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Alliston, Babbitt and Braitling Take Top Spots at Galway Downs International

CCI2* winners James Alliston & Pandora. Photo by Kim F. Miller.

Galway Downs concluded its 2018 international equestrian competition schedule with a grand finale event this weekend. We catch up with James Alliston, Charlotte Babbitt and Bec Braitling, who emerged as CCI2*, CCI1* and Training Three-Day victors.

CCI2* 

Competing at Galway Downs, a venue whose motto is “a legend reborn,” James Alliston is a living legend in no need of rebirth. The Northern California-based Brit logged yet another international win with his victory in the CCI2* aboard the Palomino Swedish Warmblood mare Pandora. Already dubbed “the little legend,” the diminutive mare with a big jump and a tall rider was one of few to sail clear over Mark Donovan’s show jumping track. In doing so, the pair improved from the second-place standing they’d maintained since dressage.

Winning on their dressage score of 34.6, James was optimistic about the next phases. “She was really good on cross country. Even when I didn’t give her the best approach to the big ditch and rails on the hill, she’s so brave that she just shuffled in a little step and popped over it.” He was equally confident for stadium jumping: “She’s naturally very careful, fast and, touch wood, she normally jumps clear rounds.”

Pandora’s owner, Laura Boyer, was James’ first client when he got settled in California. He rode Pandora’s sire, initially rode the mare when she was 3 and then resumed the ride a few years ago. At Galway he also picked up the Best 7-Year-Old honors for her. This was James’ sixth CCI1* victory, which adds to at least “a couple” of three-star victories over the years, he estimated.

Generous prizes awaited the veteran victor: $1,500 in prize money, a Galway Downs plaque, a Professional’s Choice cooler; a Devoucoux saddle, a $500 CWD voucher; a bottle of APF; certificates from Ride On Video and Event Training Online; and a bag of Triple Crown Feed.

The crowd hushed Mallory Hogan and her partner of four years, Clarissa Purisima, to the first clear show jumping round of the division. With two months competing on the East Coast under their belt, they were well prepared to take advantage of what Mallory described as “an atmosphere that really lights her up.” Along with Saturday’s long cross country track, “I really tried to channel all that into her show jumping.” She also earned the Mia Erickson Memorial Trophy

Mallory’s two-time NAYC Area VI teammate Maddy Temkin had the lead going into show jumping. A single rail dropped Maddy and Mr. Hart to third, but still a happy outcome for the two high school seniors who’ve been stars of the West Coast circuit for many years and represent bright hopes for the sport’s future.

CCI1* winners Charlotte Babbitt & 2 A.M. Photo by Kim F. Miller.

CCI1*

The ever-smiling 17-year-old Charlotte Babbitt had a triple crown weekend with her 6-year-old 2 A.M. She was tied for first after dressage and was one of few to master a show jumping track that only eight of 49 managed to clear without faults. Charlotte won the CCI1* on her dressage score of 25. She also earned top Young Rider honors and 2 A.M. earned Best 6-Year-Old designation.

 “It’s really special to have this kind of partnership, especially when he’s only 6 and I’m only 17,” said Charlotte, who rode with a big smile from wire to wire. “I can’t help but smile. He’s very fun to ride, he wants to please and he has the attitude that there’s nothing he’d rather be doing. On Saturday’s cross country, we were fast but I never once kicked him. He just went along like a hunter.”

With Galway becoming a back-to-back win after her recent Woodside CIC1* victory, Charlotte and 2 A.M. seem on track for next year’s goal: making the Area VI NAYC team.

Charlotte trains with Chocolate Horse Farm and has a lot of loot to haul home to Northern California’s Petaluma: $1,000 in prize money, a Galway Downs Plaque, a Professional’s Choice cooler; a $500 CWD voucher; a bottle of APF; certifications from Ride On Video and Event Training Online; and a bag of Triple Crown Feed.

Professional Shannon Lilley’s partnership with Fernhill Rising is only a few months old. She was thrilled with their red-ribbon finish and has high hopes with the talented horse. Located by her coach Dana Lynd-Pugh, the mare is a “horse for the future,” said Shannon.

The FEI rider rep for the Galway Downs International, Shannon had highest praise for organizer Robert Kellerhouse and his entire team. “The guys did a tremendous job on the cross country footing and the new warm-up ring and stadium jumping rings, and footing, are great.” Those and other upgrades “really make it a special atmosphere. It’s very good for the West Coast.”

