U.S.-based Australian eventer Dom Schramm is taking on Badminton Horse Trials CCI5*-L, May 4-8. Schramm, who runs Schramm Equestrian with his wife Jimmie Schramm from Cochranville, Pennsylvania, and Ocala, Florida, will be taking Bolytair B (Polytair—Nobelle, Glennridge) a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Team Bolytair B. While it will be the pair’s fifth five-star, it is the first Badminton for both, and Dom is blogging about the experience.
There’s nothing quite as nerve-wracking as the final few days in the lead up to actually putting your horse on an airplane.
After surviving a whirlwind of last-minute changes, packing and repacking, and forgetting stuff (tails, show coat, etc.), I was very relieved to finally land in England and be waiting for the horses to get off the plane and onto the waiting lorry.
Bolytair B seemed to have travelled really well. My main concern was that he didn’t lose too much condition on the trip. To my surprise and great relief, he actually looked pretty much the same as to when he left home in Pennsylvania.
We made our way to Paul and Georgina Tapner’s yard at Wickstead Farm, just outside Swindon. I actually worked here for the Tapners about 13 years ago, and they have been just as incredibly hospitable to me now as they were then.
Boly had a massive stall, was up to his belly in straw and got to see the many comings and goings of the riding school and other activities that happened at the yard. I’ve got to say, it was actually really cool to see the kids hacking by on little ponies and popping by to say hello to Boly. It was a very poignant reminder of what this sport is really all about.
I spent the first two days just hacking him about and stretching his legs, which he really enjoyed, and then it was back to work when my dressage coach Nicholas Fyffe arrived on Sunday. We’ve touched on a couple things on the flat over one or two rides at Wickstead, but mostly just focused on getting him flexible and ready to start the test preparation once we got to the competition.
Part of my Badminton dream, as silly as it might sound, was to drive myself to the show in a lorry. Thankfully my friend Lucienne Bellissimo lent me her big old Scania and I got to do just that.
It’s kind of a quirky event to show up at, they definitely have their traditional way of doing things. All these massive lorries show up to this teeny tiny village in Gloucestershire with centuries-old, narrow, one-way streets, so you can imagine how interesting it is to get in and out and unloaded, but I think that is all part of the charm and the experience.
We lucked out on a great stall with a little more room than some of the others to store a few of our many trunks. I was especially happy to only be a few stalls down from the U.S. contingent competing here and my five-star traveling buddy, Lillian Heard, who will be riding LCC Barnaby.
Walking into the yard and then out into the parkland is probably one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I’m just doing my best to soak up every second of it and just enjoy being here in this very special place.
The competition gets underway today, with the first horse inspection at 4:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. Eastern Time) by the iconic Badminton House.