Hanna Tamminen – show groom for Swiss Olympian Romain Duguet – shares her secrets on travel, tack, ring refinement, feeding and how to keep world class horses fit and happy.
"When we travel longer, the horses have bandages on all four legs – but when the trips are short we use travel boots. Because of the allowed driving times with the truck, I am forced to stop when I drive longer periods of time and during the stops I always give the horses water and hay. I prefer to have a blanket on in the truck, even if it is only a very thin one – to protect the horses’ backs from the wind. All our horses travel in Kentucky sheep skin head collars; especially those horses that are a bit sensitive with their heads seem to love them.
Normally I bring the bedding, straw or shavings with me from home. As soon as I arrive to a show I make sure that the horses have a lot of bedding, water and hay. Especially during winter time, I prefer to put a few extra blankets on when we arrive to make sure the horses don't get cold after standing still in the truck.
I try to take them out properly after travelling, not to work them very hard – but to make sure they get to move their bodied. I ride or lunge them – depending on the horse – and walk them a lot. I believe that moving a lot after travelling is good for them and that it prevents them from getting sick."
"To keep the horses fit and sound, I think it is important for them to move a lot and on different surfaces. All our horses hack out a lot, minimum two times a week – and they all go out in the paddocks all year round. The principle in our training is that when they are working, they are working 100% - and when they have an easier period, then it is really easy. We take our horses regularly to a race track or to the fields to canter them. Usually we do that a few times a month, but for example when we were getting Querida ready for the Olympics in Rio, she got to go out to the race track two times per week.
As to the food, Romain's ideology for the feeding the horses, is to avoid everything that is processed and only use clean, natural ingredients. We use hay pellets, oats, barley, soy, oil and brand and make a mix for each horse individually. All the vitamins and supplements are thought about very carefully and each horse's individual needs are considered. The base for our feeding is to feed a lot of hay and straw."
"I prefer to plait the horses for the ring, and we have only a few exceptions from this rule. The first thing I do when making them ready for the ring is to make sure they are very clean. Then I plait them, and I also do some stretching with them – I think this routine is important for the horses, they know exactly what they are getting ready for. We have a few things we always stick to; Romain always fixes the saddle himself and if we need to change the boots during the warm-up we do that as the last thing before going in to the ring. Our horses are treated very natural even if they compete at the highest level; after jumping I do a lot of cooling with ice, but for the rest I don't use a lot of gel or clay. For icing I use the Finn Tack ice boots and the new ice boots specially made for cooling the hoofs are from the American brand Ice Horse."
"Romain is sponsored by Hermés, so all our saddles, bridles and leather goods are from them. Also our ring blankets and heavy winter blankets are from Hermés, but at home we have several other blankets and most of them are from Horseware. Our horses jump in Veredus boots, and when Romain is riding on the flat we prefer bandages on the front legs and boots behind if necessary. When we go out for a hack, we only use boots. At home we use very normal snaffle bits, at shows the bits are a little more varied depending on the horse. Most of our horses jump in very basic boots, and only if they have problems with their hoofs they get rubber overreach boots or normal overreach boots on the front feet."
"Romain's ideology for the feeding the horses, is to avoid everything that is processed and only use clean, natural ingredients. We use hay pellets, oats, barley, soy, oil and brand and make a mix for each horse individually. All the vitamins and supplements are thought about very carefully and each horse's individual needs are considered. The base for our feeding is to feed a lot of hay and straw."
As told to World of Showjumping by Hanna Tamminen // Text and pictures by Nanna Niemenen/Jenny Abrahamsson for © World of Showjumping
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