altSamsons Fire (Sam) was bred by the Hollands family of Uplands Ranch in Balzac, Alberta and was born in June of 1999. His sire is the Arabian stallion Morning Sun of Fire and his dam, Cindy, a 3/4 Arabian 1/4 Morgan mare. Leanna Marchant first saw Sam when she was looking for a stallion to breed her mare to. He was shown as one of the offspring of a potential stud. Sam stayed in her mind and she went back two months later to buy him…thus beginning their successful journey into the sports of competitive trail and endurance.

 

Their first year as a team was mainly spent conditioning, with a few competitions at limited distance rides to give Sam some experience. He showed his potential early on, placing well at these initial rides. He also showed he was a horse with a mind of his own. Everything was a compromise and Leanna spent many miles negotiating with him until finally settling on: she would tell him where she wanted him to go and he would get her there. There was no micromanaging of this sure-footed little steed.

altDuring their second year, Leanna focused on competitive trail competitions to provide a solid foundation of steady pace on all terrain at distances of 50 miles. Sam finished the year as Alberta Lightweight Champion, Alberta Grand Champion and Alberta Highpoint Champion in competitive trail -- an amazing achievement for his first major year of competition.

2006 was again spent in competitive trail with the Canadian Championships (held every two years) being hosted in Quebec. Leanna and Sam qualified for the team and in the 2-day, 80-mile course, finished 5th lightweight in Canada and were part of the silver medal winning team. They also achieved Alberta Lightweight Champion and Alberta Grand Champion for the 2nd year in a row.

altIn 2008, the Canadian Championships were hosted in Alberta and, despite some setbacks during training, Sam brought home Individual Gold, Canadian Champion, the highest achievement possible in competitive trail. With this pinnacle achieved, it was now time to move into the 100-mile endurance to see if they could qualify for the Canadian team to compete at the World Equestrian Games in 2010. Leanna and Sam travelled to Oregon for their first 100-mile FEI race and completed it in 14 hours and 55 minutes starting at 5 a.m. and finishing just before midnight.

2009 was the year to achieve the CoC (Certificate of Capability) time to qualify to represent Canada. The 100-mile race must be finished under the CoC time of 12 hours and 18 minutes.  Sam achieved this in May completing 100 miles in 11 hours and 28 minutes and also managed to pull off the best condition award. Best condition is judged from the top 10 finishing horses, the horse that is in the best condition to continue. Sam completed the 100 miles barefoot in front after pulling off both shoes on the trail.

altIn the 6 years that Leanna has owned Sam, he has proven himself time and again. He is truly an Albertan, as he does not like hot, humid weather and really shines when conditions are absolutely miserable. He has carried Leanna over terrain she didn’t know that she would walk across, in the dead of night when only he could see where they were going. The trust she has in this little iron horse (a nickname another rider gave him) is boundless. He has never let her down and always gives her everything he has. Sam and Leanna now have over 2000 competition miles, with almost triple that in training miles, and he is just coming into his prime.

This successful team is now working to represent Canada on the international stage with the support of some generous Alberta businesses. This level of competition is an expensive and difficult undertaking, but if Leanna has even half the heart and toughness of her mount Sam, they are sure to be in Kentucky in 2010.

For more information on Leanna & Sam’s journey to the World Equestrian Games, email Leanna at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .