by Kim F Miller
Pan Am Games-bound & top-10 ranked eventers rely on Haygain USA for maximizing horse health, well-being and performance.
Five of the U.S. current top 10-ranked eventers count on Haygain steamed hay for their horses. Initially, most sought it for different reasons: poor appetite, ulcers and being “allergic to America” among them. Which is kind of funny because these are all secondary benefits.
Steamed hay was developed 10 years ago in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, England. The primary goal was improving respiratory health, which is considered the number-one performance limiter in otherwise healthy horses.
Hay should always comprise the majority of the horse’s diet, but the fact is that even the best quality, most expensive hay is loaded with breathable irritants: dust, mould, fungi and bacteria.These particles infiltrate the airways and lungs, which are one of the most vulnerable and delicate systems in the horse’s body. Unlike muscles, the thin lining of the respiratory system, through which oxygen is absorbed by the body, can’t be made stronger.
Damage can’t be repaired, only managed, which steamed hay is a huge help with. Ideally, Haygain is deployed as a preventative measure. In healthy horses, the clean, pure hay steaming produces enables better breathing that equals better health and performance.Eventers Lead The Way
Globally, eventing riders lead the way in embracing hay steaming. Their three-phase sport involves galloping at speed, two to three miles, over large, permanent obstacles that don’t budge when hit. Feeding clean hay, no matter where they are in the world, ensures the easy breathing essential to that level of exertion.
Recently selected to represent the U.S. at the Pan American Games in August, Tamie Smith turned to Haygain Steamed Hay to help improve her 5* horse Wembley’s appetite. The big horse was a picky eater and needed to eat more to have the energy required.
Wembley’s appetite improved immediately on steamed hay and Tamie quickly recognised its wider benefits and put all her horses on it. “All you have to do is look at steamed hay versus dusty, dirty, dry hay, and it’s a no brainer,” Tamie says. “You can see how much cleaner it is and we just feel it’s overall better for the horses’ respiratory systems.”
One of Tamie’s other horses is Mai Baum, her Pan Am Games partner, and the stakes regarding his health could not be higher right now. The U.S. team must earn Pan Am gold or silver to assure the States a place at the 2020 Olympics.
Tamie’s Pan Am teammate as the traveling reserve, Liz Halliday-Sharp, sought Haygain to help one of her top horses, Deniro Z, recover from an ulcer and prevent a recurrence. For nutritional reasons, he needed to switch from haylage to regular hay, yet still get the water content found in haylage. Since switching to steamed hay, Deniro is back on track as a top international horse.
“Deniro prefers it to anything else,” Liz reports. Like Tamie, Liz is now steaming hay for her other horses. “I like the idea that it’s dust and bug free and they all seem to love it.” Her barn staff is happily on board, too. “We had been soaking our hay and that was a real nightmare. They love not having to do that anymore and the horses are happy and healthy.”
Fellow top-10 ranked rider, Olympian and WEG team member Lauren Kieffer acknowledges that she didn’t realize all of steamed hay’s benefits “until we had a horse that really needed it.” That horse was a recent import who arrived from Europe struggling with allergies. His breathing was frequently wheezy, and he was prone to coughing at rest and while galloping. “He was basically allergic to America,” Lauren comments.
While looking for ways to alleviate the horse’s allergy symptoms, Lauren’s head groom Sally Robertson suggested Haygain. The allergy-affected import was a familiar story for Sally, whose belief in steamed hay dates back to her days in England working for Clark Montgomery. At the time, the American Olympic eventer was based there and some of the horses he brought with him were suffering allergy-like symptoms, probably due to different grasses and other environmental factors. The science-backed benefits of feeding clean hay made immediate sense to Sally and seeing Clark’s horses respond positively to the new diet made her a believer.
Back in the States working for another top rider, Sally saw another imported horse’s persistent cough disappear after just a few feedings of steamed hay. “We just couldn’t get rid of that cough. We’d wet the grain, we’d soak the hay…nothing mattered. But after a few feedings of steamed hay, that cough was gone. It was crazy!”
Sally brought her belief in Haygain when she signed on as head groom for Lauren. Lauren rides for Jacqueline Mars’ Mars Equestrian and is a top candidate for another Olympic outing.