Crammed with colorful fences, the new jumping arena was also a little intimidating, Shannon noted. “It’s busy in there! There was a lot to look at, so many jumps and it was a little distracting to horses and riders. You had to really go forward and keep straight and hold out in the lines to make sure you stayed on the right step.”

Nick Cwick and Get Played were another pair to benefit big time by clearing the show jumping track. They moved from eighth to third by doing so.

Training Three-Day winners Rebecca Braitling & Dassett Ricoche. Photo by Kim F. Miller.

Training Three-Day

Professional Bec Braitling, 15-year-old Jordan Crabo and amateur rider Cecily Bonadio finished where they started after Friday’s dressage: first, second and third.

Representing Australia, Bec is delighted to have Dassett Ricochet in her stable, period, blue ribbons or no. “We found him in England last summer while shopping for another client. When they brought him out, he was so pretty I secretly thought, ‘Gee, I hope he turns out to be a bit green for her.’” That’s how it turned out, but not too green for the veteran competitor, for whom client Lauren Burnell purchased the Dutch Warmblood.

Having contested many long formats at the upper levels, Bec advocates it strongly for students and young horses, especially those like Ricochet. “The steeplechase was a really good way for him to get going. He started Phase A puffed up and was quite overwhelmed seeing all the other horses out there, but steeplechase settled him down.”

For junior and amateur riders, Bec said T3D “makes you a better rider. I encourage all my riders to do it because there’s so much to think about. There’s a lot involved. It’s not like you just warm-up and do cross country. Everyone who has the opportunity to do one should.”

Bec left loaded down with prizes: a Galway Downs plaque; a Professional’s Choice cooler, a $500 CWD voucher; a bottle of APF; certificates from Ride On Video and Event Training Online; and a bag of Triple Crown Feed.

Third generation horsewoman Jordan Crabo of Arizona said on Friday that her German Riding Pony Black Gold could be tricky. Second after dressage, she tackled Saturday’s cross-country “as if we’d already had a few stops.” As a result, they had zero penalties to log their first completion in this division. Jordan felt it helped that she’s been riding two horses at CCI1*, including her mom Barb Crabo’s former 3* horse Over Easy. She also spent two months this past summer as a working student for top British eventer Pippa Funnell, benefitting from lots of fresh knowledge going into Sunday’s strong finish. And Black Gold did his part. “He was awesome!”

Small animal veterinarian Cecily Bonadio was already over-the-moon after dressage, and even more so to finish on that score for third place with her remarkably savvy 6-year-old, Just Off Broadway. Cecily explained her approach to show jumping as similar to that on Saturday’s fault-free cross country round: “We’ve been working on rhythm, I just try to stay out of her way, let her know where to go, and let her do what she does so well.”

The amateur rider is another fan of the T3D format. “I loved doing steeplechase on the racetrack. I learned how fast she is: very!” She also loved the technicality of the combinations on Phase D. All in all, a great preparation for the pair’s goal next year: Preliminary.

The fact that Sunday was Cecily’s birthday was icing on the cake: a carrot cake, apparently, as Cecily’s parents waited at the backgate with a full bag of carrots for the mare and big smiles for their daughter.

[Alliston, Babbitt & Braitling Rock Galway Downs International]

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On WEG, Goals and Giving Back: A Conversation with Andrew Hoy

Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos at WEG. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

When pressed, Andrew Hoy will concede he’s a bit of a rock star in his native Australia. Visiting home a week after finishing individual fourth and leading the Aussie eventing team to a 2020 Olympic-qualifying sixth place, Andrew enjoyed fan encounters with flight attendants, taxi drivers and passersby on the street.

“It’s not something I’ve gone out to develop,” says the seven-time Olympic and World Equestrian Games eventer whose accolades include an Order of Australia from Queen Elizabeth and inclusion in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. “But this thing that I enjoy doing — riding horses — has taken me onto a world stage and into the living rooms of so many people.”

No fame at the barn, however. “Not one of my horses has any idea what I’ve done in my life or who I am,” says Andrew of the equine attitude at Somerby Stables in Leicestershire, England. “They don’t read the newspapers or follow the Internet. They don’t even know I’m responsible for their health. They think that’s the grooms. All they know is the way I work with them. This is what I love about working with horses – they will always treat me exactly like I treat them. And I aspire this to be a partnership of trust, care and mutual respect.”

