In a career that includes seven Olympic appearances for his native Australia, three-time OG golden guy Andrew Hoy is a veteran of the international athlete’s globetrotting lifestyle for himself and his horses. Packing light would be nice, but if that means his horses would be without certain necessities, it’s not an option. Wherever in the world Andrew is competing, his horses’ access to Haygain® steamed hay is a must.
Usually that means bringing at least the HG One portable steaming unit on the plane or lorry. The London Olympic Games, for example, were easy because Andrew’s Somerby Stables is based in the United Kingdom. For the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Andrew arranged to transport the hay steamer to Brazil. The last minute nature of the team selection process resulted in Andrew not quite making the cut that year, but his hay steamer went to Rio anyway. Better safe than sorry!
Andrew’s transatlantic trip to Tyron, North Carolina this April presented the challenge of the United States using a different power system than England. In this case, Team Hoy gratefully accepted an offer from Haygain’s U.S. headquarters to provide a steaming unit for his use while Stateside for “The Fork” April 4-8. Held at the Tyron International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina, The Fork is the FEI CIC3* competition that serves as the test event for the World Equestrian Games in September.
Raised on his family’s hay and livestock farm in Culcairn, Australia, Andrew has a unique perspective on healthy hay, its importance to healthy horses and the difficulty of getting it. “Growing up in the farming industry, I realized the importance of feed quality for animals,” says Andrew, whose accolades include an Order of Australia from Queen Elizabeth and inclusion in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
The Aussie has based himself for the last 25 years in the United Kingdom, where Haygain was developed. “I saw Haygain in its earliest stages and was immensely impressed. I recognized the importance of taking the bacteria and dust out of the hay and having it be as natural as one can have it, as if the horses were grazing on it in a pasture. The value of steamed hay was never something I needed to be convinced of.”
In the decade since Haygain hay steamers were brought to market, Andrew’s horses have enjoyed and benefited from it without interruption. “I don’t consider it a luxury for my horses. It’s a necessity.” He’s in royal company as one of several top international horsemen to count steamed hay as critical to peak performance and well-being. The list also includes Sir Mark Todd, CBE, a five-time Olympic medalist for New Zealand, and William Fox-Pitt, a three-time Olympic medalist for Great Britain.
Haygain developed its steaming process in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, England. It was conceived as an alternative to soaking hay to reduce respirable dust. Through numerous scientific, peer-reviewed and published studies, steaming with Haygain was proven to drastically reduce respirable dust particles and kill mold, bacteria, fungal spores and mites, while retaining the hay’s nutritional values.
Housed in a sealed, thermally-efficient, purpose-built chest, Haygain’s patented spike manifold steams hay from the inside out by injecting steam deeply and evenly throughout the bale. Temperatures rise to at least 100 degrees centigrade as the 60-minute cycle removes airway irritants and contaminants. In addition, the process adds water, a digestive plus, and palatability to the hay. The enticing scent of fresh hay is a bonus.
Striving For Five
A member of Australia’s Olympic gold medal team in 1992, 1996 and 2000, Andrew is targeting a spot on this year’s WEG team and, ideally, what would be a fifth Championships medal. Team Hoy has six horses competing at the 3* level at which the WEG is contested, so good odds in the variable-laden process of qualifying for a team position. For The Fork, Andrew comes to America with Basmati, a 9-year-old Trakehner gelding he’s been working with for nearly three years and who is owned by close friends John and Louise Ayre. The Fork will be the first 3* for the handsome gray gelding with “wonderful gaits and a lovely attitude,” Andrew reports.
A summer of opportunities to earn WEG qualifying scores awaits the remarkably accomplished horseman on his return to England. Stay tuned to see which of his Haygain-powered horses emerges the most likely candidate for Andrew’s hopeful return to Tyron in September!