Samantha Felton – Top New Zealand Eventor
With adventure born into the blood after being raised on a sail boat cruising around the South Pacific in early childhood, equestrian eventer Sam Felton was destined to push the limits.
As a current member of the New Zealand Talent Development squad and the latest sponsored rider for Team Fiber Fresh, Sam has championed seven national titles since 2009 and also represented New Zealand in 2012 to win team gold in the Young Rider Trans-Tasman Challenge.
Sam and her family are based in Matangi, Hamilton, with Sam Felton Eventing including a team of six horses, coaching clinics and also recently started buying, schooling up and sell horses.
In 2014 Sam was crowned the National CIC two-star Horse of the Year champion, winning five of the six FEI two-star events she entered and placing second in the other.
She was crowned National One Day Eventing Champion in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Individual Young Rider National One Day Champion in 2012.
In 2011 Sam won the National Senior Individual NZPCA U21 event, winning the National Pre-Novice One Day Championships the previous year (2010) and the four year old Young Event Horse National Championships in 2009.
“We’ve been using Fiber Fresh feeds for a long time because it provides really good condition, energy and stamina for cross country and three-day eventing.
“Our horses are often competing three weekends in a row, with only a couple of days’ recovery, so their muscles are consistently tested –Fiber Fresh helps their muscles regenerate and the horses always do really well on it.
“With competitions, horses are out of their home environment for such a long time, which makes it even more important to feed them well. Our horses never come away from events worse off than when they started and always maintain their condition.”
Sam also uses FiberProtect on horses with suspected ulcers, especially if they’ve come from the racetrack and FiberEdge.
“It’s for all the scientific reasons that we feed Fiber Fresh, but as riders we look at the end results.
“It’s so exciting to be part of the Fiber Fresh team.”
Long term, Sam aims to follow in the footsteps of equestrian greats such as Mark Todd, Caroline Powel and Jonathan Paget by representing New Zealand at the World Equestrian Games and Olympics.
“The support from Fiber Fresh gives me that competitive edge to continue this New Zealand legacy on the international stage.”
Sam is regarded as one of the most stylish and effective riders on the world stage.
Sam was based and competed in Europe for 18 years, mostly riding under the Bulgarian flag. During this period Sam rode at the Sydney Olympics and a World Cup Final in Las Vegas, European Championships at Arnhem, Manheim, Hickstead, Donnaueschingen, San Patrigano, World Championships at Jerez and Aachen and at Kentucky back under the Kiwi banner. Sam changed her nationality back to New Zealand when she relocated back to her home town of Cambridge, New Zealand.
Sam is utilising her extensive knowledge gained from her time in Europe and she is coaching and mentoring a lot of the country’s aspiring show jump riders from junior rider level to Grand Prix.
Hannah and Briar Burnett-Grant have recently joined Team Fiber Fresh, as the latest sponsored riders. Based in Taupo, the sisters compete in the sport of showjumping and have both represented New Zealand against Australia, with Briar also representing New Zealand at the 2013 World Championships in Mexico.
With a number of achievements under their belts, Hannah (21) and Briar (14) have big ambitions for their showjumping careers. Hannah is currently training towards becoming a commercial pilot, while Briar is at secondary school in Taupo.
Parents Dave and Karen are also part of the successful Burnett-Grant team and have recently started breeding horses to help with Hannah and Briar’s showjumping ambitions.
“We’ve been using Fiber Fresh for years and it’s a product we’re really behind, so partnering with Fiber Fresh is pretty exciting. The horses go so well on it and they always look fit and well.”
At the age of 16, Hannah was the youngest member of a New Zealand adult team who competed in Western Australia and gained the top score for the team. She was the NZ Junior Rider Series winner in 2010 and National Champion, and has won or been placed in many Young Rider Classes and Open Classes in the past three years.
At an international level Hannah was a member of the winning New Zealand team in Category A at the 2010 FEI World Jumping Challenge for riders 15 – 18 and was also placed third individually at the event.
At the Horse of the Year show in March 2014 she was placed third in the 1.30m Horse of the Year Championship Class.
Hannah’s goals include winning Lady Rider of the Year and competing at World Cup level.
At 14, Briar competes on ponies as well as horses. She has enjoyed a lot of success, winning her first Horse of the Year title at the age of 10 in the Pony 6 Bar Competition, where she cleared a height of 1.60m and began competing in the Pony Grand Prix Series at age 11, winning and placing in nearly all her events.
She is the only rider in NZ and Australia to have won the FEI Children’s International Qualifier in three consecutive years, 2012, 2013 and 2014. At the World Championships in 2013 Briar competed against the top 32 riders in the world in the finals in Mexico. As the youngest international rider, she was placed fifth individually overall and was a member of the team that won gold.
In the 2013/14 season Briar began competing on horses in the Junior Rider Series and in Open Classes against adults. At the 2014 Horse of the Year, she placed third in the Pony of the Year, third in Junior Rider of the Year and fifth in the Speed Horse of the Year against adults.
Briar’s long-term goal is to compete in the Olympics for New Zealand.