Custom Search 1

Riding towards Rio


DRESSAGE RIDER Sam Martin is fully aware of the obstacles he has to overcome if he wants to force his way into the British team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The price of Olympic standard horses can reach up to a million pounds, which does not include the additional maintenance costs.

But the 27-year-old from Guilford, Surrey is determined to reach his goal and change the face of equestrian – which has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Games in Paris, France - despite the lack of financial backing.

Martin told the Voice of Sport: “It’s quite difficult to break through at an elite level. Everything I’ve achieved and that I’m doing are with Del Boy horses. They’re £1,000 or £3,000. But the horses on the British team last year – you wouldn’t be able to buy one of them for less than £3 million. I’m trying to highlight the fact that I can change Britain’s equestrian heritage if I was given the opportunity to succeed.”

Martin, whose first experience with horses was as a 10-year-old at Vauxhall City Farm in south London, has been training alongside Olympic gold medallist Carl Hester and he credits the lessons learnt under his tutelage for enhancing his skills.

“It’s been amazing. He (Hester) also learnt how to ride on donkey as I did,” Martin explained.

“It’s like training with Mo Farah if you wanted to do long-distance running. That’s really inspired me. I’m just hoping now because I can train with him that I’ll get some really good horses to ride.”

As a sign of his progression in equestrian, last month Sky Sports named Martin a local hero and was featured on television.

HIGH HOPES: The 27-year-old alongside one of his horses

Speaking about the experience, he said: “It was great. It’s always good to be thought of as a role model. I’ve got role models in my life that I look up to and for me it’s about being relevant to a generation of people. It was also nice to inspire people that are interested in all sports, not just horse riding.”

And describing his emotions should he be a part of the Rio Games, Martin said: “It would be life changing. I’ve put a lot into this as a sportsman, as a tenacious, young entrepreneur; I feel that it would be the end result of eight years of hard work. I started doing this four years ago and I’ve just been nose down, tail up for the whole time. To get to Rio from a career perspective would be great.

“And also to try and change the concept of British equestrian heritage, I think it would be quite good as well. I think it would open the doors for a lot more people from all walks of life to perhaps try give it a go.”

He added: “No one has broken through at the elite level who is not of English heritage and I feel that I’m the one to do that. To get to Rio would feel like I’ve achieved a dream.”

Subscribe to The Voice database!

We'd like to keep in touch with you regarding our daily newsletter, Voice competitions, promotions and marketing material and to further increase our reach with The Voice readers.

If interested, please click the below button to complete the subscription form.

We will never sell your data and will keep it safe and secure.

For further details visit our privacy policy.

You have the right to withdraw at any time, by clicking 'Unsubscribe'.

Facebook Comments