The first episode of Season 15, titled "Moving Toward the Light," introduces us to "Sylvie," a performer for the equestrian show "Dark Horse." Back in Season 2, Amy was given the chance to be the star performer for "Dark Horse;" an opportunity that she turned down.
Sylvie, played by Sarah Booth, stepped into the role for Dark Horse. Sarah tells us about her character.
"10 years ago, Amy had the opportunity to become the head trainer of a show called Dark Horse, which was run by Renard. Amy turned down the job and I got it. Sylvie is a French Canadian horse trainer and the lead trainer for Dark Horse. She's been the lead trainer for 10 years now."
Being an experienced horsewoman, and a fan of the show, working on Heartland was a dream come true for Sarah.
"I have been dreaming of being on Heartland for so long because I grew up watching Heartland and I also grew up riding horses. It was not only a dream of mine, because I was a fan of the show, but also a dream of mine because I could bring two of my passions together, which was incredible. I'd never worked closely with horses on set to that extent.
"It was such an amazing experience! Keeps you on your toes. Our director for the episode Pierre Tremblay said they don't like to listen to continuity notes. You have to work with what they throw at you in each scene. It was amazing ... I grew up riding dressage, doing some eventing and doing local fairs, pony club, that kind of stuff."
Sarah had nothing but good things to say about the set, and about working with Amber herself.
"It was honestly awesome to watch Amber work on set because she knows the horses; knows how to choose them. A big part of producing a show is being in the moment. It was just amazing to watch her be like, okay, so this horse won't do that. Or this horse bites a little bit. So let's not put that one in the scene, but we can work around it. You know, she just knows this world so well. It was really fun to adapt on set to the specific choreography."
When asked how being a Heartland fan affected her experience on set, she had this to say:
"Working on set was fantastic. Just going to the ranch, you know ... . Heartland is also my mom's number one favorite show. So just being able to be there, share photos on the day. I wouldn't share them with anyone else, but [sharing with] my mom was very special. I think that was a really a great experience to kind of be able to share that with her. Just kind of seeing all the iconic things ... I'm in the barn; I'm in the house, that's Grandpa's truck, that's Shadow. I got to ride Shadow for my riding lesson."
Working with children and animals is one of the more exciting things to do when filming -- and Sarah agrees.
"Any time you're with the Spencer twins [Emmanuella and Ruby Spencer, who play Lyndy Borden] is a good time. They keep you on your toes. Whenever they were on set, everyone gets really excited. [There were] definitely, good, funny moments .., they throw some improv in there -- they're kids, or they say a line in a certain way that you're like, oh my gosh, I would have never imagined coming out like that, but it works so well. That was great.
"The horses ... sometimes you're doing a scene and it's a little bit more dramatic and all of a sudden [the] horse just decides to start eating your hair or bumping you in the face. You just have to keep on going. I would say the animals and the children have just all on our toes,"
As for future projects, Sarah is currently working on a TV series that is close to home.
"I'm working on a television show right now that shoots in a kind of, not exactly my hometown, but my home area near Montreal. And it's based on the best-selling books of a Canadian author named Louise Penny, and the series is called Three Pines. It's a detective series. I'm really, really excited for it to be coming out next year. It's for Amazon and I'm just happy to be home shooting, close to the family; it's really great."
The 15th season of Heartland starts Oct. 17, 2021, and airs on Sundays on CBC at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. in Newfoundland).
Sarah's social media channels are as follows:
Photo credit: Heartland Season 15
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