Samantha Wheeler's Bio
Samantha Wheeler was born April 4th 1989 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Although she spent her early years growing up in the city, and her parents were not horse people, Samantha was hooked on horses from a very young age. Samantha’s love for horses began when visiting her Nana’s farm where she was introduced to Raz, a big bay Quarter horse gelding. Samantha would spend all of her time brushing and riding Raz up and down the pastures, developing a bond with this beautiful animal. She finally convinced her parents to let her start riding lessons at the age of seven, and Samantha’s Granddad helped her purchase her first horse when she was ten yrs old. She immediately became an active participant in the competitive show jumping scene.
Samantha displayed a passion for horses, an eagerness to learn, and endeavoured to become the best rider and horsewoman possible. Her trainer once remarked that “Samantha would ride that cow over there if I told her it would make her a better rider!” She soon became known for her ability to ride any horse, often getting put on the difficult ones where she always figured out a way to make them want to do their job. During her junior high and high school years, Samantha showed two horses at every A circuit show jumping event in Alberta and even travelled to British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Oregon to compete, often spending hours braiding horses to help pay her entry fees. Even though Samantha missed many weeks of school for horse shows, she still maintained her honour roll status throughout junior high and high school.
From the age of only fourteen, Samantha worked as a groom during the summers for different international riders, including Rich Fellers (2012 Winner of the FEI World Cup Finals and also 8th place finish at the 2012 Olympic Games) and Schuyler Riley (first female winner of the Rolex/ USET Show Jumping Talent Derby and the first female ever to post back to back wins in the Chrysler Classic at Spruce Meadows), at world class venues such as Spruce Meadows and Thunderbird Showpark. In 2008, Samantha was offered, and accepted, an opportunity to move to and work in California for Joie Gatlin (USEF Team Member) and Morley Abey, who run a very competitive show jumping stable. She had an excellent year in California, further honing her skills in the show jumping ring, as well as placing at the top of almost every class she entered in California. Samantha moved back to Calgary at the end of 2008 and after an extremely successful junior and amateur career, she started her own business, Caprice Equestrian Enterprises Ltd, in 2009.
Samantha has now been riding and working with all sorts of “problem” horses for over fifteen years, but she doesn’t believe that any horse is a problem. Samantha views every horse and every situation as a learning experience and credits much of her knowledge to all of the different horses that she has had the privilege to work with. Out of the fifteen years that Samantha has been working with horses, she has also been coaching a variety of levels of students for eight of those years.
Samantha has been working for her father’s oil and gas company for the past two years as a Purchaser and Customer Service Representative, which has not only given her office work place experience, but has also enhanced her business and people skills. She has also been a part of the sales, reception, invoicing and marketing departments during her time in the office, which have added to her many different skill sets. Samantha dedicates all of her time spent outside the office to her horses and her clients. Despite being so busy, she maintains a successful program focusing on creating a trusting relationship between the horse and rider, thus developing safe and dependable horses using her ‘firm but fair’ philosophy.
Samantha runs her training program out of a facility owned by her mother, which is situated on 35 acres just east of Chestermere, Alberta. The facility offers a very large, 16 stall main barn, a 70’ x 180’ fully insulated and heated indoor arena, as well as multiple turnout paddocks and grass fields for the horses to graze in the summer. This is a family run operation and improvements are always being made to enhance the facility and the training program it supports. Samantha is mainly in charge of the training and lessons, while her mom manages the boarder’s needs and the upkeep of the facility. That being said, you can usually find Samantha around the farm on Saturday mornings, helping with daily chores including feeding, turn out, and cleaning stalls, before she starts her day of training and teaching. Samantha usually has anywhere from 4 – 8 horses in training at any particular time, and every horse is set up on an individual training program depending on his or her needs and the direction in which the owner would like the horse to go. Samantha’s passion, and specialty, is starting young horses; setting a solid foundation of mutual respect, trust and communication which the horse understands. Along with this, Samantha also runs a small breeding program and this allows her to nurture her relationship with the horse right from the first day of life.
In the past couple of years, Samantha has branched out into more Western riding including team penning, sorting, cutting and reining, while remaining active in both sides of the riding world. Samantha firmly believes that there is always more to learn about horses, therefore she strives to continually expand her knowledge by attending clinics and seminars as well as constantly reading about and watching the horsemen and women that she looks up to. Some of Samantha’s horse training role models include the Dorrance brothers, Ray Hunt, and Buck Brannaman, but she lives by the motto “Everyone can teach you something, whether it’s something to do or something not to do, but the best teacher is the horse.”
- Equine Canada Certified Competition Coach
- 3rd in the Cymbric Brae Grand Prix at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, AB in 2009
- Winner of the High Junior/Amateur Classic at Showpark, CA in 2008
- Junior High Point Champion at Edmonton Northlands in both 2006 and 2007
- National Canadian Equestrian Team Finals (Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario) – 6th and Top Albertan in Canada in 2006
- Received the Dallas Glendall Memorial Award for Outstanding Sportmanship in 2005
- Studied Equine Nutrition, Management of the Equine Environment, Equine Growth and Development, and Equine Business Management through the University of Guelph