Margot McNally’s path to Haygain steamers.

A total reversal for Runic’s equine asthma case, after only 10 days with Haygain!

Kim F Miller, Equestrian Journalist

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Margot McNally is an elementary school music teacher. When he is not at school, however, his favorite music is the silence brought on by the absence of coughing in Runic, his 18-year-old mare. Margot started riding two years ago as a beginner after a 40-year break from horses. First riding his trainer’s Thoroughbred/Hanover mare, a year later he realized his childhood dream by purchasing Runic. Margot knew that Runic coughed occasionally, but this had rarely interfered with his well-being or activity.

That sporadic coughing came and went with the seasons and different hay batches. But the more time Margot spent with Runic, the more she saw things getting worse. Initially the problem arose only during exercise, and was partly alleviated by soaking the hay. A short time later, the cough occurred even when Runic was at rest. By December 2019, “coughing had become a daily thing, really painful to hear,” Margot recalls.

The veterinarian’s diagnosis was equine asthma, which affects a surprisingly high percentage of active sport horses, often without obvious symptoms. The veterinarian recommended the bronchodilator drug Respipulmin to ease Runic’s breathing. This certainly helped, but the high cost ($15 a day for the rest of his life) would add nearly $5,500 to his annual care.

So while Runic was taking a break from activities to undergo treatment with preliminary medication, Margot immediately set to work to find a solution to her respiratory problem, and here Haygain entered the picture.

Developed 11 years ago in collaboration with the U.K.’s Royal Agricultural University, Haygain’s high-temperature purification eliminates up to 99 percent of the dust, mold, fungi and bacteria found even in high-quality hay. These pathogens are major contributors to all conditions in the equine asthma spectrum. The most common of these conditions, inflammatory airway disease, affects more than 80 percent of horses. Haygain has been shown to reduce the risk of contracting IAD by 65 percent, a result proven by years of research and scientific evidence.

“After only 10 days of Haygain, Runic completely stopped taking her medication and returned to work.”

Margot decided that an HG One steamer would be Runic’s Christmas gift. “After only 10 days of Haygain, Runic completely stopped taking her medication and returned to work.”

Certainly a hay purifier is a significant investment for any horse owner; at the same time, its cost is about one-fifth of the cost of Runic’s medication-for just one year.

For Margot, riding on the plains, progressing as a rider, and deepening her bond with Runic is her daily reward and her ideal therapy: “It’s better therapy than any counselor could give!

Runic lives “six steps away” from Margot’s home at the Westbrooke Equestrian Center in Pt. Alberni, British Columbia. Margot purifies Runic’s hay in a shed behind her house, then empties the hay-filled net into a Rubbermaid container in the back of her truck. “When I get to the pit, the temperature is perfect for her.”

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“I believe Haygain 100%, and Runic will eat only Steamed hay for the rest of his life!”

Runic eats steamed hay with taste, and his stall neighbors love the smell. In addition to being a better method of improving equine respiratory health, steamed hay beats soaked hay by far, especially in the “discomfort” factor. “I soaked her hay until last spring, and it was a total mess,” Margot reports. “I wondered how on earth I could keep soaking the hay all winter long. It’s really cold here and sometimes we don’t have running water outside.”

While Runic provides Margot with a beloved “unofficial” form of therapy, Margot’s gift of Steamed hay allows her mare a therapy whose effectiveness is proven by scientific documentation.

How can Haygain help your horse?

For years, Haygain has been working in the field to improve the respiratory and musculoskeletal health of horses through research and innovation. Numerous scientific studies have shown that Haygain’s high-temperature purification eliminates 99% of dust, mold, bacteria and fungi in hay, effectively eliminating the health threat from respirable dust.

Developed by horsemen for horsemen, Haygain understands the importance of clean forage and a stable, healthy environment to maintain the horse’s overall well-being. Hay steamers are recommended by leading equine riders, trainers and veterinarians worldwide.

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