‘The FEI wouldn’t believe me when I registered him’ — why one horse’s unusual name is causing giggles on the jumping circuit

  • “Shows keep telling me that I’ve put the rider’s name instead of the horse,” says Georgie Strutton of her relatively new ride for owner Beverley Widdowson.

    “And the FEI wouldn’t believe me when I registered him!”

    The horse in question, a six-year-old by Luidam x Le Tot De Semilly, has the unforgettable, if slightly confusing, name “M Sampson”.

    The gelding earned his unusual moniker when showjumper Matt Sampson was based at breeder Lea Popely’s yard.

    “Matt was there at the birth and, because they’re both redheads, Lea decided it was the perfect name,” explains Georgie, who was seen competing the chestnut at Brook Farm show on 16 June.

    Despite a foot in the penultimate water jump in the newcomers qualifier — “He’s never seen one before,” says Georgie — the equine M Sampson certainly impressed everyone watching and looks set to be a star of the future.

    “He’s already through to the HOYS grade C and talent seekers finals,” says Georgie, who also claimed victory in a 1.30m class at the show riding Old Lodge’s Khaled OL.

    “Qualifiers put so much pressure on horse and rider that I wanted to give him a fun class,” she explained.

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    The pair have already picked up some good results on the Sunshine Tour in Vejer De La Frontera earlier this year. Beverley Widdowson, owner of Nick Skelton’s dual Olympic gold medal-winning ride Big Star and Michael Whitaker’s top stallion Cassionato, must be very excited about this addition to her stable.

    The class, and a coveted ticket to the final at Horse of the Year Show, was won in impressive style by Abbe Burchmore-Eames riding the Belgian-bred Javko Du Flory (Andiamo Z x Skippy II)

    >> You can read the full report from Brook Farm, as well as all the action from the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting, in the next issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 28 June.

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