First and youngest Canadian to be ranked in the world.
“Consistency in training and a solid work ethic, that is the greatest gift I can give my horse and it will last for his whole life.“
Just Be In The Moment
Emilie Veillette, professional barrel racer and trainer, is the first and youngest Canadian to be ranked in the world. She has teamed up with Metalab to develop The Emilie Veillette Barrel Racing Collection of bits, spurs and stirrups. As Emilie explains, “In Quebec, where I am from, it is hard to find good barrel racing bits so there is a big demand for better bits. That is why we developed this collection. We think the collection will benefit a wide range of barrel racers, from beginner to pro level. The bits are very user-friendly.”
There are two bits in her collection that Emilie particularly favors: the Winner Smooth Gag and the Marley Dog Bone Gag. “I think it is important to find a bit that fits your hands,” says Emilie, “and I think these two really do! With the Winner Smooth, I feel like I have a lot of control and it helps to have a soft feel because I think the horse can follow and trust my hand with it.”
As for the Marley Dog Bone Gag, it strikes the perfect balance. According to Emilie, “the Marley Dog Bone Gag bit helps to keep the horse’s body and face ‘square’. You get a little bend from the mouthpiece because it is jointed in three pieces which allows flexibility and enough balance and straighten from the bars. It is a perfect balance of gag and fix.”
The Marley bits in her collection are also a tribute from Emilie to the beloved horse on which she won the BFA Derby World Championship in 2014. The winning run that she had on Marley in 2014 is an especially meaningful memory for Emilie. “I can still feel that run,” says Emilie. “When I have a horse that wants to win, a horse that wants to do the work for you, those are the best memories for me.”
Tragically, Emilie lost Marley to a leg injury so she can attest to the importance of protecting the horse’s legs, in or out of competition. Although losing Marley dimmed Emilie’s passion for barrel racing for a time, she was able to work through that rough patch with the help of a good mentor and the hard work and long hours that she put in the saddle. “If you want to see results,” advises Emilie, “just don’t give up. Find a good mentor and ride with that person as much as you can. That is for the horse. If you don’t want to be the greatest rider in the world, that’s fine, but get the help you need to make sure that you are helping your horses as much as you can.” Emilie believes that concentrating on the rider is the best way to improve the horse. “Just work on yourself and the horse will follow,” she says.
Emilie’s passion for the turn and burn of barrel racing is a family affair. “My mom and dad had horses,” she says. “My mom was a barrel racer and my dad was a bulldogger. They used to go to rodeos everywhere together. My parents bought my horses and they are the ones that pushed me and were behind me. The first year that I came to the United States, I didn’t know any English at all; I was extremely shy. My mom entered me in the World Championship (in 2014) and drove with me to Texas. That was my very first competition ever. I had never even heard of it before. Mom is the one who inspired me the most and she is still my biggest support.”
For professional riders, winning is always a goal, but for Emilie, winning is just the result of good communication with your horse. Winning and training to win are all about the relationship that you have with your horse. “Winning is the goal but it is not everything for me,” Emilie explains. “Sometimes, the horse that just runs well in exhibition is a big win for me. If I could, I would want to win every time that I enter but you win when all the stars are aligned and it’s your time. And when I don’t win, I like to learn so I can do better next time. I know my time will come again.”
Emily has a lot of plans for the future. “In barrel racing, there are so many directions that you can take,” she says. “I would like to make it to the NFR one day. That was my goal with Marley. I am not totally driven by that but when I have a good horse again, then I will try for it. For now, I am concentrating on winning at the Futurities.”
However, Emily’s top priority is always her horses, their training and their future. “My biggest goal,” she explains, “is to take the time it takes to train a great horse. It doesn’t matter the level, they are not all going to be pro level, but to train him to the best of his capabilities. I would love to keep all my horses, but I can’t afford that. Just to have the luxury to place horses that I have trained in families that really want my horses, and for the horse to go on to have a great career, in rodeo or whatever, for the horse to have a great life. That is what I try to give them — a great life.”
The Barrel Racing Collection that Emilie Veillette and Metalab have created will help every horse and rider have a great future. Metalab manufactures the highest quality, safest and most comfortable equestrian products available. Research and development of our products is fostered by our collaboration with experienced riders. We ride it, we test it and only then do we pass it on. Try it for yourself and give your horse a great product and a great life.
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