Native show producer Sam Roberts burst onto the show scene aged 12 when she won the mountain and moorland (M&M) supreme at Olympia in 1998 riding the Welsh section B gelding Harwell Wizard.
Since she started her career, Sam has trained and ridden a host of top ponies and has gone on to win the Olympia final on two other occassions as well as classes and championships at both the Royal International (RIHS) and Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
“I was so fortunate to have him when I was just 12 years old,” says Sam of the 12.2hh gelding Harwell Wizard when H&H’s showing editor Alex Robinson chatted to her on episode 23 of The Horse & Hound podcast.
“He did everything; I jumped him, took him to Pony Club and I showed him. He was full of character and I fell off him about as many times as I stayed on him. He was a once in a lifetime pony.”
Sam lists other influential ponies who have helped accelerate her to the very top of her game:
“I’ve been very lucky to have some fabulous ponies who’ve given me incredible memories,” she enthuses. “I had a half share in Welsh section A stallion Cwmbachstel Dion who won five HOYS working hunter pony qualifiers in his first season, which is pretty good going for a novice! He went on to win HOYS by five marks and stand champion. He was bought out of a railway carriage by Mandy Burchell-Small. We had brilliant fun and he went on to take the family we sold him to to HOYS.”
“There was also Welsh section B stallion Millcroft Iska Rock who won HOYS as a worker and then two years later on the flat. He was a huge character and we had a turbulent time together; before he won HOYS for the second time I’d broken my leg and he’d come back from injury and illness. It was a fairytale result.
“I also had the ride on the Welsh section B Bronheulog Harvey who went onto win HOYS and Olympia.”
Sam knew she wanted to pursue a career as a show producer once she finished her exams at school:
“I was one of those mad keen kids that did a bit of everything, until I was around nine or ten and got the opportunity to ride some show ponies for the Jago family. I got absolutely hooked.
“As I grew up I rode some amazing ponies and it was always the dream; like lots of little girls all I wanted to do was ride ponies and go to shows everyday for the rest of my life. I had no idea that I would be able to make it all the way as a job. It’s taken a lot of hard work, graft and time but I kept my head down and kept working hard.
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“When I left school at 16 I went off for a bit to work at various yards to gain experience. I’d only ever had experience of doing it my way; to buy young ponies and sell them before buying again, as this was the only way we could afford to do it. I then came back and found a little yard and was determined to make a go of things. I’m still surprised I can do it as a job now. I’m living the dream.”
If you’d like to hear more from Sam, including some of her most special horses so far and much more listen here to episode 23 of The Horse & Hound podcast or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.
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