Over a 40-year international career, bracketed by the 1978 World Championships at 19 and — so far — the 2018 WEG in Tryon at 59, Andrew’s methodology has led to five Olympic medals, three of them gold, and four World Championships medals.

How his way with horses has evolved was one of several topics covered in Kim Miller’s wide-ranging chat with Andrew shortly after the WEG.

Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos at WEG. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim: You had two horses on the Australian team’s WEG long list: Basmati (Grafenstolz x Suchard) and Vassily de Lassos (Jaguar Mail x Jalienny). What was it that tipped the selectors’ scales toward Vassily?

Andrew:  I believe both horses are equally talented and that it was Vassily’s results sheet that made them feel he was the stronger of the two. Of which, at this point in time, I fully agree with – Vassily is currently a little more advanced in his education. But they are both only 9 years of age, so very much at the beginning of their international career.

Andrew Hoy and Basmati at the 2018 WEG Test Event. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim: Basmati and Vassily are two of several strong horses in your string now. Where are you in terms of quantity and quality of horses, compared to other points in your career?

Andrew: I’m competing a total of 10 horses, and I feel they are all absolutely very good. I would describe this as the nicest lot of young horses I’ve ever had. That’s a big statement because I’ve had a lot of very nice horses in my time, with wonderful people owning them and supporting me.

Kim: What has put you into this nice position now?

Andrew: Well, with a bit of age, I’d say I’m riding better: I’m riding well. My wife Stefanie has helped me enormously in the selection of horses. I’d say we have a good formula for looking at horses at this point. We ask ourselves, what it is that makes the horse so special? Is it just the rider or just the horse? We look at the breeding.

It’s never something we do alone. Beyond Stefanie and me, it’s our team at home, our service providers, everything from the feed and supplements, the tack, the bits, the physiotherapists, etc. It’s really a culmination of all these things coming together after being in the industry for some time. I’m very much just wanting to work at the pointy end of the sport, and for that, you need to start with young horses and develop them all the way throughout their careers to create a relationship of trust and mutual respect.

Kim:  What’s your secret in finding young horses?

Andrew: I don’t think there are any secrets! I may look at horses a little differently than others in that I always go in with the purpose of saying, “How can I make this work?” rather than looking for reasons not to buy the horse.

 

Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos at WEG. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim: Owners David and Paula Evans bought Vassily for you in May of 2017, when he was going two-star with top French rider Thomas Carlile. What was it you saw in him that you wanted to work with?

Andrew: Well, he was an exception! I’d heard of him about 18 months before I first saw him. I called Thomas asking if he had any nice horses for sale. He told me about this chestnut about to go two-star. He said he was a nice, straightforward horse, but that he always had to have a pony with him and that he was a stall weaver. I told Thomas, “I don’t need this! Life is difficult enough without that.”

Then I went to look at him about 12 months later. As he was coming out of the stables, I wasn’t convinced I would like this horse. When I sat on him, I thought, “Thomas does a great job with this horse, but he doesn’t feel so special to me.” Then I went back to the hotel and kept looking at his results sheets and those were very special.

The next morning, I decided I needed to think outside of the box. Part of me said “no,” and another said, “This is a special horse — I have to do this” and I went with that. It certainly helped that my stable vet, who I have got a close working relationship with, felt confident that the way I manage horses, we could find a way to work things out.

Kim: At what point were you sure you’d made the right decision?

Andrew: After show jumping at the WEG!

Kim: How does that experience with Vassily represent your approach to horses?

Andrew: Throughout my career, I’ve never been a rider to have a great, big string of horses on my team. What I really enjoy is working with each horse and getting to know their personality. Sitting on them myself, rather than having someone else do it for me, doing a lot of work from the ground and different forms of cross-training, which we have to do for fitness anyway. That way, I know their personality and I know what each horse finds difficult or easy. What I’m looking for when we are in competition is harmony, and that’s how we get it.

Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos at WEG. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kim: Vassily’s nickname is “Mr. Speedy Gonzales” and he sailed over cross country and show jumping in Tryon. So, is it dressage that he finds difficult?

Andrew: I would not say it’s a difficulty for him. It’s a matter of creating muscle memory for it and that takes time working him through things to get to a consistent way of going.

His WEG dressage test was the most accurate and consistent test he’d ever performed. Before that, his test at Aachen in June was the best. So he’s a work in progress and a horse that actually rises to the occasion at every show. The bigger the show, the more calm and relaxed he is and the more we work as one.

I’m actually that way, too.

