Show jumper Emilie Conter on what she has learned from horses & competing

Emilie Conter has been around horses for her whole life and nowadays she is a professional show jumper. She is also doing more and more of the business side by buying and selling horses for Stephex Stables, which is a company founded by her parents. She says she doesn’t really know anything else and wouldn’t change a thing, working in the equestrian world is what she knows and loves best.

Emilie is from Belgium, but spends the winter seasons in Wellington, USA, where she lives with her sister. They were born into an equestrian family and ended up following the family tradition of show jumping and being in the equestrian business. Their father had some clients in the States which is how they ended up training there as well.

Emilie’s advice for young riders hoping to become professionals:
“Don’t give up on your dreams, because dreams do come true.”

“The weather is good, you don’t have to stay indoors. It’s nice for the business, too, when you get to reach out to more people in America”, Emilie explains the reasoning behind spending the winters abroad.

She started her competition career in show jumping at a very yung age, having been around four years old when she attended her first competition. Competing has been a passion of hers pretty much ever since. She has been a great asset for the Belgian national team and has medals from various championships, so she knows how it’s done.

“I’m a competitive person myself. It’s about doing the best you can together with your horse. The feeling afterwards is amazing.”

Being very competitive has its downside as well. Emilie recalls how she used to be very disappointed after setbacks and it has required some mental work to fix that mindset. She started to work with a mental coach some years ago to improve her performance.

“You have to make this change in your head and say: ok, this is what I learned. What did I do well in that course? What could I do better?”

Emilie has worked on her concentration to be at her best at every competition. It can be hard for her to stay focused at times, but she has found a way to pay attention. She puts her focus on the horse she is riding, and the typical challenges or needs of that horse. Understanding the horse and focusing on specific details to make the connection between her and the horse perfect is what helps her stay on track and succeed.


“Keep working hard, because that will give you so much in return”, she advises and says how you should keep being consistent and never give up.

She doesn’t easily get nervous, she can be relaxed even to a point where she needs to make herself more alert and ready to compete. She performs better under pressure, which is a huge asset for a high level competitor, but also a challenge when things feel easier.

“In the last two years I’ve come to the realization that I really like pressure”, she says. “If I’m just like, oh, this is just a warm up class, then I’m not focused enough. And then I make mistakes. So it’s better to put on some pressure and be ready every time I go in the ring.”

Emilie’s advice for young riders hoping to become professionals: “Don’t give up on your dreams, because dreams do come true.”

Being patient and working hard is what she believes in and has learned from horses. Sometimes horses need time to adapt, so you should give it to them and not rush into bigger classes or new things too quickly.

“Keep working hard, because that will give you so much in return”, she advises and says how you should keep being consistent and never give up.

Emilie has learned a lot from her idols and thinks it’s good to have someone to look up to. If you want to be the best in the sport, you have to learn from the best in the sport. She has watched a lot of performances by her idols, such as her trainer Helena Stormanns.

To stay focused and become as good as her idols Emilie does more than just riding. A good night’s sleep is one of the things she’s found helpful. When fully rested, she finds everything a bit easier and her riding better. She also pays attention to what she eats and is trying to establish a good routine for her nutrition.

Last year Emilie noticed her body control wasn’t as good as it could have been when she was competing in a Grand Prix show and had a bit of a balance issue in the saddle. But luckily for her, around that time Laura contacted her from Equestrain and Emilie was instantly interested. She wanted to be better and more balanced in the saddle, so starting to do workouts to get there was exactly what she needed.

“I have way more body control. It has improved in such a short time that it is amazing actually”, she says after working with Laura for some weeks. She is working out four or five times a week and has noticed her hips being less stiff and her seat being straighter.

Emilie used to have a personal trainer, but those hour long workouts were a bit heavy after all the riding, and at the end she didn’t feel very motivated to do the workouts. But Equestrain has shown her a different way of doing things.

“I really like the workouts. Like if you have a busy day, you can do a pre ride routine or an evening relax routine. If you have a less busy day, you can do a more intense workout”, she explains the flexibility of the options.

Noticing the effects of the workouts are helping her to stay consistent and motivated. It’s easier to start doing a workout when you know exactly how good it will make you feel: “I always feel better and more loose in my body.”

It may have all started with a horse loving, supportive family introducing her to the sport, but becoming a successful show jumper has required a bit more than that. Paying attention to all the aspects that can make you perform better, finding that connection to your horse and never giving up are some of the things Emilie has clearly found beneficial along the way.

“If you keep on going and keep working, even if it’s hard, then it turns out well. I’ve learned that.”

Next up she wants to dig even deeper into her health and wellbeing, take her younger horses to bigger classes and keep doing what she loves. We are happy to be a part of that journey.

You can follow Emilie Conter and her journey on her Instagram