1. Name: Becky James
2. Age: 25
3. Based at: Yate, Bristol
4. What Academic qualifications did you achieve? BSc in Animal Science at The University of Nottingham and currently studying for an MSc in Equine Science at The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.
5. What inspired you to choose your career path? Not sure really!
6. How did you become involved with your company? I researched steaming hay for my MSc thesis using a Propress Equine HAYGAIN and so met the directors of the company through my lecturer Dr Meriel Moore-Colyer.
7. Describe what the company does? Propress Equine manufactures the unique hay steamer HAYGAIN; it is a new division of the company Propress Ltd who are world leaders in steam appliances.
8. How many years have you worked there? I’ve been working for them since September 2008.
9. What is your favourite part of your job? The variety and meeting lots of interesting people.
10. How long does it take you to travel to work? I’m mainly based at home so most days I don’t need to travel but I travel to our head office in London and to meet clients around the country.
11. How long have you been riding? I got my first pony when I was 6 so about 19 years!
12. What made you take up riding? My parents bought a pony to occupy me and my sister on our farm as children but I don’t think they anticipated I would get as hooked as I have!
13. What level of riding are you currently at? My advanced horse is currently recovering from injury so I am only competing my younger horse at medium/advanced medium at the moment.
14. Do you train anyone? If so who? Local pony and riding clubs and a couple of private people but not a huge amount as I am too busy with work and my own horses.
15. How many horses do you have on your yard? 7
16. Do you have a favourite horse – past or present Westhill’s Wreann (Ruby) my first “proper” dressage horse; we have progressed up through the levels together and I fulfilled my ambition to ride in top hat and tails which, when I first bought her, seemed a million miles away! She is full of character and so much fun.
17. What made you decide to settle on dressage as your preferred equestrian discipline? When I was 11, I won the Badminton amateur dressage championships; from then on I was sure it was what I wanted to do, and the more top level dressage I watched the more convinced I became!
18. Is there a title that you would like to win? The Nationals.
19. What is your biggest achievement in life so far? Good question; probably winning the Young Rider section at an U25’s International in Scotland which was also my first competitive outing at PSG level and I got to try out my top hat and tails!
20. Do you have a favourite show and why? The BD national championships; every year it inspires me to get there next year!
21. How do you combine work with riding? I manage to fit them round each other and have a lot of help on the yard from my mum and my friend Binnie!
22. Which top riders is Haygain involved with? Peter Storr, Matt Ryan, Matthew Wright, Helen Lowe. (Peter is the only one we are officially involved with at this stage!)
23. Why is Haygain different from soaking hay? Soaking hay dampens down the dust-spores but HAYGAIN actually kills them. Also, soaking has been shown to reduce the hay’s nutritive content due to leaching of soluble nutrients and produces a waste liquid with a higher biological oxygen demand and so is classed as an environmental pollutant.
24. Describe the benefits of Haygain? Well for me the greatest benefit is the peace of mind that I’m feeding my horses the cleanest forage available that will improve their respiratory health and as a result their performance. I suffer from hay fever so another huge benefit for me is the minimum handling of dry hay. By being able to simply drop the bale in with the strings still attached there is the smallest possible disturbance to the hay dust. Once it has been steamed I can handle it as much as I need. Overall it is just very convenient to use, much easier than soaking, it doesn’t leach out the nutrients or produce a polluting waste liquid!
25. Is there any research to prove Haygain is effective? In addition to previous papers published on steaming hay, I have carried out extensive research in the laboratory at the Royal Agricultural College for my MSc thesis. Together with Dr Meriel Moore-Colyer we carried out microbiology tests at looked at the presence and quantity of the spores in the hay when it was dry and then after it had been steamed in a HAYGAIN.
26. Do you have a Favourite Country for Holidays? Anywhere hot with a beach!
27. Favourite Film The classics…Top Gun, Dirty Dancing
28. Last Item Bought at a Supermarket A chicken mayo and salad sandwich
29. If you could have an hour’s conversation with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you like to ask them?
30. Have you had any serious injuries and did you resort to traditional medicine or complementary medicine? No serious injuries but I had bad whiplash from a car accident and have had regular physiotherapy since.
31. Wine/Beer or Champagne? Champagne!
32. Milk/White or Dark Chocolate? Milk
33. If there was one horse you could own…past or present…what would it be? Blue Hors Matine because I’ve never seen passage like it and will never forget witnessing her freestyle at the World Equestrian Games, Aachen in 2006.
34. Are you happy with the way that equestrianism is portrayed in the UK and if you could make any changes what would they be.
35. Have you ever competed against anyone you trained? How did that feel? Don’t think so!
36. What is your daily routine Horses, work, horses!
37. Have you seen The Equestrian Lifestyle Magazine (formerly England’s Equestrian)? If so do you like it…is there anything that we can do to improve it. Haven’t seen it.
38. Tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know I go to a dance class once a week and do pilates to keep fit. I’m currently training to be a UKCC level 2 Equestrian Coach.
For further information please contact HAYGAIN on (0333) 200 5233 or visit www.haygain.com.