Posted: 7th September 2022 | Back to news feed



Asthmatic pony enjoys pasture romps with the help of Steamed Hay at Mossburn Community Farm.

Sixteen-year-old Welsh Section B pony Mitzee became a permanent Mossburn Community Farm resident in 2020 following several short-term loan homes from the sanctuary. After a long career as jumping pony, Mitzee now gets care for the equine asthma that ended her rideable days at Mossburn.

Mossburn Community Farm is a licensed animal welfare establishment in Lockerbie, Scotland. It’s been caring for misused, unwanted and neglected horses and ponies, as well as a variety of other animals, since it opened in 1990. Mitzee also has Cushings Disease and occasional bouts of laminitis, making her one of the program’s more complicated cases from a health management standpoint. In addition to top quality care, Mitzee is showered with TLC every day from Mossburn’s staff and many volunteers.

“She is a very sweet pony and a favorite of many of our volunteers,” says Mossburn yard manager Siobhan Webster.  “I think she had worked very hard in her life and we are happy to give her an easier life.”


Regular Coughing on Easy Rides

Shortly after her return to Mossburn, Mitzee began to show clear signs of respiratory problems. She coughed regularly when ridden on low-exertion trail rides. Even when Mitzee retired from under saddle work, her breathing effort went from bad to worse, despite spending last winter mostly outdoors with open stabling. Hay and bedding are the top sources of respiratory irritants, so indoor living can be especially hard for horses with breathing issues.

The effort to breathe became so extreme that Mitzee significantly dropped condition, Siobhan reports. Cushings Disease, its requirement of low-starch diets and the related risk of laminitis compounded the difficulties of the pony’s care.

Haygain Steamed Hay is part of Mitzee’s carefully calibrated management routine.  Haygain’s patented steaming technology reduces up to 99% of the respirable particles commonly found in forage. Getting hay that is virtually free of the invisible, microscopic irritants that cause and exacerbate equine asthma is good for all horses and it’s critical for Mitzee. The Mossburn team had been soaking Mitzee’s hay to reduce dust. “That is a pain in the bum and not at all easy due to facilities where Mitzee’s pasture was at the time,” notes Siobhan. “Steaming is so much easier, quicker for us and more effective.”

Siobhan took the lead on finding healthier hay for Mitzee. “One of my friends on Facebook has a Haygain and had posted about how good they are. I saw them in other places and did my own research.” Siobhan also saw social posts about making one’s own steamer with a wheelie bin and a paint stripping steamer. “The general consensus was that DIY methods do not work as effectively because they do not achieve the temperatures or maintain them for a long enough period of time.”


Going With The Pros

Siobhan is right about that. Steaming methods that don’t achieve and maintain temperatures at or around 100°C can foster the growth of bacteria and mold. “Mitzee really needed something we knew was going to help so we wanted to make sure we got the good, effective product, rather than try to cobble something together on our own.”

Haygain Steamed Hay is part of an asthma management routine that includes nebulizer treatments and living outdoors as much as possible. Mitzee lives in a special pasture situation where her food intake can be restricted with relative ease.

She and her pony pasture mates Keisha and Coco are inseparable and they all love the Haygain Steamed Hay. Coco also has Cushing’s Disease, so the slight reduction of sugar content achieved by Haygain steaming is good for her, too. The Mossburn team had been soaking Coco’s hay, too, before the arrival of the Haygain HG 600 that steams approximately half a bale at a time.

“I know it’s been helpful for Mitzee and that having the Haygain will be helpful for many of our horses over many years,” Siobhan concludes. On her good days, Mitzee can be seen happily galloping with her pasture-mates. With Haygain’s help, Siobhan is confident there will be many more good days to come.

For more information on Mossburn Community Farm and the great work they do, visit

For more information on The Haygain Way visit 

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