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Rider Spotlight: Annabella Sanchez

Rider Spotlight: Annabella Sanchez

Kim F Miller

Writer and photographer specialising in the equine industry. A lifelong hunter/jumper rider, Kim’s understanding of the broader equestrian landscape comes from several years as editor of California Riding Magazine and freelancing for various outlets. She and her family live in Southern California.

Annabella Sanchez had a good taste of the Winter Equestrian Festival as a top junior jumper rider last year. She embarks on 2020 as a newly-minted professional, with a laser focus on the U25 Jumper division aboard the more seasoned of her two horses, Incitatus, aka “Teddy.” She’s been riding the 10-year-old for two years and feels that he’s poised to be a great partner in their pursuit of U25 success as the “WEF” kicks off in Wellington, Florida this month.

“Teddy is very scopey and jumps in a great classic style,” Annabella shares. “Recently, we have been focusing on our flatwork and other preparations at home for the upcoming WEF circuit, so I am very excited to show him this season! We are still learning about each other every day.” 

One thing she learned early about Teddy is that he has allergies to the dust and mould found in even top-quality hay. 

She came upon Haygain high-temperature hay steaming while researching how to help him. An endorsement from show jumping idol Beezie Madden piqued Annabella’s interest and learning that Haygain has been scientifically proven to rid hay of up to 99% of dust, mould, bacteria and fungi sealed the deal.

“I knew it would be amazing for Teddy,” says the savvy young rider. Steamed hay has triggered improvements in Teddy’s coat that go well beyond aesthetics. Itchiness and irritation that drove him to distraction are now things of the past, Annabella reports. “I barely notice him itching at all and he has become much more comfortable in his own skin. It’s eliminated the distraction and discomfort that was keeping him from performing at his peak. 

Since the implementation of Haygain, we’ve noticed a remarkable difference in his level of comfort and an improvement in his demeanour.” 

Additional benefits are clear in other horses now getting steamed hay. Annabella’s younger horse, the 7-year-old Prince Aslan, and one of her former Junior Juniors struggled with varying degrees of coughing. Both cases are drastically improved since switching to steamed hay, which is not surprising. An estimated 80-plus percent of active sport horses have some degree of respiratory challenge and high-temperature hay steaming is a proven method for reducing the airborne irritants that cause these conditions. 

Currently on a gap year from college, Annabella is a working for professional Andrew Welles’ top show jumping program. They are based in Wellington through the winter circuit, Chicago in the summer and travel extensively to compete year-round. Andrew is a hay steamer, too, and Annabella confirms that both have found Haygain easy to incorporate even in a big stable set-up.

The extra step of steaming is more than worth it. “I’m delighted to have healthier, happier horses,” Annabella concludes. 

Haygain is committed to improving equine health through research and innovation in the respiratory and digestive health issues. Developed by riders, for riders, we understand the importance of clean forage in maintaining the overall well-being of the horse. Our hay steamers are recommended by many of the world’s leading riders, trainers and equine veterinarians. Find out more by clicking on one of the links below.

Photography credits: Thank you to Winslow for the wonderful jump shots and to Nicole Schultz for Annabella's head shot.