For your horse
A recent study showed that 84% of horses examined suffered from Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD). One of the main causes of IAD is respirable dust and a major source of this is hay. IAD can limit an athletic horse’s performance.
Haygain hay steamers are the only scientifically proven method to dramatically reduce respirable dust in hay and kill mould, fungal spores and bacteria that can cause IAD. The above study found that steaming hay with a Haygain hay steamer reduced the risk of your horse developing IAD by 63%. Read the research.
Source: Dr. Julie Dauvillier and Dr. Emmanuelle van Erck-Westergren, 2013, 2014
Studies highlight the need to review horse care activities and implement dust-reducing stable management regimes to reduce the incidence of respiratory disorders in people working with horses. 25% of people working with horses have a diagnosed respiratory condition such as asthma, not to mention all the hay fever suffers. Steamed hay effectively reduces these incidences.
Source: Gosling K (2014) The Prevalence of Human Respiratory Disorders in UK Equine Industry Personal BSc Thesis, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, UK.
For the environment
Steaming hay drastically reduces water consumption. Filling a container for soaking hay typically uses 50 - 250 litres. The sheer volume of water used has an impact not just on water bills, but also on the environment. Post-soak water is contaminated with bacteria, mould, WSC, proteins and minerals which leach out of the hay, making it an environmental pollutant which must not be disposed of in storm drains. Haygain steamers only use about 4 ½ litres of water per cycle and produce no environmental pollutants.
Source: Warr EM, Petch JL (1992) Effects of Soaking Hay on its Nutritional Quality. Eq.Vet.Edu. 5:169–171.
For your wallet
An epidemiological study found respiratory problems in racehorses to be the second highest reason for lost training days. Thus, a dusty stable environment can have serious health and financial implications for all equestrian establishments.
As it is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical medical treatment, using Haygain steamers is a legal way to maximise performance with no danger of doping.
Source: Rossdale PD et al. K (1985) Epidemiological Study of Wastage Among Racehorses, Vet Rec, 116:66-69.
Why Not Soaking?
Soaking hay in water wets airborne particles to keep down dust, but there are a number of obvious disadvantages to this method:
- It is a physically arduous, cold, wet and messy task
- It uses 60-100 litres of water
- Soaking leaves live micro-organisms in the hay; these quickly multiply, particularly in warm, damp conditions, thereby compromising the hygienic quality of the forage
- Soaking hay reduces respirable particles but leaches nutrients out of the forage and, as with partial steaming, bacteria levels increase by two to five-fold. This produces poor quality, more contaminated forage which can raise the risk of enteritis and colic. High losses of WSC, protein and minerals occur when hay is soaked for as little as 10 minutes
- These nutrients in the waste water produce a post-soak liquid 9 times more polluting than raw sewage which must not be disposed of in storm drains.