Hearing stories about how Haygain equipment has helped horses is a daily occurrence around here. The horses we hear about represent a range of breeds, body types and roles in their owners’ lives.
But there’s always a common denominator in a Haygain Hay Steamer, ComfortStall Flooring or a Forager Slow Feeder --- sometimes all three – that have been key to the horse’s happy, healthy state.
We’re horse people and these stories make our days.
Here’s three of our favorites.
Fletcher, Snap and S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g the Horse Care Budget
Starfish Equine Rescue founder Abby Revoir was delighted when a Haygain Hay Steamer showed up at her barn door in New Jersey. She knew it would help the program’s horses directly and indirectly in the form of stretching the rescue operation’s budget for their care.
Fletcher, a then-24-year-old Warmblood with Severe Equine Asthma, was first in line for Steamed Hay. Snap, the lesson pony who coughed immediately and excessively when exercising was next.
"Fletcher couldn't even eat hay when he first came two years ago," explains Abby. "The instant he got near hay, he started to wheeze." To get him off long-term steroid treatments, Abby and her team soaked his hay cubes and kept emergency nebulizer treatments at the ready.
Fletcher had to have his bottom incisor teeth extracted, making it even harder to eat. From the moment Abby presented the first batch of aromatic, freshly steamed hay, Fletcher "eats it all up... no problem."
"Knock wood, he's not having any incidents of difficult breathing," says Abby. "We haven't needed the inhaler."
Steamed Hay has been a "game changer" for, Snap, too. In his case, it was wracking coughs as he began even the mild exercise required of an "up-down lesson” pony.
"We had tried allergy supplements, but they didn't do anything and he was just getting worse."
Preventative measures to keep horses comfortable and healthy without medication are always the desired goal for long-term well-being. Going without steroids, inhaler treatments and allergy supplements also stretches Starfish's budget, which is critical to continuing its good work.
"I always try to prevent those bigger medical expenses," says Abby of the money management side of the charitable 501c3 endeavor she founded in 2016.
High-quality forage and grain are staples of Abby's belief that "not taking shortcuts with horse health benefits the horses and the bottom line in the long run." Haygain Steamed Hay fits that approach and "magnifies" it, she adds.
Enjoy the full story of Starfish Equine Rescue and Haygain here.
Rocko – Pony Gets Back to Primo Quality Poop
A Thoroughbred/Shire cross, Rocko was an easy-keeper family pony except in one mysterious area – bouts of diarrhea that were sometimes accompanied by squirting liquid. His diligent owner Teresa Wilson dove deep into equine digestive issues in hopes of helping him. She learned more than she might have wanted to know about diarrhea and fecal water syndrome until eventually landing on a diagnosis of colitis – inflammation of the colon.
Corticosteroids got the colitis under control as Teresa researched ways to prevent a recurrence. That's when Haygain Steamed Hay crossed her radar screen.
She realized that Rocko's issues corresponded to switches from mostly grass to mostly hay diets. "My thought process was that steaming softens the hay and gets it back to a state nearest to grass, so that it's easier to digest and break down. I had to do it."
"Within 24 hours of getting steamed hay, he was passing better droppings," reports Teresa. A little longer on steamed hay and Rocko went from better and better to best. "Steamed hay has made a massive difference for him."
Teresa also learned that Rocko’s tummy did not have a lot of the bacteria needed to break down the woody structures in hay. She believes that the softened steamed hay helps him compensate for that. She also started hand grazing him in hopes of bringing more bacterial diversity to his diet.
Horses were designed to wander for most of the day, eating bits and pieces along the way, Teresa notes. That lifestyle results in a healthy, diverse balance of bacteria in the gut.
"Now we put the horses in the stable, or in the 2-acre field with lush grass,” Teresa observes of modern horse management realities. “If we see a weed, we spray it. Hence, we have all these problems because horses are not eating the right plants or a diverse range of different plants."
That can degrade the diversity of the microbiome in the horse’s gut.
Teresa’s hunches were validated by a 2020 PLoS ONE paper, The Hay Biome. It found that Haygain steaming had the healthiest effect on maintaining a balanced biome – compared to other pre-feeding treatments.
Read more about Rocko’s condition and Teresa’s impressive efforts to solve them here.
Roxie – Happy Trails After Early Asthma Treatment
There were no signs of equine asthma when Missouri trail rider and horse camper Jane Doskal purchased the dappled, chocolate brown mare, Roxy Ann. There was no wheezing or coughing. But there was a trickle of mucus coming out of Roxy’s nose and Jane knew that could be an early indicator of respiratory trouble.
Jane took Roxie Ann to Dawn Mrad, DVM, at Mid-Rivers Equine Centre in Wentzville, MO, to get a full work-up on her respiratory system’s status. An endoscopy exam revealed the telltale asthma sign: inflammation in the respiratory tract.
She’d caught the condition in its earliest and most treatable stage, and she knew that reducing dust in Roxy’s environment was her best chance to reverse the inflammation.
After a month on Haygain Steamed Hay, Roxy returned to the veterinarian, who could clearly hear the improvements in the mare’s breathing. Jane became a believer. Ever since, her HG 600 Hay Steamer keeps Roxy healthy on dust-free hay whether they’re at home or off camping in the Missouri’s beautiful parklands.
Read Roxy’s full story here.
What’s your horse health story? We’d love to hear it! Email us at email@example.com.