Sam has been interested in horses since childhood. Despite growing up on a farm, he didn’t own a horse until he bought his first at age 18. Not being born into an equine family, however, did not deter him from learning to train horses- something he began at age 16, under a mentor. Just three short years later, he started training horses for the public, starting colts and working with problem horses- something he still does today.
To pay the bills and feed his passion for horses, Sam worked as a Brick Masonry Foreman from 1992-2009. During that time, he honed his skills as a trainer after work, searching for his niche in the horse world. After trying Ranch Horse Cutting and Extreme Cowboy Races, he found his calling in the sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Sam trained the now infamous dun stud horse Poco Bueno 084 to accept gunfire, and some might say the rest is history. His first competition as a CMSA Men’s Level 1 came in 2008, and 22 short months later, he earned his move-up win to a Level 5. Only two years after that, he did the same to become a Level 6 shooter, something only approximately 2% of the shooting community earn.
Hired Gun Horsemanship was formed in 2009, the same year Sam stopped laying brick and began training horses full time. His natural abilities and hard work have since propelled him to one of the top in the industry- both in competition and training. Despite the multitude of wins, buckles and championships he and his family have- all on HGH bred, raised or trained horses- that is not the scale against which Sam grades his success. After every competition, he can be found with a results printout, highlighting the horses and riders he has trained and where they finished. These clients can be seen competing and winning on any given day across the country and for him that is the ultimate testament to the program.
His drive to help people succeed in Mounted Shooting has broadened the services HGH offers over the years. With the encouragement and help of friend Darlene Flanagan, Sam wrote the first edition of the Hired Handbook which printed in February 2013. The digital version was activated one month later that same year. Since then, 1,175 copies have been printed, and 650 e-books downloaded.
Considering that there are just over 2,000 active CMSA members competing, a book has theoretically been sold to 1,825 of them! It is now the only book available, updated annually, on course navigation. Additionally, in 2016-17, Sam has travelled more for training, private lessons, and clinics than any year to date, something he hopes to continue long into the future.