Which horse has impacted you the most in your career so far?
All my horses have marked me a lot and if it were possible I would like to keep them all. However, Marley was one of the elites!
Do you have any lines of horses that you prefer, if so which ones?
I grew up on Firewaterflit, they are hard working and intelligent horses. So it’s probably the bloodline I have the easiest time with. For me it is very important to have a mix of work and speed on my horse's papers.
What qualities or attributes are you looking for in a competition horse?
A kind and inteligent horse is really important. Another thing is a horse with heart, it is probably the most important
How do you ensure the well-being of your equine athletes?
For me the wellbeing of my horses begins mentally, I want happy horses, it is important for me to let my horses have turnout time. Physically, it is important for me to have horses in excellent physical condition. This is followed by nutrition and having a good farrier which are two very important aspects.
After that, I use Bemer therapy, my horses see osteos, massos, supplements according to their needs and I use my veterinarian when needed.
You can shop Emilie's collection here!