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Samantha Lam: An equestrian's life

Posted on March 07 2018

Samantha Lam: An equestrian's life

Very few times in life will you come across people that have excelled as much as this woman has in a sport that, for the vast majority, is usually known only through television. Tenacious, disciplined, perseverant, and welcoming are some of the adjectives that would describe the Equestrian Samantha Lam.

Currently mentoring and inspiring young athletes, we sat down with Samantha Lam to find out more about her life as an equestrian and mother.

From the beginning…

Samantha was introduced to horses when she was taken to stable by her father at the age of seven. Her father, who had previously ridden horses in Hong Kong and boarding school in the UK, noticed that she enjoyed interacting with horses so he decided to register her for equestrian lessons thinking she would give up after several falls. Little did he know, that this was just the beginning of an olympic career. A career that has always been supported by her parents, in some part because they both had a taste for the equestrian life from their younger years.

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When the Olympic dream started…

Samantha’s realization happened while watching the Equestrian show jumping in 1988 Olympics in Seoul Korea. Since that day forward she was determined to make that her dream. Showing a lot of promise as a young rider and with the full support of her parents, she trained and managed to do the olympic trials while she was 18 years old achieving the category of second-reserve. 

A small detour…

After presenting the olympic trials, her path was put on hold as she moved to Germany to continue a training career and work to make a living. Nevertheless, when the 2008 Beijing Olympics were announced and she found out that Hong Kong was cohosting city it made sense to naturalize as a Chinese citizen get her Hong Kong passport as both her parents are from this territory.  In her words, “things ended up falling into place into a lot of hard work, disappointments and ups and downs”. 

It is with this hard-work and determination that she managed to compete in the Hong Kong 2008 Summer Olympics, secure the team bronze at the National Games in Jinan, China in 2009, and earn Hong Kong’s first equestrian medal, team bronze, at the Asian Games in Guangzhou. 

Family…

Samantha met Chris, her husband, in the end of 2006 while she was training in Belgium, before the Olympics. It was a relationship meant to happen as they ended up meeting in a party that was for Equestrians. That was a start of a bicultural relationship that has grown into a marriage with two kids that moved from Belgium to Vancouver and that has managed to balance both her Canadian/Chinese roots with his Belgian upbringing.

The future…

Sporting life can be very fulfilling career but depending of the sport, some careers do come to an end, with Equestrian a person can ride and compete well into the 70s if they have the health and the financials to do so.

For her children, she advocates for having active children and believes they will get the screen time through Education.

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Her advice for the parents of children that wish to pursue an Equestrian career:

It is a very time-consuming activity and rewarding one when they have a connection with the horse. The downfalls is that it is a very expensive sport. Depending on the level of commitment, the costs of professional Equestrian can be as expensive as professional sailing and formula 1. For Beginners lessons, you can be paying around $80 CAD for a private lesson of 45 minutes.

It can also be dangerous if the rules are not taught since the very beginning. Having a good foundation of the sport is very important.

People want to know…

What is the best age to start Equestrian?

“In order for a child to really understand the directions and the lessons, the age of five would be a great age to start; however, she knows people that have started later and have developed really quickly. It would depend on each individual child and the positive experiences that they have.”

What are the renown brands for this sport and that you would recommend buying for those that are beginning?

“My favorite brands are Cavalleria Toscana, Carma, Samshield and Selleria Equipe. I have been lucky enough to have these brands sponsor me! But I would still buy these brands even if they didn’t! They are all top quality!” 

Samantha is currently residing in Vancouver and is Mentoring Elite kids at the Langley Equestrian Academy. If you are interested in contacting her you can do so at samanthalamhk@gmail.com, phone (+1) 604-767-6481 or at www.samanthalam.com

 

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