A forage-based diet is best for almost any horse. However, forage has a big downside. It’s a top source of the respirable particles that infiltrate and irritate our horses’ respiratory tract and lead to respiratory disease, including equine asthma.
Miracle-working therapy mare, Amazing Grace, faced exactly this dilemma. Forage was good for her gut function and for keeping her happily occupied during much of the day. But the respirable particles in it badly exacerbated her Severe Equine Asthma, aka "heaves."
Amazing Grace is a life-saving hero to several veteran clients at Whispering Grace Horses' Freedom Farms program in Massillon, Ohio. The 21-year-old Appaloosa was rescued from a slaughter-bound situation and lost an eye to cancer.
For a while, however, it seemed respiratory disease might be the one obstacle she couldn't overcome.
Amazing Grace's Severe Equine Asthma was first treated with the bronchodilator medication called albuterol. That kept her extreme wheezing fits under control until it didn’t. Her veterinarian suspected that dust and microbes in the hay were causing or exacerbating her condition and recommended substituting hay with soaked alfalfa cubes.
The soaked cubes helped resolve the dust issue, but they caused another problem.
Steamed Hay Saves the Day
“She inhaled those cubes so fast she had nothing to eat when the rest of horses were eating their hay," says Whispering Grace's Bill Shearer. "And she had nothing left in her stomach for too long, so she was hungry.”
That led to agitation almost as bad as the frustration surrounding the Severe Equine Asthma episodes. Amazing Grace kicked the stall walls to the point Bill worried she’d injure herself.
Since Amazing Grace started on Steamed Hay, those issues have virtually disappeared, Bill says. Because Haygain Hay Steaming reduces up to 99% of the respiratory disease-causing particles in her hay, the mare continues on a heathy, mostly forage diet. She spends as much time eating as her stable mates do, so she doesn't have that agitation over an empty bucket and an empty belly.
Her story is a classic example of how Haygain Steamed Hay helps horses stay on an ideal forage diet, without the respiratory risks of dry hay.
Haygain is proud to play its part in Amazing Grace continuing her amazing work.