Heat, humidity and a hurricane threatened to derail week-one of the FEI World Equestrian Games™, but organizers and athletes chose to ride out the storm and Haygain USA has been right there with them.
“We were all really worried about the storm as it approached and came through,” reports Haygain USA vice president of sales, Robb Thomas. He’s been on site at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina since well before the Games opened Sept. 11. “The organizers have done a really good job preparing for the worst, including monitoring it with an on-site weather station.”
Robb hasn’t seen much of the competition, but he’s seen many horses, riders, grooms and veterinarians on daily rounds at the FEI stabling area. What started as 22 hay steamers Haygain made available by prior arrangement to team and individual competitors swelled to 35-plus units as week-one competition unfurled. Along with checking each steamer and touching base with those using them, Robb picked up a good vibe from competitors not daunted by the wet, mucky weather. “Everybody seems really happy.” The horses’ spirits weren’t dampened either, he noted after observing several display plenty of energy on hand-walks and light hacks around the venue on Sunday, an off-day for competitors and fans due to frightening forecasts.
“We were ready for what we thought was going to be a pretty good storm,” Robb shares. “Instead, it was a little bit of wind, a good steady rain, but no flooding. Some of the barns and jockey alleys are wet, but it’s not that bad.”
World Equine Expo Vendor Village fans are showing pluck and persistence, too. Robb estimates that 60% of the visitors to Haygain’s booth in shopping area B3 are from outside of North America. “It’s truly is a world equestrian games,” he notes. Many are seeing a Haygain Hay Steamer, the ComfortStall Orthopedic Sealed Flooring System and the Flexineb portable equine nebulizer for the first time. “So, we’re spending a lot of time educating people on their benefits and how they work.” While the enticing scent of steaming hay leads fans to the Haygain booth, it’s the ComfortStall flooring that prompts immediate oohs and aahs. “They are standing on it right when they come in to visit our booth and a lot of them comment right away on the difference they feel in their legs because they’ve been walking across the park all day,” Robb explains.
On-the-spot sales are strong and entries for one of two HG 2000 full-bale steamers to be given away at WEG’s end are flowing in, Robb notes. The units will have plaques signed by several of the riders whose horses counted on them for clean, consistent hay throughout the competition. There’s also big interest in the 10% discounts on the otherwise brand new Games-used steamers that will be available when competition concludes Sept. 23. This includes the initial 22 HG 2000s, plus additional half-bale HG 600s and the portable HG Ones that were enlisted to fulfill on-the-spot requests. In all, over 35 units available at a great discount!
Sunny skies are predicted for most of WEG week 2 as para-dressage, vaulting, show jumping and driving see more of the world’s best equestrians battle for medals. Stay tuned!