How steaming hay became best practice in mainstream horse management *Promotion*

  • Promotional feature with Haygain

    “Steamed what?” and “Cook hay?” were incredulous questions when Haygain Hay Steamers rolled out of development at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester and into the commercial market.

    Those questions are now obsolete.

    The idea of steaming hay to reduce respirable irritants came from an owner’s hunch that his hunters’ coughs were coming from irritants in their forage. Today, thousands of horses have improved respiratory function, fewer allergies and better overall health and performance thanks to Haygain’s patented hay steaming technology. From hunters and ponies to Olympic athletes, Haygain leads the way in helping prevent or manage respiratory issues that affect over 80% of the active sport horse population.


    “We’re happy to see the benefits of hay steaming so well understood and embraced,” observes Becky James, Haygain’s vice president of research and development. She was on the ground floor of Haygain’s development and hands-on in establishing the proven research and results that are Haygain’s hallmarks.

    Ms James lets the facts speak for themselves:

    • Haygain’s patented steaming technology uses a spike manifold system to inject steam evenly throughout forage in a thermally-sealed chest. Steam temperatures are at least 100°C. That’s the temperature required to kill mould, bacteria and other allergens commonly found even in hay of good nutrient quality
    • Steaming hay at lower temperatures can increase bacteria and mould content
    • Mould, bacteria and allergens comprise respirable dust that is the primary cause of inflammatory airway disease
    • Inflammatory airway disease affects more than 80% of active sport horses to some extent
    • Horses fed Haygain steamed hay were 65% less likely to develop inflammatory airway disease in a study published by the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
    • Haygain steaming retains hay’s nutrients. A study of 30 different hay samples demonstrated that the only nutrient decreased during Haygain steaming is water soluble carbohydrates – by just 2.3%
    • Haygain steamed hay has up to three times the moisture of dry hay


    Haygain has grown into a global company with hay steamers one of its three core products. The Forager Slow Feeder and ComfortStall Sealed Orthopaedic Flooring comprise the “Haygain Way” that is synonymous with healthy horse management.

    Veterinarians worldwide promote the benefits of reducing respirable irritants in the equine environment and especially the horse’s breathing zone. Haygain hay steaming is the only proven method of purifying forage. The Forager Slow Feeder keeps that hygienic hay clean, as opposed to wall-hung hay nets from which horses shake and tug their forage. Facilitating a slow eating pace and a naturally lowered head position are additional benefits.


    ComfortStall cleans up the breathing zone by preventing fluids from pooling at the stable sub-floor. These accumulations can be bacteria breeding grounds and the ammonia scented off-gases from pooled urine irritate horse and human eyes and respiratory systems.

    The danger of respirable dust in the equine environment is a relatively new realisation. However, Haygain has been on the case for several years already, reducing respirable risks and improving horse health with proven research and proven results.

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