For The Herd

Haygain helps the horses who started our journeys. 

Kim Miller
Equestrian writer | June 26, 2020

Barns are open and schooling shows and clinics are cropping up throughout Canada as the industry tiptoes toward normalcy. Yet the school horses who likely put riders on an equestrian path in the first place are still hurting. Big time.

 After two months of complete shut-down because of COVID-19 and now an only partial return to regular operations, lesson program owners are looking at scary balance sheets: same costs of feed and care, but nothing in the revenue column.

 As a silver level corporate sponsor of Ontario Equestrian's For The Herd campaign, Haygain is helping provide desperately needed funds toward feed and care of "schoolies" throughout the province. "Haygain is all about helping horses," notes Bee Richardson, the company's VP of Marketing and an Ontario equestrian. "We know how important lesson horses are as most people's first introduction to our sport and we are happy to help."

 The idea started as a local Facebook-based endeavor and has grown considerably since Ontario Equestrian took it on in late April. The majority of the $175,000 raised so far has already been distributed to the over 100 lesson programs that have already applied for help.

 The need is intense and ongoing, notes Brandon Hall, Ontario Equestrian's Director of Marketing and Communications. "Everyone has been really set back." The shutdown's effect is exacerbated by the timing. "It happened just as horses needed vaccinations, dental work and de-worming and just before the year's hay purchases need to be made."

 Summer camps are typically a riding school's main profit source for the year, but that's doubtful now. Evolving regulations issued by the Ontario Department of Public Health make it currently unclear whether horse camps will be permitted this season. Ontario Equestrian is working to have horses exempt from new regulations in which summer camps cannot include interactions with pets and animals. "It's too vague to know if horses are included or not," Brandon explains.

Help For The Long Haul

Haygain initially joined the school horse aid effort by donating an HG One Hay Steamer to a fundraising auction for the cause. That auction raised $24,000 and a second, larger silent auction is on the drawing board. In the meantime, a beautiful video is making the social media rounds. It depicts the Ontario equestrian community pulling together to help members in need. "We're strong," the voiceover assures. "Together, we'll get through this. But not without a little help."

 Along with golf, equestrian was one of only two sports allowed to resume in Canada's first phase of return to normal activity. Brandon is happy for all who can get back into the show ring, but he worries that "Now that everybody is getting their fix of riding, the problems that linger may be out of sight and out of mind. If you rode a lesson horse ever, or want the next person to be able to, this is the time to make a donation that will ensure that."

 In addition to product and a much-needed cash donation, Haygain is offering lesson barn operators in Canada a 20% discount on any of its three hay steaming models.

 High-temperature hay steaming has many health benefits, but budget benefits may be steaming's biggest asset right now. Horses rarely waste any of their hay after it's been steamed. And the process makes even less-than-pristine hay appealing in taste and texture, while reducing up to 99% of the dust, fungi, mold, bacteria and allergens found even in hay of top nutrient quality. Steamed hay can also help reduce vet bills by protecting and improving respiratory health, digestion, hydration and overall well-being.

Riding school operators in need, who are interested in the 20% discount on steamers, please call 888 307 0855 for details. Haygain will offer this discount through the duration of COVID-19 related need. 

Give Or Get Help

For The Herd welcomes individual and corporate donations. 

For more information, visit

Ontario Equestrian

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Photo Credit: Katrina Zupan Photography