Canadian teenager Walker aiming for Nations Cup, Olympics, future top 10 ranking

Sam Walker and Coralissa at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival
Credit : Sportfot

Tuesday 26 March - 10h40 | Ian Clayton

Canadian teenager Walker aiming for Nations Cup, Olympics, future top 10 ranking

Currently ranked 815th in the world, 17-year-old Canadian show jumper Sam Walker has his sights set on bigger things. And the winner of this month's George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival has a plan mapped out to reach those objectives.

 - Canadian teenager Walker aiming for Nations Cup, Olympics, future top 10 ranking

At the Longines Deauville Classic
Credit : LDC

“I’d love to represent Canada on a Nations Cup team by the time I’m 18 years old, because that’s when I become eligible to do five-stars,” Walker told Noëlle Floyd before his victory in Florida. “Long term, I would love to get myself into a top-10 spot in the world — that’s one of my dreams. I’m really going to work hard for that.”

Having started horseback riding as a young child with his first pony Poptart, the Ontario native has graduated to bigger and bigger courses over the years, racking up some impressive victories along the way. Notably, Walker and Waldo captured the ASPCA Maclay Champion at the 2018 National Horse Show last November (watch here), as well as the CSI 1* Prix Coca-Cola at the Longines Deauville Classic in France last year. 

"The first show that we did in France was Dinard," the teenager recalled in a 2018 interview with Equestrian Ontario. "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."

Having been taught by Missy Clark and John Brennan at North Run in Vermont for several years, Walker shared some ‘lessons learned’ with NF’s Nina Fedrizzi earlier this month. Among his tips for other developing riders: “The same set of skills works in every ring. The five most important skills [my parents have taught me] when it comes to riding are: pace, line, distance, impulsion, and rhythm. These are a few of the most important things that you need if you’re going to have a successful round in the hunter, jumper, or equitation rings.”

And while as Fedrizzi notes it is “impossible to ever truly predict a future champion,” Walker’s coach Clark told Fedrizzi's NF colleague Lizzy Youngling that he has the full package. “Sam’s talent, work ethic, determination, and ‘smarts’ are some of the noteworthy traits which contribute to his success.”

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