Dom and Jimmie Schramm are the masterminds behind EventionTV, and have quickly become a household name through their video education series. I had the great pleasure of meeting both of them in person when Jimmie and I were stabled across from one another at Millbrook, and shared thoughts about our Advanced competition. Since then, I’ve made a point of catching up with both of them all all subsequent events, and you’d be hard pressed to find two nicer, harder working individuals. Both Jimmie and Dom are headed to Fair Hill this weekend, for both the CCI3* and the CCI2*, so let’s learn more about them and cheer them this week!
- Tell me about your respective backgrounds: how did you grow up and get into horses?
Jimmie – Originally I am from Dallas, Tx. I started riding by copying my older sister Nicki and we rode together for quite some time. She ended up going to ballet route and I kept with the horses. I started eventing through pony club and kept riding through high school. I was lucky enough to make the Team for Young Riders and after my first real team competition, I knew I wanted to give this a real shot. My horse at the time came to college with me and the rest is sort of history.
Dom – I am Australian and am from a small outback town, Charleville in Queensland. My mother Kym was horse mad and had me sitting on a horse before I could walk. She was a very capable and successful rider in the show ring and that’s where I started too. I started with a pretty naughty pony, Piping Pedro who I had over 400 falls from in 18 months around age 7 – 9. Since then I have never been afraid of falling off. I dabbled in straight dressage on our old QH Blue but it wasn’t until we spent 12 months in England at age 11 that I was first exposed to Eventing. Upon returning to Australia, I became hooked and slowly made my way through the levels during high school. When I finished school I worked for Chris Burton for 2 years and was put on the Australian Young Rider Squad. I also rode track work 6 mornings a week, as well as breaking in horses, riding problem horses and working with young horses. I spent some time riding in both the UK and Germany before I relocated to the US in 2010 and have been pursuing my dream of getting to Badminton ever since.
- What horse (past or present) would you most like to take a spin on?
Dom – I have been lucky enough to have sat on quite a few big 4 star horses at some point or another which is always great fun but I think I would love to be able to ride a legendary dressage horse like Totilas or Valegro, just to experience how good the dressage can actually get.
Jimmie – Its funny Dom and I were just talking about this the other day. I have always loved Leslie Law’s Shear H2O, just seemed like a really cool and regal horse to me. Though lately I have been eyeing up that Clifton Promise as well, that would be another one I would love to sit on.
- What is your favorite quality in an Event horse?
Jimmie – My favorite quality in an event horse I think would be desire, desire to want and love its job. There is nothing worse then getting on a horse that clearly does not love what it is doing.
Dom – I agree with Jimmie on this one. I am also looking for a horse that screams Athlete, an animal that looks like its whole body is built to run and jump.
- How did you come up with the idea of EventionTV?
Dom – It actually started as an idea to write a book whilst I was driving to do a clinic out in the bush somewhere. I spent a good deal of time teaching kids in pretty remote areas of Australia where they develop a great feel but not always the ‘finesse’ we are looking for in the dressage or show jumping arena. I found the most effective way of teaching these kids was to keep it simple and give them ideas for what you are trying to teach them in a way they could relate to. For example if you teach a young lad about turning a turn in the jump ring using the outside rein and aids, he is going to not understand and switch off. But if you liken it to the same way the horse turns when cutting out a beast when he is mustering, he will probably understand better and stay much more enthused. That influenced the way I taught and I slowly realized that it wasn’t just kids in the bush that benefited from this kind of teaching. Then I figured being in a digital age, that being visual and online made more sense then print. The name came later and the humor really started because Matt who films it got sick of all the takes we were doing because Jimmie and I kept joking in front of the camera – so he decided to leave it in and it has become part of it now!
- What is the one thing in your barn that you can’t live without?
Dom – Our Super Woman Stephanie Simpson! She is working student/barn manager/groom/rider all rolled into one and without her and her extraordinary work ethic and sense of humor we would be lost. If you are reading this Steph…. GET BACK TO WORK!
Jimmie – This may sound ridiculous but I have a favorite black small curry comb. It is Bellamy’s favorite thing, a good curry, so I spend a lot of my time looking for it and when it’s missing I don’t stop until I find it.
- If you could take six months off with no worries, who would you go learn from?
Jimmie – I have two people I would choose between, Michael Jung is one, he is just so good in all three phases and he is really inspiring to me. The other is Nicholas Fyffe, Nicholas is a dressage rider from Australia and is a good friend of ours. I have been riding with him for a little while now and he is amazing. Not just as a rider but as a teacher as well. He has a lot of faith in me and my horse which gives me a lot of confidence.
Dom – Like Jimmie, I think Michael is producing some amazing riders right now so he would be great but I would also love to train with Ingrid Klimke on the flat and Marcus Ehning in the Showjumping .
- What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t riding professionally?
Dom – My dream job would be to work in a feed store. Come in the morning, see the deliveries for the day, load the truck, drive around and drop stuff off and having a chat with the regulars. Just the right mix of being outside, a little physical but slightly different each day and LOW Stress. Either that or I would be a race car driver……
Jimmie– If I wasn’t riding I would either want to work at a record label or I would do something with clothes and retail. It’s unfortunate that for my job I have to wear breeches and get disgusting everyday because I actually really love fashion.
- What is your favorite aspect of training horses and/or riders?
Jimmie– My favorite aspect of training horses and people is seeing it click. When you are teaching anything to a horse or a person all you want is for them to understand what you are saying or wanting. When a horse finally understands an aid or when a person finally understands a feeling, that’s what I like most.
Dom – I am pretty competitive so I like it when hard work and good training pays off with a good performance at a big show.
- What is your worst pet peeve in life?
Dom – People trying to drive like maniacs when I am driving slowly with the horse trailer on (cough*Maryland*cough). But nothing quite irritates me as much as when my wife forgets something and we have to double back and get it. It’s ok if I do it though because there was probably a good explanation.
Jimmie – Just so we are clear, it’s not always me that actually forgets something, but it does get blamed on me. Either way my biggest pet peeve is people smoking around me and not making an effort to keep it away. I normally will make some sort of comment or horrible valley girl noise if it does happen. If I wanted emphysema then I would smoke. The other is people chewing loudly, so annoying.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Jimmie – Best advice ever, I will quote my dad Jim Holotik on this one. “No tooting.” This is what he says to me every time before I go into the ring or onto cross country. He is hilarious, but on a serious note best advice I got just the other day, when training horses ” Don’t punish , only correct the horse no matter how long it takes.”
Dom – Wet saddle cloths make good horses! There is just NO substitute for hard work in both riding and in life. I think it’s easy to get focused on the struggles and comparing yourself to other people who have new trucks and expensive horses and nice shoes. But in the end if you can keep finishing on that dressage score and treat your horses and the people around you with respect, then I believe you can get to where you wanna go!