Sam

Photo courtesy of Marie de Ronde-Oudemans
(2002 – )
Owned by Misdee Wrigley Miller
Inducted: 2014

Photos

Photo courtesy of Janene Jennings
Prior to the 2013 season, Sam had always been a stalwart for owner and driver Misdee Wrigley-Miller and many times had worn the title of champion, but in 2013 he stepped up his game when he was needed most.

The talented Dutch warmblood gelding continually demonstrated an abundance of heart throughout his career with a particular aptitude for the coaching discipline, capturing many of the top honors bestowed annually in the United States. Whether as a wheeler or leader, Sam enjoyed the pace and elegance the reserved sport had to offer.

On occasion, he had even stepped into the harness to compete in combined Driving competition, where speed, grit, adjustability, and power are the name of the game, but in the summer of 2013 Sam was asked to compete on the world stage, and his answer was a resounding yes "“ an answer that earned him the title of International Horse of Honor by the United States Equestrian Federation.

In 2013, Wrigley-Miller focused on the sport of combined driving with her sights firmly set on representing the United States at the FEI World Driving Championship for Pairs in Topolcianky, Slovakia, over the summer. When Wrigley-Miller was selected to represent the U.S. at the FEI World Driving Championship for Pairs, it very much looked like Sam would enjoy a light year, as the talented driver took a hiatus from coaching.

All that changed over the summer, when, while training in Germany for the World Championships, the anchor of Wrigley-Miller's pair came up lame. With limited time before the final prep for those championships, there was only one option. Sam would need to board a Trans-Atlantic flight and immediately enter intensive training.

After only 10 days in Germany, Sam traveled to the CAI Riesenbeck. While he was light on match practice and fitness, the gelding used his immense heart and desire to drive alongside an inexperienced partner and help the U.S. to a fourth-place finish, the best placing by an American team at the prestigious competition.

With just three weeks left until the Championships in Slovakia, training was kicked up another notch. Even so, Sam headed to the training field every morning bright, alert, and ready to tackle whatever challenges were presented.

Seventy competitors from 21 Nations traveled to Slovakia to stake their claim on Team and Individual medals. Following the dressage, they stood in fifth place after a spectacular effort in the first phase. It was a fight to the end and when all was over the U.S. team posted the best result at a Pairs World Championship in recent history. Finishing in fourth place as a team, the Americans ended up a mere five points out of Bronze medal position in an epic performance.

Sam arrived in Europe as a "˜hail Mary' substitute and left as the star performer of the U.S. team on the strength of his enormous heart. Against all odds, Sam delivered the performance of a lifetime.