‘He’s a big, sexy, athletic lunatic!’

  • Dominic Schramm’s Bolytair B came to him as a problem horse, but the pair will achieve their fifth five-star title together when they compete in the Badminton Horse Trials presented by Mars Equestrian next month (May 4-8).

    “Over the years we’ve developed a partnership so now I can channel his energy,” says Dominic, an Australian living in the US. “He loved spending a lot of time on his hind legs. The hardest thing for him is cross-country – in anticipation of what was to come, he would often leave the warm-up and do everything but go to the start box.

    “I spent a lot of time boring him and exposing him to different things. He can still be a handful but we’re sparring partners now and figured it out.”

    When asked by Polytair to describe 16-year-old Bolytair B, who is a Dutch Warmblood, Dominic says, “He’s a big, sexy, athletic maniac! When you see him, you can’t help but look at him.

    “He has a very sweet temperament, but when it comes to riding, he’s quite an intense horse. I don’t think a warmblood his size would be as good as him without that fire in him. He’s incredibly talented.”

    Dominic and Bolytair B jumped clear last year in the cross-country of the two US 5-Stars, the Kentucky Three-Day Event and the new Maryland 5 Star. They also graduated from Kentucky in 2019 and traveled to the Burghley Horse Trials that same year, where they broke a frangible in cross-country and finished 28th.

    “It was a beefy track, even by Burghley standards, and I wasn’t going fast,” says Dominic. “I was just trying to gain experience. We’ve been fighting, speeding up across the country and working hard on his dressage – we had a 33.4 in Maryland and I think we may be 30 or under 30 now – so I think this is the year to bring everything together. ”

    Dominic’s main goal is to be included in the Australia squad for the World Eventing Championships in Pratoni in September.

    “Badminton is part of that plan,” he says. “I think we’re capable of a top 10 finish and I’d be really excited about that.”

    Bolytair B will embark on the UK voyage with his ‘Five Star Travel Partner’ LCC Barnaby, US driver Lillian Heard, with whom he also traveled to Burghley in 2019. Dominic has previously worked for fellow Australian and former badminton winner Paul Tapner and the horses are stationed at his farm before heading out to play badminton.

    Unlike many foreign riders, Dominic has been in badminton three times, including helping out when Paul rode there.

    “I think everyone who has attended badminton remembers their first time – you’re like, ‘How is that even possible? How do people do that?’ The more I learned and worked on the sport, the closer it became to reality. I understand that it is the most prestigious event in the world and a big request.

    “It takes a special horse and I think Bolytair B is the horse for the job. We’ll be as prepared as possible and I’m really looking forward to the challenge, but I know it’s serious business.”

    Speaking of his background, 34-year-old Dominic said: “I’m basically just a mediocre driver from outback Queensland. I remember watching Ian Stark win badminton on Jaybee and identifying with something in him. I just wanted to play badminton and 23 years later I’m finally getting into it.

    “I married an American girl and moved here to the US 11 years ago. I bought a small farm and I have my life. It was a great stepping stone for a guy like me to build up.”

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