Grand Prix rider Eiren Crawford has a number of up-and-coming prospects in her Edmonton, Alberta barn. But Godot SSF (aka Sammy) stands out from the crowd. Could he be the one Eiren’s been waiting for? Get to know this happy-go-lucky Olympic hopeful.
Show name: Godot SSF
Barn name: Sammy. He is named after the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.
Year of birth: 2011
Breeding: KWPN by UB40 x BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz)
Breeder: Bred by and owned in partnership with Scot Tolman/Shooting Star Farm in New Hampshire, USA
Eiren and Sammy made their CDI Grand Prix debut at the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and qualified for the Grand Prix Freestyle under the lights, where they scored 70.2%
How long have you been paired with Sammy?
How/where did you find him?
I purchased a colt from Shooting Star Farm based on the bloodlines, one photo, and Scot’s reputation as a breeder. When I went to meet my new colt, Scot showed me his other horses, including a three-year-old Sammy.
What was your initial impression of him?
Scot turned him out in a small paddock and within three steps of trotting I wanted that horse!
What made you think he might be a top-level prospect?
I loved how he used every joint in his body when he moved. Super hind leg, lovely natural suspension, but with relaxed swing through the whole body. I thought his trot was balanced and dynamic and then I saw the canter and walk – wow!
Describe his personality in one word.
What’s his greatest strength?
Sammy’s greatest strength is his outstanding character. Really and truly I have never had such a willing and clever horse.
What’s his biggest challenge?
Playing nice with other horses! Turnout neighbours are a challenge.
What is his funniest habit?
Sammy will not leave the mounting block until he gets a sugar cube (or other snack) on both sides. I think a bomb could go off next to him but he Will Not Move His Feet until he gets that treat.
What is his favourite treat?
Anything and everything. He is the hungriest horse I have ever met, and I have totally enabled his snacking habits. (I’m also a big fan of eating, so we share that.) I will let him graze with the bridle on while out for a hack and I like to share a glass of champagne with him after a good show.
Is there anything he hates or is afraid of?
He’s not afraid of much, but if another animal (dog or goat) tries to get near his food he gets all sorts of ugly.
If Sammy were a human celebrity, who would he be?
I’ve been told Sammy is like Fred Astaire. He looks great in a suit and boy, can he dance! I think he may also be like Trevor Noah, always able to find something clever or funny about any situation.
Most embarrassing/funniest moment with him so far?
At our first show ever together, we were doing the FEI 4-year-old test in Wellington. Sammy had an honest spook at some flowers, nearly tossing me in the sand. There are some hilarious pictures! But that’s when I knew he was a good egg, because he didn’t actually try to get me off and we even won the class.
If he wasn’t a dressage horse, what would his dream occupation be?
Hmmm… maybe a food critic? Ice cream salesman? Professional gamer?
What are your future plans with Sammy?
Sammy did his first Grand Prix at eight years old. We campaigned at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida this past winter but as a nine-year-old it was honestly a little too early for him to be successful at the CDI level (although we had SO MUCH FUN doing our freestyle to a 70%!). We will take the next year and keep building strength and stamina, keep training and hopefully head to Florida again next winter and declare for the Olympics in 2021.