With the world famous Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials just around the corner the pressure is building for the riders making their final preparations before the prestigious Gloucestershire event. We caught up with Badminton first timer Millie Dumas to find out a little more about her partner Artistiek (Artie) and how they have been getting ready. Together Millie and Artistiek have represented team GB in the Nations Cup team events winning a team Gold and Silver, won a young rider European team Silver medal, been double clear at Blenheim and placed 4th at Bramham Under 25’s 4*L (formerly CCI 3*) so they are really well prepared to tackle their first Badminton together!
A little background about Millie
Millie is 26 years old and is based in Somerset at her parents' Rosamund Green Farm a well-known Cross Country Schooling & Eventing Centre. Most of her horses have been produced since youngsters including her Badminton ride Artistiek. Indeed the yard today has three 4yr olds in the various stages of breaking hoping that they could become future stars although some have to be sold as this is also the day to day business. Millie has previously been on British Junior & Young Rider Teams. A winner of 4 Internationals and has been selected for Le Lion d’Angers Young Horse World Championships on four occasions with four different horses.
- How long have you been dreaming of riding at Badminton?
I think I must have been to Badminton every year of my life, right back to being pushed round in a pushchair as both my parents are involved in the sport too. It is the natural progression for Artie to step up to 5* this year as he has plenty of years of experience at 4* although I previously rode a little horse called Action Packed at Luhmuhlen 5* back in 2014. It's been a long time getting back to this level!
- Can you tell us about your Badminton partner Artistiek?
ARTISTIEK (known as Artie at home) is a 14yr 16hh gelding by Numero Uno bought from a dealer in Leicestershire where he had previously been sent back on more than one occasion by previous buyers! He is a little power pack, very spooky but also incredibly clever & genuine. He adores being out in the field and hates wearing rugs. In fact he tore three rugs off within 24hrs of arriving with us (and many more since). Artie is part of the family & I have ridden him all the way through his career since a young horse. He has an extremely kind temperament & a real character, definitely a yard favourite. He can also do tricks on command as long as he has an audience!
- How do your preparations for an event like Badminton differ to a regular event?
My preparations with Artie have been different this year with Badminton in mind. He has only run twice quietly round an AI at Tweseldown and then at Weston Park Advanced which I have been really happy with. He knows his job but stepping up to 5* the focus has been on his fittening & stamina. A lot of working up hills and on grass as much as possible.
- What are you most looking forward to when you get to Badminton?
I think I am just looking forward to the whole Badminton experience.
- Which is Artistiek’s favourite discipline and why?
Artie is good in all 3 disciplines. He has good paces although sharp & spooky on the flat and is a good jumper. His one weakness is that he can get very strong & feisty cross country which can mean more setting up for fences than I would like unlike some of my other horses who don't pull which means you can ride faster.
- When you are used to riding lots of horses every day how do you keep yourself busy at a three day event with one horse?
I am used to riding a lot of horses every day at home so it will be strange to be focusing on just one at Badminton but I'm sure the time will soon get filled as I think there will be a lot of course walking to do!!! Also I hope to check in with some of my sponsors who will be exhibiting there including of course TEAM SPILLERS who are the official feed suppliers to Badminton.
- How do you keep Artistiek’s routine as close to his home routine as possible when at a three day event?
At a three day we try really hard to keep everything in its normal routine for example feeding, a lot of hand grazing (as Artie spends a lot of time turned out at home) and obviously his work but also not forgetting letting him rest (he is very good at lying down and sleeping away from home which fools everyone that he must be tired. Wrong!).
- Who would you like to park next to in the lorry park?!
Well I hope we will be parked next to our great friends Marcelle & Gemma Tattersall (Marcelle, Gemma's mother is Millie's Godmother) we usually try and catch up at events. Gemma when she was young used to be taught by my Dad (Robin) and come and stay for periods of time (and help me with my Primary School homework!) She has been a great mentor throughout my career as she has been through the whole Junior, YR & Senior system including the ups and downs and I often bounce ideas off her. She has also been an incredible support when things don't go well and her advice is always very positive.
- Who will you walk the cross country course with?
I will walk the cross country course with my father Robin as this is what we always do. I will probably also walk with Yogi Breisner as he has also been with me throughout my career and I expect Gemma too. Tracie Robinson will be there to help me with my dressage as she is my regular trainer for some time now. We will also be lucky enough to have Spike Milligan our vet there too.
- What are your hopes and goals for Badminton 2019?
Well my hopes for my first Badminton will be to have a safe and clear cross country and just to do our best in all 3 phases!
A huge thank you to Millie for taking the time to chat to us, we are so excited and keeping our fingers crossed that she and Artie have a brilliant week at Badminton – good luck!