One of the definitions of the word insurance is “providing protection against a possible eventuality.” As horse owners we are always planning for that possible eventuality – our horses might get sick or injured unexpectedly, lesson programs cover themselves for potential accidents that might take place on their property, and so on. When professional eventers Dom and Jimmie Schramm purchased their new farm in Pennsylvania last year they had no clue what possible eventuality would become reality for them less than one year into owning the property.
“This place is just a little slice of heaven,” Jimmie shared. “It is 17 or 18 aces. The front of it is all parkland so nothing will be built across the street and the backside of it has a road that hacks up to Boyd [Martin]’s, so we are just a 10-15 minute hack from the cross-country and the indoor there.”
While the Schramms weren’t necessarily shopping for a farm when this property fell into their lap, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity. In order to process the mortgage, the property had to be insured. Having worked with Parker Equine Insurance before, Jimmie knew just who to call to get the coverage lined out in a timely and professional manner. Within 24 hours Donna Chopp-Parker of Parker Equine Insurance had everything lined out to cover the farm and the home on the property where the Schramms would reside as well.
Following the close of their farm in February, the Schramms moved in and settled their program into their new farm. As winter crept up, they made plans to head to Wellington, Florida at the start of the new year to escape the Pennsylvania winters and continue the training of their horses. They sent their horses down south with a commercial shipper and Jimmie got on a plane that same evening to fly down and settle the horses, leaving Dom at the farm to drive their truck and trailer down the following day. Nobody knew what the next 24 hours would hold for them.
“It was just Dom at the farm with our dog Vegemite. It was late and it was freezing with snow on the ground, so he made a little fire in the wood-burning fireplace. He was relaxing with Veggie before bed when he started to hear something that sounded like a dripping sound. His first thought was that a pipe had burst, so he ran all over the house but he couldn’t find anything. When he came back into the living room where the fireplace was he noticed the sound was getting louder and he had this inclination that something weird was going on with the fire.”
Dom ran out to the barn to get the fire extinguisher and put in a call to the local fire department to inform them of the issue. “They were questioning him about if he saw fire and he told them it was still in the fireplace, but he knew something else was going on. He put the fire out in the fireplace and noticed a small crack in the back of the fireplace. It must have rusted or something had happened, but that crack allowed the fire to escape into the house and go up the backside of the chimney and was burning on the outside of the house.”
With it being the dead of winter, none of the outdoor water hoses were attached to any faucets in an attempt to keep them from freezing up. Dom went into action trying to find a hose while waiting for the fire department to arrive, but by the time he was able to begin spraying the house down the fire had already gone all the way up the side of the home.
“I landed in Florida and had a text and a missed call from my neighbor asking me to call her back, which was odd. So I did and Dom answered and he was just absolutely hysterical about the fire. Thankfully, the fire department was awesome and got there really quickly. After all of the dust settled and the fire was put out and everyone went home, then it was one of these situations of ‘well now what do we do?’”
The house had suffered catastrophic damage, and not just from the fire. “The house is still standing, so to speak, but the whole outside wall, our whole closet, part of our bedroom, the attic space, and all of the roof was gone,” Jimmie shared. “What I didn’t quite realize with a fire is that it is not even so much fire damage that becomes the issue, but it is smoke and water damage. So the house had to be gutted, there is not a thing in it but 2x4s everywhere at the moment.”
It was midnight in West Palm Beach, Florida as Jimmie sorted through her emails and informed the necessary parties relating to their insurance policy of the fire. The team at Parker Equine Insurance went into action.
“Donna has checked in pretty frequently to make sure everything is going the way that it should with the rebuild. They have coordinated everything. They have taken care of the rent we have had since we had to find a new place to stay. They covered the hotel for our working students while we situated a place for them to stay. They have been so good about covering all of the incidentals that have popped up along the way.”
For the Schramms, their home and farm coverage through Parker Equine Insurance has been the one sense of calm amidst this very unexpected storm. Thanks to their home insurance policy, they can look forward to the day that they can return to their rebuilt house on their dream property and continue to work towards their dreams in the saddle from the comfort of their own front lawn.
If you’re like most riders you’ve probably heard someone say something like, “Your last mistake is your best teacher,” or “if you’re doing everything right you’re doing something wrong because you’re in your comfort zone.” While I agree whole-heartedly with these sentiments, I actually prefer, “Equestrians don’t make mistakes. Mistakes make equestrians.” They make us bolder, braver, and brighter; but only when we develop a positive relationship with our mistakes and respond to them in productive ways.
Up-and-coming eventing athlete Tommy Greengard of Malibu, California, was named the recipient of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant for 2024. A current competitor on the U.S. Equestrian Federation's (USEF) Eventing Emerging Program List, Greengard has aspirations of representing the United States internationally.
Bethany Hutchins-Kristen headed into 2023 with hopes of earning the SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year award for a second year in a row on her homebred Geluk HVF, and after a stellar season, including a top-10 finish at the TerraNova CCI2*-L (Myakka City, Florida), she took home the top prize with an 18-point lead.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.