Buck Davidson is another top-10 ranked Haygainer. One of the first Americans to embrace hay steaming, Buck explains that “it was huge for Reggie,” his 2010 World Equestrian Games partner, aka Ballynoe Castle Rm.
Another Olympian, WEG team member and top-10 ranked rider, Will Coleman, adopted steamed hay for his horse’s overall health and improved performance. “You focus on your short-term plans because that’s what will take you to your long-term goals,” he explains. Maintaining peak horse health is the most important aspect of those short-term goals. Steamed hay, “is one of those small things that make a big difference.”Although he’s an Olympian, Will has a reason for choosing steamed hay
that gives him common ground with all horse owners: a desire to provide the best for their horses’ health, well-being and performance.
Any horse owner worth their salt knows that as the weather warms horses need more water, but is that enough? It is also essential to consider electrolytes.
A few facts regarding electrolytes and water:
- Horses lose water and with it electrolytes even when they are at rest
- A horse can easily lose 5 to 15 litres of sweat per hour of moderate work with up to 50g of electrolytes
- During travel horses can lose water at a rate of between 2-3kg/ hour of transport.
- A horse’s body cannot rehydrate itself after exercise if there is a shortage of electrolytes.
- Although a horse will generally drink 25 litres of water per day, in warm weather that can increase up to 75 litres.
What is classified as electrolytes?
Electrolytes are sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium as the most important minerals and should be fed in this order of quantity.
So although owners will often provide salt licks or table salt in their horses feed, it is not a complete electrolyte. Normal salt doesn’t supplement potassium and calcium.
It is also important to understand that a horse needs to adjust to supplement electrolytes. Just feeding at a show or during a heat wave is not sufficient to maintain adequate levels. Working horses in particular should receive electrolytes in their feed daily.
So how do electrolytes impact performance?
Electrolytes are essential for normal muscle contraction and relaxation. When electrolytes become depleted or imbalanced, fatigue and muscle cramps can result. (Catherine Whitehouse, MS, a Nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research (KER))
There are 3 key considerations when feeding for recovery – rehydration, replenishment of muscle glycogen and muscle repair and recovery.
We need to replace both water and electrolytes. Sodium drives thirst so supplementing with sodium will encourage drinking.
Replenishment of muscle glycogen
Muscle glycogen is the energy available to the muscle for working. Electrolytes have been proven to enhance this replenishment action.
Repair and recovery of muscle tissue
With prolonged exercise there is always muscle damage. To combat this additional, vitamin E and C can be fed that reduces the effect of stress induced free radicals. Also feeding amino acids will increase the rate of repair as they are the building blocks of muscles.
It is so important when choosing an electrolyte to read the label carefully and choose one that will address all the issues that come with exercising and traveling of your horse. Make the Smart Choice
Kentucky Equine Research
Science supplements UK
When we discuss insect transmitted diseases the first one that comes to mind is African horse sickness which is viral in nature and transmitted by biting midges or culicoides. Although we widely advise vaccination it is not a guarantee that your horse will not possibly contract the disease. The recommendation from various sources are to prevent bites from midges, as once they have bitten infection has possibly already occurred.
This is also relevant when we think of West Nile disease that is transmitted by mosquitos. West Nile positive horses 2006-2016
And then we have the sheer irritant factor when we consider flies. So how do we choose the most effective insect repellent on the market, from the multitude available? In order to make an informed choice it is important to consider the active ingredient in your choice of insect repellent spray.
DEET was developed in 1944 by Samuel Gertler (Gertler, 1946)of the United States Department of Agriculture for use by the United States Army, following its experience of jungle warfare during World War II. It was originally tested as a pesticide on farm fields, and entered military use in 1946 and civilian use in 1957. It was used in Vietnam and Southeast Asia as an insect repellent to combat malaria and other insect transmitted disease.
