The Canadian Equestrian Federation (Equestrian Canada) has awarded International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Vice-President Mark Samuel the 2019 Gold Medal, the governing body's highest and most prestigious national award.
The award is presented only when the President and Director of the Canadian Federation believe that an award recipient has exceeded expectations by making a sustained and outstanding commitment to the advancement of the sport nationally and internationally.
“I am honored and grateful to receive this prestigious award and I would like to thank Equestrian Canada for this recognition,” said Mark Samuel. “I am pleased that my passion, experience and abilities have found a purpose in the service of my sport, my country and now the FEI. Contributing to making a lasting and significant difference is already a real reward for me. I share this award with all of my tireless volunteer colleagues who give their time, talents and energy in the service of our great industry and in the service of our incredible partners, the horses. I hope to continue to earn this award and be an ambassador for equestrian sport locally and globally”.
After being elected President of FEI Group IV in 2012 and re-elected for four years in 2016, Mark Samuel has played a key role in helping to lead the development of equestrian sport in 11 countries in North America and the Caribbean. He was unanimously elected Alternate Vice-President of the FEI at the 2017 General Assembly and was then elected Vice-President in 2018 in Manheim.
Mark Samuel has played an important role on the Temporary Endurance Committee, facilitating communication between the committee and the FEI Board of Directors in a comprehensive review of the rules of the discipline aimed at bringing the sport back to its roots. He, along with President Sarah Coombs and the rest of the Committee, welcomed support for rule changes at last year’s General Assembly in Moscow.
More recently, he has been called upon to join the FEI Covid-19 Working Groups, sitting in each of the discipline specific groups to help assess the impact of the pandemic on the FEI calendar and make specific recommendations to counter any negative effects.
As a show jumping rider, Mark Samuel represented Canada at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera and the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo.
He co-founded Jump Canada (JC) in 2004 and has remained a key member of the Board of Directors and the Jump Canada Jumping Committee for over 15 years. During this time, he led many key initiatives, including the Jump Canada Hall of Fame and Bursaries, and helped build and support Jump Canada programs and initiatives for show jumping athletes across Canada.