Kim: Were you always that way, or has it come with experience?

Andrew: Very early in my career, I would put it down to having no knowledge — to not knowing any better. In 1978, I was this 19-year-old kid who’d grown up farming in Australia and happened to have a great pony. All of a sudden I ended up on the team for the World Three-Day Championships (at the then-new Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky) at the last moment.

Kim: I’m sure the story is a little more than that!

Andrew: I grew up on my family’s farm, where we breed cattle and farm arable land. Along with chasing kangaroos riding bareback, I did Pony Club and Camp Drafting, which is a big sport in Australia. It’s like the American sport of cutting horses, working with a horse and cow. I was actually a Junior Australian Champion in that. Through Pony Club, I did normal English riding, and some eventing. At 15, my parents bought Davey, who was bred for racing, trained for ranch work and became my partner in two Olympic Games, two World Championships and a Burghley title.

On the way home from the World Championships in 1978, I stopped in the UK, where my horse was supposed to go through quarantine – and I ended up staying there for two years at Gatcombe Park, working with the Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips. Between 1980 and 1993 I was back in Australia, mostly farming and also riding my horses – travelling every two years to Olympic Games or World Championships from my Australian home base.

In 1993, at 34 and after our first Olympic Gold Medal in Barcelona, I decided to do the horses as a profession and I moved back to the United Kingdom.

Kim: Looking back, do you feel you could have been successful had you stayed in Australia as a professional rider?

Andrew: You can be successful from Australia, or any country, if you have talent, ability, a good feel for the horse and if you are prepared to work hard. But if you want to be world #1, you need to be in Europe – this is where the hub of our sport is. It’s the same for Americans.

Kim: Is it harder to get support and sponsorships when you are not based in your own country?

Andrew: Yes, but if you want to be good at anything, it is just incredibly hard work, no matter what industry you are in. Young people must not be under any illusions. The higher you go, the further you can fall. You have to work incredibly hard if you want to keep a good career.

Kim: Does that point need extra emphasis in our sport these days?

Andrew: I’ve worked with a lot of people throughout my career and one thing I notice is that I feel many young people nowadays don’t realize the hours that most successful people put in. It always looks easy and it never is.

Everything in society is very instant these days. When I was a kid, if I wanted to obtain something, I had to work and have cash in hand to buy it, for example. Today there are credit cards. I think the older generation learned to be patient, to work for things and, with horses, to develop and stick with a program and a system, whereas today there’s a lack of patience. For me, after the 1978 World Championships and spending the two years in the UK, it wasn’t until the end of that time that I felt I was starting to ride with some feeling and make progress.

Kim: How does your experience come into play in the team context?

Andrew: I’m very happy to talk with any of the riders and, when asked, offer advice about what I do, the way I go about things and formulas that I have. I have nothing to hide and I want to work with all of the riders because they all contribute to the team success.

Kim: Any epiphanies that have come with your 59 years?

Andrew: When you start as a rider, you first think, how good is the horse? Then, you think maybe I have to ride well. For me, the more I’ve stayed in the sport, the more top trainers I have worked with, the more I realize the importance of good riding — 90% of issues are created by the rider, not by the horse.

I have also realized the importance of other aspects that are involved around the management of the horse – whether it is daily routines, feeding, tack, physiotherapy, veterinary – it all has a huge impact on the horses’ wellbeing and therefore performance

Kim: What are some of the more unique aspects of your horse management?

Andrew: In the last year, I’ve started working with a South African company, Bombers Bits, that makes tailored bits based on a mold of each horse’s mouth. The fact that no horse has the same mouth is something I never thought of before and I find it fascinating.

The saddlery I use, Fairfax Saddles, incorporates a lot of biomechanical testing, for horse and riders, and that’s another subject I’m incredibly interested in. I feel at times there is not enough scientific evidence used in horse care and welfare and these are products that use science to produce good results.

Steamed hay is a core of our horses’ diet. I saw Haygain’s steamed hay units in the company’s earliest stages and was immensely impressed. Having grown up working on my family’s farm, it made immediate sense to me. I recognized the importance to respiratory health of taking the bacteria and dust out of the hay and having it as natural as one can have it. We normally travel with our steamer and we were grateful to have the company make one available during the WEG.

Andrew and Stefanie with their daughter, Philippa. Photo by Matthew Roberts.

Kim: You and Stefanie became parents with the birth of Philippa Isabel 13 months ago. How has fatherhood affected you?

