It’s time to really get to know this week’s guest editor for the H&H eventing special, 2014 Badminton winner Sam Griffiths…
1. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monash University, Melbourne, in geography. He can’t remember what grade he got, but it wasn’t a distinction.
2. His favourite food is seafood — he loves lobster and crayfish.
3. Sam is quite partial to champagne — “If an event’s gone well you get champagne, so it has good connotations.”
4. He has an older brother (Mark) and a younger brother (Tom). “My parents were not particularly creative naming us,” smiles Sam. Mark has ridden at three-star and Tom at two-star, although he gave up in his 20s. Mark still rides and his younger daughter, who is in her mid-teens, is very talented — “Nina goes in a 1.20m class with 100 in it and beats everyone. We can expect to see her over here in Britain in the future,” says Sam.
5. His wife Lucy — also a geography graduate — is a keen rider and competed to three-star before having children curtailed her eventing career. The couple have two children — Oliver is three and Eliza just under a year old. Lucy has been hunting with the South and West Wilts, Portman and Blackmore and Sparkford Vale to get back into riding, although Sam has “nicked” her two event horses, Beaurepair Nemo and Angelo IV.
6. He’s a cricket fanatic and likes following all cricket. Obviously he supports Australia in all the big international competitions, and also keeps tabs on the Indian Premier League. “I drive my wife mad when I get up in the morning and check the results!”
6. He has his own vegetable garden — “I thought, ‘We’ve got all this horse shit, what are we going to do with it?’ I enjoy gardening — it sounds like an old man thing, but I lead a hectic life and sometimes it’s good to go in the garden for a bit. Lucy loves it too, so it’s something we do together,” says Sam.
7. Lucy lived on the Isle of Wight before the couple were married and evented from there. The ferry company gave her special rates for taking the lorry on the ferry. “We often trek down there to see her parents and I say the ferry is a ‘one can trip’ because you can drink one can of beer during it — although it’s not so relaxing with the kids!” says Sam.
8. Sam has three key trainers. He works a lot with Gareth Hughes on the dressage as part of the Australian team structure, and also with team coach Prue Barrett. In addition, he trains with Ros Morgan (née Bevan) on the jumping side.
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9. Sam particularly likes sea fishing, which he did a lot in Australia, and fly fishing, although he doesn’t get much chance to do it now.