Hay steaming for a Mini brings big benefits to all of Black Star Equestrian's horses.
By Kim Miller | Equestrian Writer
An emphasis on cutting edge horse care has anchored California equestrian Kristy Miller through several professional incarnations: competitor, trainer, coach, and, in the past, show manager and association leader.
Since zeroing in on hunter/jumper development and sales program and outfitting her own private training facility in 2017, Kristy's horse care knowledge has become an even bigger asset. Plus, she enjoys the daily opportunity to see how her choices affect the horses in her care.
The six to eight sales horses at Kristy's Black Star Equestrian in Southern California are typically destined for the high-end hunter/jumper show circuit. Arena footing, stabling amenities and therapeutic equipment are geared toward keeping them fit, sound and prepared to perform at their peak. But it wasn't the talented and fancy hunters and jumpers that brought Haygain Steamed Hay to Kristy's attention.
It was Eazy-E, one of three Miniature horses she rescued from a Texas kill pen in 2018. Kristy adopted them sight unseen and committed to returning them to health and comfortable lives.
Eazy-E arrived with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This most severe condition on the Equine Asthma Spectrum got its "heaves" nickname from the heaving effort COPD horses must make to exhale air. Extreme irritation and inflammation in the respiratory system makes an otherwise effortless act very strenuous.
Benefits For All
Kristy purchased a Haygain hay steamer in the fall of 2018 and quickly realized that it wasn't just Eazy-E it would help. She'd debated between the medium sized half-bale model, the HG600, and the largest model, HG2000, which steams a bale or more per cycle. "I'm so glad I bought the bigger model," she reflects. "If I'd bought the medium size, only a few of the horses would be getting steamed hay."
Because high-temperature hay steaming reduces up to 99% of the dust, fungi, mold, bacteria and other allergens found even in hay of good nutrient quality, steamed hay has become a key to the success of her sales horse business.
With horses coming in from different sources, it can take a while to figure out sensitivities and allergies. Steaming hay creates a reliable consistency, eliminates most allergens and adds water to the diet to aid digestion and hydration. Horses typically prefer it to dry hay, increasing appetite and reducing hay waste.
Eazy-E's COPD became manageable shortly after getting steamed hay. COPD can't be cured, but reducing respirable particles can greatly reduce its effects. A horse who'd made a mess of his stall because he constantly dunked his hay no longer does that and allergy symptoms in another horses abated significantly.
"They all benefited from the steamed hay," Kristy reports. "Their coats are amazing and their fecal matter looks bright and healthy."
Kristy is so sold on the benefits of steamed hay that she recently added the medium-size steamer, the HG600, to her stable. That way, horses at home and those at shows stay on their diet of fresh, clean hay all the time. She joins an increasing number of hunter/jumper competitors who travel with their HG600s. It's one of two easily-portable models: the other being the HGOne, which is perfect for feeding one or two horses, or several Minis!