Sam and Beannie head for Olympic pentathlon

Sam and Spike competing at Hickstead
Sam and Spike competing at Hickstead

TWO West Sussex horses and riders have the distinction of being selected to compete in the horse riding phase of the modern pentathlon at the Olympics.

Samantha Garry and Beanie Allison, have been chosen, along with their horses, Over The Odds and Saltmarsh Dancing Shoes, for this tough discipline.

It requires riders to complete a show jumping course on horses that are allocated to them by drawing lots.

Pentathletes are given 20 minutes to ride their allocated horse before attempting a 1.20cms show jumping course of 12 jumps.

Each horse will be required to be ridden by two pentathletes during the event.

Over the Odds (aka Spike) and Saltmarsh Dancing Shoes (aka Linford) were selected after demonstrating their suitability for this event in front of a selection panel.

Spike is owned by Sam, a successful rider and trainer based at Birdham in the Selsey peninsula.

She bought him from a gypsy dealer when he was four months old and nursed him back to health from a bout of pneumonia.

She broke and schooled and competed him over the years.

He was a grade B show jumper competing over 1.30 courses and has won more than £1,500. Sam has turned down substantial offers to buy him.

He has been successful in Working Hunter classes and has also competed in winning Pony Club teams.

He also has the reputation of being quite a character, especially for his bucking.

Sam said: “Spike is only a little horse but he is awesome. He takes on anything and I worship him.”

She gave up eventing after she broke her back, and now competes in show jumping and showing.

Sam regularly teaches members of Goodwood pony club and trained Beannie (19) and Linford.

Linford and Beannie have been very succesful in show jumping winning the British Show Jumping Area Intermediate championships, qualifying for the finals of the Pony Club Novice Championships, jumping 1.15 courses at Hickstead has also competed in Goodwood Pony Club teams. Beannie has been studying at Oxford Brooks art college and is now going to do a two year equine course.

She has owned Linford since the age of 14 and will be going to the Olympics with him for the two weeks.

Linford was chosen as his stable name because he was born in the year that Linford Christie won his gold medal in the Olympics, and he is quick and sharp.