Top Show Jumpers Use Steamed Hay for Respiratory Health
Monday, March 16, 2020
Georgina Bloomberg is a well-known and long-time advocate of horse welfare. Her receipt of the 2019 EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award is the latest acknowledgement of the many good works the international Grand Prix rider and daughter of presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has done for horses and other creatures in need.
Her current and retired competition horses enjoy more fortunate circumstances than those Georgina is famous for helping, but she’s equally determined to help them feel good and thrive. When she and her team noticed that a few of her show jumpers occasionally had a random cough, they wisely didn’t dismiss it.
Even random and sporadic coughing in a horse can be an early indicator of Inflammatory Airway Disease. Multiple studies indicate IAD affects a surprisingly high percent of active sport horses – as high as 88% according to a recent three-year study of 730 horses published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
“We have had a horse or two develop a cough from time to time over the years,” Georgina says. “Stopping a horse from coughing is not always an easy thing to obtain.” Since putting her horses on Haygain steamed hay last fall, the coughs went away.
The only good thing about coughing in a horse is that it may turn more attention to equine respiratory health. “That’s not widely talked about unless an issue arises,” comments Georgina. “We believe being proactive toward our horses’ respiratory health is far better than waiting for that problem to arise. Haygain has played a crucial role in this.”
In the Haygain process, high temperature steam is evenly distributed through hay in a thermally-sealed chest. Temperatures that rise as high as 212*F kill fungi, bacteria and mold found in even top-quality hays. Steaming also reduces 99% of the breathable dust particles found in hay. Because respirable irritants of any kind are the major cause and exacerbator of Inflammatory Airway Disease, Haygain steaming is key to preventing and managing this common and often undiagnosed condition.
Steamed hay offers additional benefits. Georgina likes Haygain’s ability to maintain hay consistency for the horses, at home in New York State, in Florida for the winter or anywhere in the world where they are competing.
The typically one-hour steaming process adds water to the diet, supporting healthy digestive function. Its proven palatability makes it a hit with even the pickiest eaters and helps horses get the quantities of forage and nutrients necessary for optimal health.
Adding steamed hay is a fit with today’s highest-level equine athlete management practices, notes Georgina’s stable manager Richard Padilla. “As the international sport of show jumping gets more specialized, I think everybody wants to cover every angle. Everyone is doing everything in their power to do what’s best for their horses. The fact that there are so many variables in what goes on in the ring makes it all the more important to be diligent about what you can do outside the ring. Everybody is looking to give their horse an advantage.”
Richard first noticed Haygain steamers on the European circuit. The Haygain steaming process was developed in Europe, in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural University in England, and European riders were quick to recognize and incorporate its benefits. “They are always at the vanguard of new methods, so I knew it was a good testimony for Haygain to see so many steamers over there,” notes Richard. Current #1 in the world ranked rider, Martin Fuchs, for example, is one of many steamed hay believers.
American equestrians are catching on quick. Jumping alongside Georgina are Haygain “steam team” members Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Margie Engle and Jessica Springsteen, just to a name a few.
Haygain congratulates Georgina on her well-earned honors and accomplishments, in and out of the show ring, and is proud to be part of her own horses’ care routine.