Uses & efficacy
In a 2002 study it was found that DEET was up to 95 % effective as a mosquito repellent for more than 5 hours. (Donald R. Barnard, 2002), (H.H. Yap, 2000) (Mark S. Fradin, 2002) (S.P. Frances, 1998) During a study in 2005 it was proven that DEET is as effective in pyrethroid resistant mosquitos as in normal populations. (CEDRIC PENNETIER, 2005) Various studies done around the world on Cullocoides have found that DEET based insect repellants were up to 97 % effective up to 8 hours after application. (C.E. Schreck, 1981) (C.E.Schreck, 1979). In a 2005 study DEET was compared to Citronella and Cypemethrin under local conditions, it was found that Deet was most effective with Citronella having no effect and cypemethrin only being mildly effective. (P.C. Page, 2009)
DEET has even been proven to repel stable flies,and ticks.
DEET has a remarkable safety profile after 40 years of use and nearly 8 billion human applications. When applied with common sense, DEET-based repellents can be expected to provide a safe as well as long-lasting repellent effect. Despite the substantial attention paid by the lay press every year to the safety of DEET, this repellent has been subjected to more scientific and toxicological scrutiny than any other repellent substance. (Mark S. Fradin, 2002).
From the research available locally as well as internationally it is clear that it is of upmost importance to select the most effective active ingredient when selecting an insect repellent spray. When combined with management procedures, this provides the best opportunity to combat possible infections of African Horse sickness and West Nile Virus.
IR3535 (Ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate)
Developed by Merck in 1970. It was created by mimicking the molecular structure of compounds with known repellent properties. The chemical structure of IR3535 is based upon β-alanine, a naturally occurring beta amino acid.
Efficacy and use IR3535 is a broad spectrum repellent. It repels a variety of biting arthropods including mosquitoes, flies, chiggers, midges, fleas, body lice and ticks (Carroll, 2008). Unlike DEET, IR3535 has also been shown to be effective against head lice, bees and wasps.
As it is solely a repellent it has no killing action and does not give rise to selection pressure or development of resistance. It is biodegradable and completely degraded in the environment within a very short time. (Donald R. Barnard, 2002)
In a 2006 Study lemon eucalyptus–based repellent was tested against the biting midge Leptoconops carteri Hoffman in the Central Valley of California. This relatively new active ingredient has demonstrated high efficacy in a number of studies with mosquitoes. It also proved to be relatively effective in this study.. (Scott P. Carroll, 2006)
C.E. Schreck, D. K. (1981). Repellency determinations of four commercial products agians six species of biting midges (Diptera: Cullicoides). Mosq News. C.E.Schreck, N. T. (1979). Repellency of selected compounds against two species of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Journal of Medical Entomology. Carroll, S. (2008). Prolonged efficacy of IR3535 repellents against mosquitoes and blacklegged ticks in North America. Journal of medical entomology. CEDRIC PENNETIER, V. C.-M. (2005). COMBINATION OF A NON-PYRETHROID INSECTICIDE AND A REPELLENT: A NEW APPROACH FOR CONTROLLING KNOCKDOWN-RESISTANT MOSQUITOES. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 72(6), p. 739 - 744. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2005.72.739 Donald R. Barnard, U. R.-D. (2002). Repellency of IR3535, KBR3023, para-menthane-3,8-diol, and Deet to Black Salt Marsh Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in the Everglades National Park. Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 39, (Issue 6), Pages 895–899. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1603/0022-2585-39.6.895 Gertler, S. (1946, 10 1). a b US 2408389, Gertler, Samuel, "N,N-diethylbenzamide as an insect repellent", published 1946-10-01. H.H. Yap, K. J. (2000). Field efficacy of four insect repellent products against vector mosquitoes in a tropical environment. J. Am. Mosq Control Assoc. Mark S. Fradin, M. a. (2002). Comparative Efficacy of Insect Repellents Against Mosquitoes. New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa011699 P.C. Page, ,. K. (2009). Duration of repellency of N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, citronella oil and cypermethrin against Culicoides species when applied to polyester mesh. Veterinary Parasitology, 105-109. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.03.055 S.P. Frances, R. C. (1998). Laboratory and field evaluation of the repellents DEET, CIC-4 and AI3-37220 against Anopheles farauti (Diptera: Culicidae) in Australia. Journal of medical Entomology. Scott P. Carroll, J. L. (2006). Field Test of a Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent against Leptoconops Biting Midges. The American Mosquito Control Association, Inc. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2987/8756-971X(2006)22[483:FTOALE]2.0.CO;2