Andrew: I did not realize the joy that comes with it. Stefanie and I so often comment on how lucky we are to have a healthy little girl. It’s a joy for us and it’s important for us to make a good life for her. We can’t determine where she finishes, but we can teach her values and respect and give her opportunities.

Kim: Can you tell if she has the horse genes yet at 13 months?

Andrew: She came to the WEG with us with her Australian t-shirt and little flag and enjoyed it. By being around horses, I think she will learn to work with animals if she decides to. But if not, it’s fine by me. We’ll support her whatever she does.

Kim: Does Stefanie ride?

Andrew: She’s very much a social rider. If it’s a bright sunny weekend, she’ll say I’d like to ride. She has her own communications business, HMC Horse Marketing Consulting with equestrian and mainstream corporate clients including Mercedes Benz and Hermès. She’s incredibly busy.       

 

Andrew and Philippa at WEG. Photo courtesy of hoyteam.com.

Kim: Your remarkable string of international accomplishments gets a lot of attention. How close an eye do you keep on the running tallies?

Andrew: I could probably go through the Olympic accomplishments and work out the tally. But one year, after winning Badminton, a great friend congratulated me and said, “Be careful not to celebrate today’s performance too much because you’ll miss tomorrow’s performance.”

My dad was very progressive in that he was always working forward. He taught me that it’s always important to be aware of your performance — to analyze it, and find what you can improve on, then go forward, not dwell on it or look backwards. It’s always about the next performance.

Kim: Do you plan for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 as your next international performance?

Andrew: It’s very much in my sights with Vassily, Basmati and some of my other horses. So I just want to establish good performances. It seems like it’s a long way off, but it’s not that far away.

Kim: You are active in two charities, Right To Play and The Wobbleberries, and your home stable, Somerby Stables, hosted a riding for the disabled program for many years. I gather that giving back is a priority.

Andrew: For any successful business person or athlete, we can get so tied up in what we are doing that we don’t appreciate our immediate surroundings and circumstances. It’s very good to work with charities, especially such good ones. They are wonderful organizations through which we’ve met wonderful people.

Kim: With all that you’ve accomplished, what remains on your lifetime goal sheet?

Andrew: The goal is what I’ve always strived for: riding my horse as well as I possibly can and achieving harmony. What inspires me the most is just working with the horse, learning from them every day, creating a partnership and develop day by day.

Kim: Thank you Andrew! We look forward to many more years watching you and your horses at the top level.

Andrew: Thank you. My dad, Jim, and my mother, Dorothy, are 94 and 91 respectively. I just left visiting them and my dad is still farming a lot of cattle and very aware of everything that’s going on. We were visiting to celebrate the life of an aunt who passed at 101. So, I hope I have their genes!

Article presented by Haygain USA. Haygain is committed to improving equine health through scientific research, product innovation and consumer education in respiratory and other equine health issues. With offices in the USA and England, Haygain manufactures and distributes products for healthier horses to 19 countries, including its Haygain® Hay Steamers, ComfortStall® Flooring System, ForagerTM Slow Feeder and Flexineb Nebulizer. Visit www.haygain.us for more information.

9 Questions with Canadian WEG Team Member Selena O’Hanlon

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High at Bromont. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Mac and cheese might not seem a very glamorous way to celebrate a third selection for Canada’s World Equestrian Games team, but it fits Selena O’Hanlon just fine. It’s her mother Morag’s specialty meal, and it was a big hit with the 30-plus friends who gathered for an impromptu celebration at the family’s Ontario, Canada farm shortly after Selena’s win of the Bromont CIC3* in mid-August.

Bromont was the final selection trial for the WEG team and, Equestrian Canada officially announced the squad on Saturday, Sept. 1. Selena and Foxwood High were named to the team and are on top form following the win at Bromont, plus a top 25 finish at Badminton CCI4* in the spring and winning the Fair Hill International CCI3* last fall.

We caught up with Selena on the eve of the official WEG team announcement and two weeks before eventing competition is set to begin on Sept. 13 at the Tyron International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina.

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.

Kim: What have you and Woody been doing since the Bromont win?

Selena: “After Bromont, we went home for a while. He had a few days off, then some hacking, light work and a gallop the Saturday afterwards. Then we came down to my longtime coach Bruce Davidson’s place in Pennsylvania for lessons.”

Kim: Tell us about your relationship with Bruce, a many-time U.S. Olympic eventing medalist.

