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Super groom Sean Vard - travelling horses all over the world
Professional riders wouldn't be able to do what they do without hard working, dedicated and knowledgeable grooms by their sides. Martin Fuchs, who was FEI World #1 in January 2020, is one of these lucky riders who has a fantastic support team, including #Supergroom Sean Vard. Haygain speaks to Sean during the Palm Beach Master Series in Florida where he offers great insight into the management of Team Fuchs and in particulars what it takes to travel horses all over the world.
Kim F Miller
Equestrian writer, 16/03/2020
An extraordinary international travelogue!
Sean Vard's Instagram account is an extraordinary international travelogue. But it's not the glamorous equestrian scenes from Switzerland, France, Florida and beyond that seem to most galvanise his followers. It's the "White Wonder," aka Clooney 51, Swiss Olympian Martin Fuchs' partner in a European Championships victory, the reserve title at the 2019 World Cup Finals and many, many impressive show jumping accomplishments.
Sean, an Irishman, has worked with Martin and his horses going on four years. Featured in this year's L'Année Hippique, Sean explained that Team Fuchs grooms don't work with specific horses, but the white steed certainly shows up in a lot of Sean's updates, and with good reason. Even in Fuchs' stable of superstars, Clooney stands out for his uber abilities even after his remarkable recovery from a bad colic in 2018.
Raised as a show jumping rider by parents who are now top coaches and officials in the sport, Sean came to the rigorous work of 5* groom with a conviction that horses should live as naturally as possible. He shares that philosophy with Martin Fuchs, of course. “We’re quite a natural stable in the sense that our horses are allowed to really be horses,” Sean told The Chronicle of the Horse last summer. “This is a pet peeve of mine, when horses are always tied up in their boxes and never get to get out and enjoy things. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing."
That ideal lifestyle exists at Fuchs' home stable in Wängi, Switzerland and at the stable they lease as a winter base in Wellington, Florida. It's harder to attain at competitions and while travelling between then. Thanks to Haygain Hay Steamers, Sean and Team Fuchs can provide their horses fresh, clean hay with a consistent texture and appeal no matter where they are in the world. Most important, Haygain steamed hay is free of 99% of the dust, mould, fungi and bacteria found in even top-quality hays. All of these are the main cause of respiratory problems that affect a shockingly high percent of horses: over 80% according to scientific studies conducted over many years.
"It just made sense to me," said Martin of his decision to add Haygain to his horses' program about a year and a half ago. Sean concurs:
With the World Cup Finals and most other competitions cancelled or suspended as of mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin's horses may have more time than usual to "just be horses." No doubt, when the world returns to normal -- hopefully soon -- Haygain will continue as a critical contributor to the good health that makes it possible for them to dominate top international sport.
Watch the video below for some fantastic travelling tips from Sean.
How can Haygain help?
Haygain is committed to improving the respiratory and musculoskeletal health of horses through research and innovation. Numerous scientific trials have shown that Haygain's high-temperature steaming eliminates 99% of dust, mould, bacteria and fungi in hay; effectively removing the health threat from respirable dust.
Developed by riders, for riders, we understand the importance of clean forage and a healthy stable environment for 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.