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In early July, Andrew earned a place on his Federation’s list of 15 contenders, with two horses, Vassily De Lassos and Basmati. The Aachen CHIO eventing competition in Germany, July 20-22, serves as the final Australian team selection trial and Andrew and his horses seem in fine form. The Aussie WEG squad will be named July 26.
This past April, Andrew brought the 9-year-old Trakehner gelding, Basmati, to the United States to contest “the Fork,” the 3* competition that served as the test event for this September’s WEG. Although relatively new at the 3* level, the handsome grey horse continues to be a contender, but it may be the level-headed chestnut Vassily de Lassos who emerges as the top candidate going into Aachen. Andrew has been campaigning the 9-year-old Anglo-Arab for a little over a year. In their first 3* at Blenheim Palace this past September, they finished eighth out of 110 starters in the 8- and 9-year-old Championships. More recently, they were fourth in the CCI3* at Tattersalls.
Vassily had a few odd stable behaviors to overcome at the outset, but his jumping ability and focused temperament have made that more than worthwhile. In March, Vassily gained notice for jumping a clear show jumping round at Gatcombe while a small dog followed close at his heels around the whole course.
“If he can cope with that, he can probably cope with anything,” Andrew told Horse & Hound after his ride.
Whatever competitions await Andrew and his horses going forward, the veteran contender continues to count on Haygain seamed hay as a must for his horses’ health and peak performance. Raised on his family’s hay and livestock farm in Culcairn, Australia, he 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.”
Andrew and his horses’ globe-trotting itinerary involves bringing at least the portable hay 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 2016 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!
Coming to Tyron, North Carolina, in the United States, for the WEG test event this spring, Team Hoy gratefully accepted an offer from Haygain’s U.S. headquarters to provide a steaming unit for his use while Stateside. Here’s hoping that’s a test run for his steam-powered success at the World Equestrian Games, where the Haygain team will be cheering him on and showcasing our horse health products in the World Equine EXPO Vendor Village.