Photo credit: Callie Heroux Photography
“That’s why our horses’ respiratory health is incredibly important to me,” the international rider explains. “We use highest quality hay, but still within that there are little spores and different things that can be damaging and irritating. We’ve had great success with our steamed hay regime for several years now.”
Allergies and breathing difficulties in her top horse of 10 years ago, Destination Known, led Allison to Haygain Hay Steamers. Arthur, Allison’s partner in winning the 2016 Carolina International CIC3*, thrived on steamed hay for different reasons. “I had always struggled to maintain his weight and appetite,” she recounts. But Arthur agreed with studies confirming steamed hay’s increased palatability and became a horse that “dived right into his hay.”
Allison was thrilled with the results for those top mounts and quickly recognized the benefits of steamed hay for every horse in her program, even those without apparent respiratory or diet issues. Today, that’s about 17 horses at her Aiken, South Carolina home base, keeping her full-bale HG 2000 unit steaming just about all day, every day. The smaller HG One hits the road with Allison’s crew so the horses get the same clean, tasty, healthy hay at competitions.
It’s all about that ounce of prevention. “Some might see it as an extra step, but to me it’s totally worth making it part of the horses’ routine. The equine respiratory system is really sensitive and that’s why I feel it’s so important to be proactive in this way.”
Allison was one of the first Americans to fully embrace the benefits of steamed hay. The process was developed almost a decade ago in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, England. It was conceived as an alternative to soaking hay in order to reduce respirable dust. Through numerous scientific, peer-reviewed and published studies, steaming with Haygain was proven to eliminate respirable dust particles and kill mold, bacteria, fungal spores and mites while it retained the hay’s nutritional value and improved palatability in even the finest quality forage.
Housed in a sealed, thermally-efficient purpose-built steam chest, Haygain’s patented spike manifold steams hay from the inside out by injecting the steam evenly throughout the entire bale. Temperatures rise to at least 212° Fahrenheit as the 50-minute steaming cycle removes airway irritants and contaminants. In addition, it adds water and increases palatability, not to mention its enticing aroma.
The Carolina International, March 21-25 is next up on the Allison Springer Eventing agenda. It’s one of her favorite events thanks to terrific competition, a lovely setting and lots of fans and sponsor support. It’s also part of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series and a major stop for top horses and riders.
Allison’s own roster includes three rising stars: Lord Willing and Fernhill Cassano in the CIC 3* and Business Ben in the CIC 2*. Allison’s rounds can be caught on live stream (www.eqsports.net) for those who can’t make it to the 250-acre Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, North Carolina. The Fairhill Spring CIC in mid-April and Jersey Fresh in May round out the rider’s next itinerary highlights.
Eventing’s loss of Arthur after his retirement last spring has been dressage’s gain. A heart condition prevented him from continuing on three-day eventing’s extreme exertion track, but he’s excelling in the dressage court at Prix St. Georges. “He’s my sweet Arthur and it’s really fun doing dressage with him.”
Allison is grateful to have her “pretty fantastic” young horses coming up the ranks. With the daily help of Haygain steamed hay, she’s brought them all along these last several years and sees a bright, healthy future for them at the highest levels of the sport.
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