Based out of: Forest Hill Farm – Caledon, Ontario
I started riding at age 3 with my first pony Poptart, Who I did my first walk trot class on in Ocala, Florida in 2005. Poptart and I then moved up to do the Short Stirrups and the My First Medal class later that year. My very first horse was named Lincoln. Lincoln was a 17.2 Percheron Cross that I rode in the Children’s Hunters when I was 8 years old. My fondest memory was waking up on a Saturday morning and asking my Dad, “If I’m champion this week, can I stop doing the hunters?” Well, Lincoln and I ended up champion that week and so it was my last week showing in the Children’s Hunters. Unfortunately, Lincoln passed away this year at the age of 23.
My first jumper was “Flying Solo”. The first show I did on Solo was at the Collingwood Horse show in 2011. I remember winning my very first jumper class on her, the 0.80m Jr/Am Jump-off. I then showed Solo in the pony jumpers and up to the 1.10m division over the next 2 years. After Solo, I got a very speedy jumper named “Winnipeg Jet” for my 12th birthday in 2014. Jetta was the one that taught me how to ride much faster to much bigger jumps. I showed her up to the 1.30m level that same year.
After the experience of riding Solo, Jetta, and lots of others, I was able to jump my first Grand Prix on my horse “Andino Z” when I was 13 years old. I have had the privilege of riding many fantastic horses so far, such as my current Grand Prix horse Acardi du Houssoit Z. I have jumped “Acardi” in many National Grand Prixs in Canada and the United States.
I am proud of my amazing sponsors that support me every step of the way. All of my clothing, saddles, tack, coolers, blankets and outerwear are all supplied by Equiline America. Stirrups, spurs and bits are supplied by Lorenzini of Italy. My boots are supplied by Filli Fabbri of Italy. My helmets by GPA of France, my tack trunks by Equestrian Essentials, and my horse therapy units by Respond Systems. I have also learned a lot about contracts so far!
This season I had the opportunity of showing in both Belgium and France. I competed in my first FEI class starting in July at the Knokke, Hippique horse show in Belgium. After showing for a week in Belgium, we headed to France. The first show that we did in France was Dinard. The ring in Dinard was like nothing I have ever experienced, it was a huge, 100 year old grass ring with pink borders and pink flowers all around it.
The next show in France was the “Longines Deauville Classic”. This show is where I had my very first FEI win in the 1* Longines, Coca-Cola Grand Prix. This truly was a once in a lifetime experience! Deauville was the last show of our European tour, so we packed our things and jumped on a plane to come back to Canada.
My next stop was at Angelstone in Rockwood, Ontario. I rode two horses in the Canadian Hunter Derby Series: “Miracle” and “Casidor Di Corvo”. Miracle and I won the Ontario zone last year in the Junior Hunter division and had numerous top placings in the Canadian Hunter Derby Series. This year we won a Canadian Hunter Derby Series Class at Angelstone. We ended the series with a top 8 finish in the Canadian Hunter Derby Final at the Royal Winter Fair.
My American riding and training is with Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run in Wellington, Florida. This season started in January in Wellington Florida. It included stops in Devon, HITS, Tryon, Kentucky, Lake Placid, Vermont, Palgrave, and Angelstone. It continued on to Belgium, Holland, France, and right back to Angelstone and Palgrave again. The American Gold Cup, Harrisburg, Washington, New England, The National, and finally, the Royal. We had a whirlwind tour on the USA fall indoor circuit. There, I rode my amazing equitation partner “Waldo”, to third place finishes in the USEF Hunter Seat Medal final, and third in the Washington Medal final. We also won the high point championship at the New England Medal finals.
I finished the season with the little horse “Miracle”. He was a very last minute substitute into the Jump Canada Medal Final at the Royal. This top hunter was an amazing equitation horse that day. We won the Jump Canada National Medal Championship!
Over the course of the year I have had many unforgettable experiences and top placings in the Hunter, Jumper, and Equitation rings. I would like to thank my amazing owners, sponsors, horses, team and my parents for making this year one I will never forget!
Follow Sam on Instagram – @saamwalker
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