A Berkshire company offering products that improve the health and well-being of horses has successfully secured a £200,000 Thames Valley Berkshire (TVB) Expansion Loan to help it grow.
Haygain produces a range of equipment that is being hailed as essential to equine health by vets and horse owners alike. Hay, whilst indispensable to a horse’s diet, is the cause of well-known health problems in horses with 80% of stabled horses suffering airway inflammation. This often leads to respiratory issues resulting in 1 in 6 needing antibiotics. For centuries, soaking has been the traditional method for ‘cleaning’ hay but research now shows this unpleasant, labour intensive method can in fact increase bacteria counts and reduces the nutritional value of the hay.
Haygain CEO, Edzo Wisman, explains how the company has brought this process into the 21st century: “over the past decade Haygain has worked with the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), to pioneer the development of an effective technique for properly cleaning hay. Our patented hay steamers inject steam into the centre of the hay and ours is the only method proven to eliminate all mould, fungal spores and bacteria whilst maintaining nutritional value and palatability.”
The company’s series of steaming units ranges from a small portable model through to a product big enough to service larger stables and livery yards. This is complemented by additional products to support equine health including the Haygain Forager, a slow feeder developed to allow stabled horses to feed at a pace reflecting their natural grazing behaviour, thus addressing the gastro and other issues linked to horses being given distinct daily meals.
The company has already started a phase of rapid growth; as its products are becoming more well-known it has an increasing repertoire of endorsements from influencers in the equine industry as well as from veterinary professionals. The company’s impressive customer list includes a number of high profile names including leading horse trainers and stables, Olympic medal winning riders, HM The Queen, the Household Cavalry Regiment and London’s Metropolitan Police. However, with over 58million horses kept worldwide and an increasing awareness of the benefits of steaming hay, there is a considerable global market that Haygain has yet to tap into.
The £200,000 TVB Loan will be used to help Haygain take advantage of this substantial market opportunity by increasing sales and marketing activity, particularly in the US market where it is starting to gain traction. The loan will also help fund research and development activity to find a more cost effective, universal boiler that can be used across the entire range of steamers.
Ian Baker, Senior Fund Manager at The FSE Group which manages the TVB Expansion Loan Scheme on behalf of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments: “Haygain has successfully developed a product range to suit all classes of horse owner, from individuals to major racing stables. Its exceptional client list and respected independent accreditation mean it is well-placed to exploit the significant growth potential in this niche market. We look forward to working with the company as it moves towards fulfilling its ambitions.”
TVB Expansion Loan Scheme is part of TVB Funding Escalator, an £8.3m initiative funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The escalator, which also includes a Trade Finance Loan Scheme and a Growth Equity Fund, provides eligible companies with loans and equity funding between £25,000 and £250,000 for activities that will deliver high-growth and employment opportunities.
For more information about the Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator, please visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator or contact Ian Baker firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 01276 608517.