How Haygain is helping horses breathe easier

Inflammatory Airway Diseases (IAD) has become a common problem in horses. Haygain is working tirelessly to learn more about this disease, and provide a solution that can help horses breathe easier.

You’ve probably heard of hay steaming – but are you aware of the benefits? Commercial hay steamers have only been on the market in North America for the past few years, so their numerous advantages are still being discovered by horse caretakers and scientists alike. At the forefront of this research is Haygain – a company whose hay steamers are currently the only scientifically proven way to purify hay.

Respirable dust, mold spores and pathogens are a leading cause of Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD) in horses. In fact, according to a recent study, a whopping 88% of horses examined suffered from this disease. In the same study, it was discovered that Haygain hay steamers reduced the risk of a horse developing IAD by 65%. These numbers speak for themselves – hay steaming might be a new practice, but it’s becoming more necessary than optional.

What about soaking? While soaking hay and haylage has also been shown to reduce respirable dust, this method is both tedious and inefficient when compared with steaming. In fact, it was the search for a better alternative to soaking that led to the creation of Haygain’s unique devices back in the early 2000s. “When the research for hay steaming first began, Professor Meriel Moore Colyer of the Royal Agricultural University and Haygain worked together to test different methods of steaming hay,” says Haygain’s Director of Technical Sales, Becky James, BSc MSc. “They wanted to reduce respirable dust in hay while retaining minerals and nutritional value, and realized that a system that would inject steam evenly throughout the hay was needed.”

Haygain’s high-temperature steamers steam evenly and reach all areas of the hay – and this excellence is something that permeates to all facets of their company. Because their mission is to help horses be healthy, more comfortable and to enhance their performance, Haygain decided to invest in another product that would help them reach this goal. Two years ago, they purchased ComfortStall Orthopedic Sealed Flooring – a sealed, three-layer flooring system that includes a middle layer of orthopedic foam.

“The addition of ComfortStall flooring was a perfect fit for the company’s emphasis on science-based, proactive horse health,” says Becky. “It provides a cushioned yet stable surface for horses, eliminating hock sores, and reducing wear and tear on joints.” Besides being extremely therapeutic, this special flooring means only a few shavings and/or straw for bedding are required to absorb urine. Less bedding equals savings on labor, shavings and waste removal – and of course, fewer dust particles for the horse to breathe in.

“It’s very gratifying helping the equine population breathe better,” says Becky. She recalls the story of a 23-year-old rescued BLM Mustang, whose caretaker took him on even though a case of recurrent airway obstruction meant he’d probable never be ridden. “Steamed hay has been a key part of his treatments and, according to his owner, he now has ‘more go than whoa’.” Indeed, the more that’s revealed about the health-wise practice of hay steaming, the more it becomes a sought-after method of improving health in horses – and everyone else in the barn! To learn more about the benefits of hay steaming and all that it can offer your horse, visit