Selena: “He is a good friend of my family. My mom trained with him when she was going out for the Barcelona Olympics, and they are good friends. I’ve been lucky enough to ride with him since I was 7 or 8. When I decided not to go to university and instead try riding for the team, my mom said, ‘You are going to go work for Bruce for a couple of months to see if this is what you want to do.’ Ever since, he’s come to our place for clinics or, now, I ship to him for lessons.”

Kim: What happens in this week’s training camp with Canadian technical advisor David O’Connor?

Selena: “We work the horses in lessons with David. The only kind of bummer about training camp is that we all only have one horse. We’re all used to working a lot harder than that during the day, so we find extracurricular activities. In the past, we’ve gone tubing, boating, and done other team building activities. It’s a chance for those who haven’t been on the team before to learn David’s language a little and for all of us to get to know each other better and actually have a little bit of down time.”

Super groom Anne-Marie Duarte and Foxwood High at Badminton. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Kim: Does Woody’s care routine change at all in these final weeks before WEG?

Selena: “No. I try to keep everything exactly the same. He’s been in bubble wrap for a few months now and I’m handling him myself during this whole time. It’s amazing how one horse can take up your whole day!”

Kim: “Tell us about Woody.”

Selena: “He turned 15 in May and is very big and tall. He measures 17.1 hands, and looks a little taller because he holds his head high. He’s very mellow: a gentle giant and everybody loves him. He recognizes he’s very tall and if a shorter person is handling him, he’ll put his head down to make it easier to get the halter on. I had the chance to fly with him to Badminton, and even in that small, kind of stressful space on the plane, he took it all in stride.”

“He has a huge stride. It looks like he’s going really slowly, but he’s not.”

Kim: Do you have any unusual expectations for the Tyron course?

Selena: “People are talking about a big hill at the end of the course, and I recall it as a fairly hilly course from running it at The Fork two years ago. I also remember quite a lot of bridges, which might slow some horses down. I’m glad it’s a full course because that’s the phase in which Woody excels.”

Kim: “When do you move into the WEG venue, and are there things you do to get Woody comfortable there right away?”

Selena: “We move in on September 9. Woody will get a lot of hand grazing. He is normally pretty laid back, but at Badminton he got really excited when he heard the whistles and other activities going on with a grass roots competition near the dressage arena. My wonderful groom Anne Marie Duarte spent a lot of time hand grazing him in the area, and that really calmed him down.

“Being a big horse, he doesn’t have the strongest back, so grazing and a little lunging are the best ways to get him comfortable before schooling.”

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kim: Woody has used a Haygain hay steamer at competitions. How has that helped him? 

Selena: “He had it before Badminton, when we were at Mark Todd’s place. Mark feeds haylage or steamed hay. I started Woody on the haylage, but didn’t feel like he was eating it enough. He seemed to eat the steamed hay better so he had that for the three weeks before the competition and I think he likes it.

“Over time, we’ve had a few horses with allergies and Haygain steamed hay has made a big difference. We’ve seen a lot less coughing.

“We got to know everybody at Haygain in England before the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France. The Haygain guys lent me a van to drive the team around in. We have the half-bale steamer and two portable steamers to take to shows.”

Kim: How are the World Equestrian Games different from the Olympics?

Selena: “Not for me as a competitor, but it is nice having more disciplines, there is more to watch. I really enjoyed it in 2010 when reining was involved. I got to watch that, driving and the beginning of the endurance. The WEG has all the disciplines going on in the same place, unlike the Olympics. I really loved meeting some of the people that I followed my whole life, the stars and idols of our sport, along with meeting and cheering on top Canadians in other disciplines. We don’t get to see each other very often because we are so spread out. It’s really interesting because we are all horse people and we get to see how we do things a little differently. It’s a great experience.

“Also, the opening ceremonies are something you normally miss out on in the Olympics. Usually at the WEG, we get to be part of the ceremonies, carrying our flag along with all the other athletes.”

Best of luck to Selena and Woody at WEG!

For more information on Haygain USA, visit www.haygain.us. Haygain is committed to improving equine health through scientific research, product innovation and consumer education in respiratory and other health issues. With offices in the USA and England, Haygain distributes products for healthier horses to 19 countries, including its Haygain® Hay Steamers, ComfortStall® Orthopedic Sealed Flooring System, ForagerTM Slow Feeder and Flexineb® Portable Equine Nebulizer. Visit www.haygain.us for more information.