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Will was lucky enough to get the ride on the talented eventer-turned-showjumper Persimmon just over two years ago, and in August 2017 the pair were Under-18 Champions at the British Showjumping National Championships at Stoneleigh. Since then they have competed at the European Young Rider Championships at Fointainebeau, France and campaigned across the continent.
The partnership’s progress has been slightly hampered over the past 18 months by a recurrent respiratory issue. “Persimmon started making a noise during exercise around a year and a half ago. After keeping a close eye on him and monitoring the respiratory issue, we identified dust as being a potential trigger and so switched him onto haylage.”
Sadly, this made no tangible difference to the noise Persimmon was making, so Will contacted Haygain after hearing about the range of revolutionary horse health products, in particular those with a focus on respiratory health. “We spoke to Haygain and started using the Flexineb nebuliser on him a couple of months ago. This certainly improved the noise Persimmon was making, so we knew we were on the path to eliminating the noise. It was remarkable how quickly he accepted the nebuliser – it’s incredibly quiet!”.
Just a few weeks ago Will started using a Haygain Steamer for his horses, and that proved to be the final piece of the puzzle. “We switched all the horses onto steamed hay several weeks ago, and I’m delighted to say that the combination of Haygain’s Flexineb nebuliser and Hay Steamer have worked wonders for Persimmon (or ‘Percy’ as he is known at home!). He no longer makes a noise when he’s under pressure in the ring, and we were placed second in a highly-competitive 3* Grand Prix in Vilamoura this month!”.
The decision to steam all his horses’ hay was prompted by Will having to source and feed local hay of unknown quality to his string while on the sunshine tour in Spain and Portugal. It’s impossible to transport enough good-quality forage from home to feed the horses for the entire trip, and by using the Haygain Steamer Will is able to ensure the local hay is ‘safe’ to feed his horses, free from harmful microbes and allergens that can trigger or exacerbate respiratory disorders.
Son of the highly successful showjumping couple Tina and Graham Fletcher, Will only took up the sport at the age of 11 and has made incredible progress since then, including competing in the FEI Children’s Championship in Brazil at the age of just 14, a mere 3 years after choosing to focus on the sport. Prior to taking to the saddle he was football-obsessed, and actually continued to play competitive football alongside his riding commitments until the age of 16. Now, with a string of promising rides and some rather large shoes to fill (his father was an Olympic silver medallist and is a respected commentator and trainer), the future looks bright for Will Fletcher.