Now it would seem slightly controversial for a site that's trying to sell you a product to then tell you how to DIY it and avoid spending the money...but you'll see where this is going.
We're talking hay steamers. Yes, it is possible to make your own which will work reasonably well. The details on how to do this are below.
Why use hay steamers? The idea with hay steamers are that you don't get the nutrients washed out of the hay and don't get heavy water logged haynets everywhere. Plus, the dust in the hay is stuck to the hay so doesn't affect the horses lungs... The traditional way of doing this is to get a kettle of boiling water and pour it into a bin bag with your hay in and close the neck of the bag. However you can do much larger amounts successfully with you own design.
Why buy a 'proper' hay steamer? A home made contraption is fairly bulky if your travelling so you end up going down the 'proper route' in order to fit it in your lorry. Secondly, a home made version won't do anywhere near as good a job as a proper steamer so you need a proper one if your horse suffers form COPD. Plus, when you're spending vast amounts of money keeping horses on the road isn't it better to spend a bit more to get the best?
On a separate front, if you're a professional yard or are based at any commercial operation building your own isn't really an option because if it were to go wrong then the legal aspects get a bit tricky.
How to make your own hay steamer. If the above doesn't apply to you building your own hay steamer is easy. Take a wheelie bin or other large container and drill a small hole in the bottom of it. Go to HomeBase and buy a wallpaper remover which pumps out steam. The idea is to fit the nozzle of the wallpaper remover into the hole in the bottom of the container. The hay then goes inside the container and is securely shut. The wallpaper remover is plugged into a timer so you get the correct timing and can forget about your hay for the time being. Very roughly you need about 10min per slice of hay. Its also worth remembering that you might have to top up the water tank on the wallpaper remover as it won't keep producing steam for long enough.
So there you have it, simples, but is it really right for you?