Why is it important to steam hay for the performance horse?

By Stephanie Davis, DVM

We have discussed much about the benefits of steaming hay for horses.

Why, then, talk specifically about the performance horse? How is it different from others?

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The question might seem rhetorical; simply, these horses are athletes. Their condition must be optimal, whether they are race horses, show jumping horses, or endurance horses. These horses require maximum physical fitness to perform.

By now we all know the benefits of steaming hay. First, allergenic and inflammatory mold spores and dust are removed from the hay. A secondary benefit of steam purification is an increase in hay palatability. This can certainly be an advantage during travel, when horses have a reduced appetite due to travel and hectic horse shows.

When you are stressed, do you eat a carrot or chocolate? Most of us will choose chocolate! Here, consider steamed hay as the “chocolate” of forages.

When preparing a horse for a competition of any kind, we first have to pay an entry fee, right? So before we even got there, we invested a certain level of money in this event. In addition, we may have taken multiple lessons (for a fee) from our trainers to train our horses before competition or paid the trainer to work on the horse. The horse probably has to travel to the competition, which, again, has its costs. And again the cost of equipment: saddles, bridles, right boots, jockey, clothes, board and lodging! It is clear that getting a horse to compete in any sport and at any level is a major investment.

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These competitions are a great financial and emotional expense, especially if we add the fact that a victory or level of success comes down to a split second. If there was a way to keep the horse healthy and possibly have the advantage of that split second, you would want to know what it is, right? The simple answer is Steamed hay, the most natural and non-invasive way to influence and improve your horse’s performance.

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