Tamie Smith Heads to Badminton as New Member of the Haygain USA Team
Written by by Kim F Miller
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 22:18

by Kim F Miller

May 1, 2019: The Badminton Horse Trials CCI5* starting today has only three American contenders and one of them, Tamie Smith, is a relatively new member of Haygain’s U.S. ambassador team. Her partner is the 16 year old Dutch Warmblood Wembley. He’s big, bold and opinionated and it was one of those opinions that led Tamie to Haygain Steamed Hay.

Tamie Smith & Wembley. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Wembley was a finicky eater, making it hard to keep weight on his 17-hand frame and to sustain the energy needed for the rigors of eventing’s three phases. Tamie thought the appealing taste and texture of steamed hay might help and she was right. A better appetite was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to steamed hay’s benefits.  Now all the horses in Tamie’s Next Level Eventing program in Southern California are getting those benefits.

“All you have to do is look at steamed hay versus dusty, dirty, dry hay, and it’s a no brainer,” Tamie told us. “You can see how much cleaner it is and we just feel it’s overall better for the horses’ respiratory systems.”

Although it made immediate sense to Tamie and her team, they confirmed the nutrient content of the steamed hay by having before and after-steaming batches tested. “We heard some people say it takes the nutrients out,” she says of a common misconception. “It doesn’t. That’s what happens when you soak hay—all the nutrients drain out with the water. But the steamed hay nutritional content was good.” 

A Major Accomplishment

Getting to Badminton from the United States is a major accomplishment. Getting there from the West Coast even more so. The region lacks nothing in quality, but it doesn’t approach the quantity of top riders, horses and competitions that exist on the East Coast. The whole eventing scene back East is relatively concentrated geographically. That all makes it harder to get on and stay on the sport’s radar screen for international consideration. Named to the United States Equestrian Team’s 2019 Development Pre-Elite Training List, Tamie secured her place on that screen several years ago.

Along with dominating top competitions out West, 3,000-mile cross-country treks have been regular parts of Tamie’s ascent. That and the numerous victories, competition grants and industry honors reflect her grit and determination as an equestrian. Eventers are a famously friendly and supportive lot, and Tamie epitomizes that. She is a leader and cheerleader for her fellow West Coasters and is known for helping others any way she can.

“The energy that Tamie exudes attracts a similar kind of energy and people to her,” Judith McSwain told Practical Horseman Magazine in 2015. Judith is a sponsor and owner of several of Tamie’s horses over the years, including Fleeceworks Royal, who Tamie has brought along to the 4* level. “She has incredible drive and that transcends everything she does. She’s talented and hard working. She’s a good, kind, generous person and she loves, loves, loves her horses! She’s the real deal.”

Clean Hay Is Key

Haygain USA is proud to be part of Tamie’s team. Like all of its rider ambassadors, she puts her horses’ health and well-being before all else. Haygain was founded on the same conviction, starting with an emphasis on protecting and improving the horse’s delicate respiratory system.

As Tamie knows, clean hay is key. Along with stall bedding, hay of all types—even the priciest and most pristine--is the biggest contributor to respiratory problems.  It’s loaded with breathable irritants: dust, bacteria, mold and fungal spores. Their presence in the airways greatly increases the risk of conditions on the newly defined “Equine Asthma Spectrum.” Most notably, Inflammatory Airway Disease is estimated to affect over 80% of the sporthorse population. As the Spectrum becomes better understood, so does recognition of how often horses suffer from compromises to their respiratory tract—often without detection.


The demanding sport of eventing gives riders plenty of things to worry about: precise movements in the dressage court, large immovable obstacles on cross-country and featherweight poles in stadium jumping. Dirty hay is one thing Tamie Smith is happy not to worry about!


Reprinting and posting encouraged and high-resolution photos are available.  For more information on Haygain, visit www.haygain.us.