Competing at this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (2-6 May) has been an awfully long time coming for British-based Australian, Warren Lamperd.
Now aged 49, Warren had Badminton well within his sights in some 18 years ago in 2000.
“I had been ninth with Bootlegger at Burghley the previous autumn, but then he injured himself before Badminton and I’ve been trying to get there ever since,” says Warren, who first moved to England from Western Australia in 1996 when he came to work for Sir Mark Todd. “Badminton is one of the reasons I’m in this country — in moving here I gave myself access and the opportunity to compete at such high profile competitions.”
In 1998 Warren moved to work for Blyth Tait before setting up his own yard near Newbury, from which he now operates as a busy riding coach while buying, breaking in, producing and competing up to 10 horses of his own. In 2006, he met Silvia, a grey Holstein mare.
“I went to look at this unbroken six-year-old with my wife [Italian Susanna Aromando],” explains Warren. “She spotted the grey mare with a pretty pink rug on and she said ‘I like that one’, so we bought her.”
That mare was Silvia, who he describes as a “strong, independent and opinionated character”, and at first things weren’t very straightforward.
“I fell off Silvia every day for about a year,” laughs Warren. “She was fractious and a very alive character with a sensitive mouth and if I wasn’t completely right on her, I would end up on the floor.”
Thankfully Warren’s persistence has paid off and the pair jumped clear cross-country around Burghley both last year and in 2015, despite him describing Silvia, now 17 years of age, as “not an obvious event horse”.
“She is a lovely horse with a great jump and is always up for it but she’s not that quick. At Badminton I am very much just rolling the dice and seeing what happens — I’m happy with our preparation and it has just been my job to get Silvia feeling happy and confident ahead of the event.”
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It goes without saying Warren has visited Badminton before as a spectator and he knows what he would like to achieve this week.
“I’ve done everything you’re supposed to head of an event like Badminton and I’m just going to go and see what happens,” he explains. “My primary aim is to complete and I’m hopeful that the cross-country course will suit Silvia as she prefers rustic tracks to glaring, colourful ones. We will have to see what the ground is like, but she copes well in soft going and we will finish as well as we possibly can.”
Read the full Badminton preview in Horse & Hound magazine, out now