“There’s nothing better than seeing a beautifully turned-out show horse trotting around the ring and putting on a show,” says Greg Mickan. “Getting back into the ring and showing off the horses that we work so hard with every day, to look and go their best, that’s what I’m most looking forward to,” enthuses Greg about the prospect of competing again soon. “We’re entertainers – we try to put on a show, and we want to get out there and do that again – also for the owners of the horses, who have been with us through the whole lockdown situation and haven’t been able to get to competitions and see their horses perform.”
In a normal year, Greg would be in the thick of competition season by December. After a break in late autumn, the show team would have developed condition, fitness and strength over winter and early spring and now be competing at agricultural shows most weekends in preparation for major shows in the new year.
2020 has been far from normal, with event cancellations par for the course; however, with Covid-19 restrictions now easing in all Australian states, shows are being rescheduled and plans are in full swing for a return to the show ring!
For Greg, who is based at the beautiful Romsey Park, a property he bought with Terry Van Heythuysen 11 years ago, lockdown has been particularly challenging due to the property’s location. Romsey is in regional Victoria, however, as Greg explains, around 90% of his clients live in metropolitan areas, meaning they were unable to travel to Romsey Park to ride their horses. As such, the past few months have been an extremely busy time for Greg and Terry despite the lack of shows to attend; there are up to 20 horses in work at Romsey Park at any time, and with the exception of three owned by Greg and Terry, the rest are clients’ horses!
“During lockdown, the horses were still worked during the week, still rugged and looked after as they always are, but we did back off their feed a little bit so they were not in full show condition with additional weight on their legs and that sort of thing,” says Greg. “So, their feed was the main thing that we cut back, particularly the amount of protein in their diet. Now we’ve got shows scheduled for the last month of the year, for the last six weeks we’ve been upping their feed and we’re building them up into their show condition.”
A Barastoc ambassador, Greg has fed Barastoc Breed N Grow and Barastoc Groom as staples for his show team for many years. Recently, he has been very excited to add Barastoc’s new product, Supreme, to their diets; as show season draws closer and the show team’s workload and nutritional requirements increase, the timing has been perfect.
“It is an amazing feed, and it’s really putting the finishing touches on our horses as we come closer to their first shows. It’s very high in amino acids and we’re seeing the impact on their condition, their topline and their coats,” Greg explains. “I’m very lucky to be a Barastoc ambassador. Barastoc managed to get me a pallet of Supreme before the product launched! So, we’ve been feeding it for a few weeks now and it’s very palatable, the horses absolutely love it. Here at Romsey Park we range from ponies to warmbloods to thoroughbreds, and we do have some thoroughbreds who can be picky eaters, but not one of the horses have turned their nose up at the feed.”
Barastoc Supreme has an optimised essential amino acid profile to support muscle development, protection and repair, plus added antioxidants, including vitamin E, in addition to all-natural, fermentation-based pre/probiotics to promote robust digestive health and immune system resilience and function. It’s clear that the Romsey Park horses – including stable star Total Fashionista who appears on the Barastoc Supreme bag – will be heading into the show season in peak condition!