Much has changed for Charlotte Dujardin since her dominance with Valegro on the international dressage stage made her that rare equestrian: a household name well beyond it.
The Olympic, World Equestrian Games, World Cup and European Champion was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire, OBE, in 2013, then the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE, in 2017. She’s published her autobiography, The Girl on the Dancing Horse, to rave reviews and she’s met another of the world’s most famous equestrians: Her Majesty the Queen
What hasn’t changed is the root of Charlotte’s success: talent, hard work and dedication to her horses’ well-being. The latter explains Charlotte’s new partnership with Haygain, manufacturers of high-temperature hay steaming equipment and ComfortStall Sealed Orthopedic Flooring.
“We are always looking for ways to keep our horses more comfortable, healthier, happier and performing at their peak,” says Charlotte. “Partnering with Haygain is a perfect fit with our horse keeping philosophy.”
Haygain’s core products will soon be staples for the horses in Charlotte’s program, located at the yard of her longtime coach, mentor and Olympic gold medal teammate, Carl Hester. “We like to keep things as simple and natural as possible,” Charlotte continues. “Feeding clean hay and having stalls that provide cushion and comfort while reducing dust are great ways to accomplish that.”
Haygain’s high-temperature steaming was introduced commercially in 2009, two years after Charlotte showed up at Carl’s barn in Newent, Gloucester. It was two years before she rode her first Grand Prix with Carl and Rudy Luard’s Valegro, whom she developed from the Novice level.
A desire to improve equine respiratory health was the catalyst for Haygain’s development in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural University in the U.K. Steaming reduces up to 99% of the dust, mold, fungi, bacteria and other allergens found even in hay of top nutrient quality. Along with dust in bedding, these irritants are a top cause of respiratory problems because they can infiltrate, irritate and inflame the lining of the upper airway and lungs.
Haygain steaming is now widely recognized for preventing respiratory issues that affect over 80% of the active sporthorse population, often without obvious symptoms. And reducing allergens means reducing allergies, which are often related to respiratory problems.
ComfortStall’s one-piece top layer of durable rubber seals to the stall wall. This prevents urine from seeping down and amassing unhealthy, unpleasant and irritating ammonia, as happens under traditional stall mats or on dirt-based bedded stalls.
A layer of orthopedic foam provides ample cushion for joint health, comfort for deep rest and sleep and a soft, safe surface on which horses can easily lie down and rise up. Often likened to a gymnasium mat, ComfortStall has a combination of give, stability and traction that prompts therapeutic blood flow and tiny, constant muscle movements. The built-in cushion reduces the need for bedding to only that required to absorb urine.
Charlotte’s long-time groom Alan Davies is excited about the Haygain partnership, too. “These are next-level steps in providing the cleanest, healthiest possible environment and nutrition for Charlotte’s horses. Along with wanting to keep our horses healthy and happy, we know that cutting edge care can give the extra edge needed to excel against the world’s best and we’re confident Haygain’s Hay Steaming and ComfortStall will help us keep doing that.”
“We’re beyond proud and excited to be working with Charlotte and her team!” says Bee Richardson, Haygain’s Vice President of Marketing. “Her remarkable accomplishments are rooted in exceptional horsemanship. This is why she is such a positive and influential example to horse owners worldwide.”
After a career of record shattering scores and captivating performances, Valegro was retired in 2016 with celebrity status. Meanwhile, Charlotte has several talented horses to continue her “services to equestrianism,” for which she received her OBE and CBE distinctions. She and the 2019 FEI World Cup™ Finals Champion, Mount St. John Freestyle, are currently sixth in the world as international competition resumes. They are top candidates for a third Olympics at the Tokyo 2021 Games.
With Haygain newly on Charlotte’s horse health team, the stage may be set for yet more broken records in the dressage world.
For more information on Haygain, visit www.haygain.us, and follow Haygain USA on Instagram and Facebook.
Kim F Miller is editor of California Riding Magazine and a freelance equestrian journalist & photographer. Kim is also Partnerships Manager at Haygain and editor of TheWestEquestrian.com. firstname.lastname@example.org. Bio photo by Sherry Stewart.