Andrew Hoy has now been named on the final team to represent Australia at the World Equestrian Games 2018 in Tyron. We caught up with him a few weeks ago to find out what preparation goes into such a big event..
The horse selected to go to Tryon with Andrew is the the nine year old Vassily De Lassos. Vassily began his career with Thomas Carlile, who produced him to two star level until Andrew picked up the ride in May 2017. Their first international run together was at the two star in Millstreet, Ireland, where they finished fifth on their dressage score of 48.8. They quickly followed this up with a successful run in the CIC three star for eight and nine year olds at Blenheim, to finish eighth.
"I have not pushed him to do the big events, I am just quietly working away with him, trying to develop the horse to be the best he can be. All the time I am getting to know him, and getting an understanding of his ability as well as his personality".
Vassily De Lassos has an extraordinary record, he has only had one international rail down since 2015 and Andrew has only accumulated 3.2 time faults with him from their four international runs. They recently finished fourth in the three star at Aachen.
"It is a privilege to ride such a talented horse, his dressage is still a working progress and if we are to make it to the world championships this year, at just nine years old this certainly won't be the finished product for this horse. I am still trying to find the right buttons to press on him to achieve the top results. For example at Aachen, it was the first time I have needed to carry a schooling whip on him for the dressage warm up to back up my leg, he is a generally laid back horse. Although it was nice when the crowd applauded at a time when I was training, he really rose to the occasion and lifted in his frame".
So what happens between now and the games for the pair..
Tyron will be 40 years since Andrew's first world championship in 1978 which was held in Kentucky.
"It certainly isn't something I set out to achieve, but being competitive at the top level still is very exciting. I enjoy riding and training horses so much, I am passionate about improving the way I ride and working with all different types of horses. For me it's about bettering myself, not expecting the horse to make all the improvements. It is so important to get more feeling from the horse, of course every horse is different so each time I get on and off one to another I have to change my mind set to the individual horse I am sat on. Ultimately a horse will improve if we ride better. This is what has kept me so inspired, changing my thought process for every horse".
Andrew credits his team around him, he believes they all have to be as enthusiastic and excited as he is. Both at home and away at competitions Andrew tries to keep the same routine as much as possible, this consistency will help determine top results.
"I love working with the latest technology, without getting bogged down in it but to use it to enhance results. Recently my whole team and I used the SAP technology system for my cross country round at Aachen. It was so interesting to see at which parts of the course I was travelling at what speed and where I was at the minute markers. All data that can help me and my horses get better".
Andrew has been using Haygain products for a number of years now. This hasn't meant he has been buying lesser quality forage, he will still buy the best he can, but by using the steamers he knows he can improve the quality by reducing any dust and bacteria and that the horses are eating the healthiest hay possible.
"If a horse is the healthiest it can be, he will find working easier and the results will be more achievable".