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Posted on May 1, 2018 in Articles, Competing

Badminton Bound … with James Sommerville 2018

Badminton Bound … with James Sommerville 2018


This will be James’ second trip to Badminton with his home bred gelding, Talent. Their career highlights so far include wins in the Open Intermediate at Richmond (’16) and Bishop Burton (’17) and 11th in the CCI*** at Bramham Horse Trials (’17).


 This will be your second trip to Badminton with Talent. How special is it to compete with a horse that you have produced all the way to 4* level?

It’s very exciting to get to Badminton on a horse we have produced ourselves. It makes the achievement so much more special.


 The weather notwithstanding, how have your preparations differed this year to last year?

Preparations have been very different this year with event cancellations and rerouting to different events. The gallops have been flooded at certain times too. Fingers crossed though, he feels on good form and we can’t wait to get there.


When was the first indication of just how capable Talent was going to be?

He has always had loads of ability and he has just kept on progressing. He is such a fantastic jumper and has never backed away from any challenge put in front of him.


Thinking back to last year, what emotions did you experience? Having felt the atmosphere during the dressage and cross country phases do you feel more prepared for what is to come?

Yes, I know more of what to expect from the atmosphere and Badminton and the crowds. You get a great sense of achievement just being involved and competing there.


Who will you be walking the course with?

I will possibly be walking the course with Chris Bartle but I will ask advice from other riders about particular fences. Mainly I walk the course myself as I know my horse inside out and how he will approach and react to the different fences.


What has been the best piece of advice given to you from a fellow competitor?

I don’t know to be honest. “Enjoy it” is always great advice.


You have a number of impressive horses rising up through the ranks. What are the most important qualities for you in a competition horse?

A kind eye, good brain, nice mouth, conformation, good type with good feet, breeding and ability (movement and jump).


What are your indispensable pieces of kit?

I don’t really know if I can class my fiancée (Lucinda) as kit, but she grooms for me and looks after Talent brilliantly! She is indispensable. Other than that I love my Devoucoux jump saddles.

KNP_James&TalentBramham17 (C) Katie Neat Photography

KNP_James&Talent Bramham 2017 (C) Katie Neat Photography


What are your tips for Rider and Horse recovery after an event?

Riders to breathe and relax, have a drink and look after your horse. For the horse lots of walking, several washes off to cool the horse down, ice and clay the legs, more walking and assess with trot ups. Try to get your horse to drink and give electrolytes.


What will be your aim after Badminton?

Not sure yet. Will depend how Badminton goes! Possibly the Nations Cup in America.


If your horse was a famous person (past or present) who would they be and why?

Mario Balotelli, a very talented but tricky to work with footballer!


What does competing at Badminton Horse Trials mean to you?

It is the pinnacle of the sport of Eventing and it is every rider’s ambition to compete there. It’s an amazing accomplishment.


Have you viewed the course preview? Is there a particular fence that has got your heart racing?

I have viewed the course. It is always different in real life than in the pictures or videos. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Especially the KBIS Vicarage Vee and fence 14/15/16 the Outlander PHEV mound.


Stable Equestrian wishes James and Talent the best of luck!

James is sponsored by Gain Horse Feeds, Devoucoux Saddles, USG Sports Products Germany, Caviera Bedding, Fibre-Beet, Horse First Supplements, Noble Outfitters, Clipperman, Grubs Boots, Trilanco and The Golden Paste Co.

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