Emile Faurie is one of Britain’s top international dressage riders, who has been competing at the very highest level of the sport for almost 30 years.
He has ridden at two Olympic Games, four World Equestrian Games (WEG) and six European Championships.
Emile’s early career
Emile Faurie was born on 15 October, 1963, in Cape Town, South Africa, where he grew up “pestering” his parents for riding lessons. He finally started riding aged 15.
Emile moved to the UK in 1980, aged 16, and spent three years as a working pupil at The Talland School of Equitation under the late Molly Sivewright. From there, he moved to Germany to work for Performance Sales International in Hagen, training young horses and preparing them for auction. This kickstarted an ongoing relationship collaboration with Hof Kasselmann, run by Ullrich and Bianca Kasselmann.
Emile’s championship success
Emile broke into the international dressage scene as a competitor with Virtu, whom he joined forces with after the horse’s previous rider, Carl Hester, went to work for Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer.
Virtu took Emile to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 after just one year competing at grand prix, and the pair also won Britain’s first ever senior championship team medal – silver – at the 2993 European championships in Lipica, Slovenia, riding alongside Laura Fry, Richard Davison and Ferdi Eilberg. Emile and Virtu also won individual bronze, and were crowned British national champions the same year, and in 1994.
His next championship horse was Legrini, with whom he competed at the 1997 Europeans at Verden, Germany, and the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome, having trained him from a four-year-old.
Then in 2000, Emile rode at his second Olympics Games, in Sydney, partnering the diminutive Danish warmblood gelding Rascher Hopes. The combination also helped win team bronze at the 2003 European Championships held at Hickstead.
From 2010 until 2012, Emile’s top horse was Joanne Vaughn’s Michellino gelding Elmegardens Marquis. With “Max”, Emile made a return to the British team after eight years and was part of the gold medal-winning quartet at the Rotterdam European Championships in 2011, riding alongside Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, Carl Hester and Uthopia and Laura Tomlinson (née Bechtolsheimer) on Mistral Højris. He was named as reserve for the London 2012 Olympics.
Emile next competed on a British team in 2017, where he rode alongside Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton to finish fourth. Emile was originally selected on Weekend Fun, but a slight injury to the Welt Hit II gelding meant he ended up competing aboard reserve horse Lollipop 126.
The following year, Emile teamed up with the Dimaggio son Dono Di Maggio, then owned by Hof Kasselmann, and was selected for the British WEG team alongside Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton. The team won bronze – Britain’s first dressage medal since the retirement of Valegro.
Dono Di Maggio was sold to young Greek rider Theodora Livanos in 2019, but Emile was passed the ride again in 2020 after Theodora was diagnosed with osteomyelitis. Since her recovery, Emile has continued to train Theodora and compete Dono Di Maggio, with an eye on selection for the British team for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
Emile Faurie has been based at Heath Farm in Oxfordshire since his return to the UK from Germany, where his current head rider is grand prix competitor Tom Goode.
The Emile Faurie Foundation
In 2006 Emile set up the Emile Faurie Foundation, which helps introduce school children to riding, in an effort to help remove the barriers to entering the sport. So far, the foundation has helped many thousands of children, particularly from urban backgrounds, gain access to horses and riding.
Emile also spent four years, from 2013 to 2017, as Finland’s dressage team trainer, before reigniting his collaboration with Hof Kasselmann as training supervisor and rider for the next two years. Emile is also a List Two British Dressage judge.