FEI vice president Mark Samuel has been awarded the Equestrian Canada Gold Medal Award ©Ontario Equestrian

International Equestrian Federation (FEI) vice president Mark Samuel has been awarded the Equestrian Canada Gold Medal Award.

The Gold Medal Award is Equestrian Canada's highest accolade and is only given when the recipient has provided a long and exceptional service to the organisation.

As a jumping athlete, Samuel represented Canada at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez in 2002 and the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo.

He went on to co-found Jump Canada in 2004, and remained a key member of the Jump Canada Board and the subsequent Equestrian Canada Jumping Committee for over 15 years. 

During this time, he spearheaded many key initiatives, including the Jump Canada Hall of Fame, and helped to build and support Equestrian Canada programmes and initiatives for jumping athletes across the country. 

"I am honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award and I wish to thank Equestrian Canada for this recognition," said Samuel.

"I am blessed that my passion, experience and abilities have found purpose in service to my sport, my country and now, the FEI. 

"Contributing to making a sustainable, meaningful difference is its own reward.

"I share this award with all of my fellow tireless volunteers who contribute their time, talents and energy in support of our great industry and in service to our incredible equine partners. 

"It is my hope to continue to be a deserving recipient of this award and an ambassador for horse sport locally and globally."

Samuel was first elected FEI regional group four chair in 2012 and then re-elected for a further four years in 2016, playing a key role in helping to direct the development of equestrian sport in 11 North American and Caribbean countries.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos congratulated Mark Samuel for his award ©FEI
FEI President Ingmar De Vos congratulated Mark Samuel for his award ©FEI

He was unanimously elected FEI second vice president in 2017 and was subsequently elected vice president in 2018 in Manama.

Samuel has also been a member of multiple FEI working groups and committees, including chairing the FEI officials working group and the Temporary Endurance Committee.

Most recently, he was called on to join the FEI’s coronavirus task forces, sitting on each of the discipline-specific groups to help evaluate the impact of the pandemic on the FEI calendar and make specific recommendations to counter negative effects.

"We are delighted to hear that Equestrian Canada is to give Mark Samuel this award and I cannot think of a better qualified recipient," said FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

"Mark has dedicated an inordinate amount of time and expertise to international equestrian sport over the years. 

"He is well respected by all who know him for his remarkable intellect, charisma and ability to always find the right words in any situation.  

"His depth of knowledge of sport, business and governance is matched by his generosity and willingness to help people during difficult times. 

"We saw this determination in action in 2017 when he co-founded the Caribbean Equine Relief Fund to raise funds for relief efforts for equines and equestrians in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

"I am proud to call him my friend and can only hope that this is the first of many accolades to come his way."