Items

Forums
What is in Horse Hay
 By Winniefield Park   •   12th Aug 2017   •   923 views   •   0 comments


My hands are sore, my muscles are tired and my legs and forearms are scratched and bruised. That means we must be haying. Itís been a rough year again for those trying to get hay off of the fields. Constant rain has been a problem in my area, with barely two sunny days in a row, followed by torrential, ground flooding, lake swelling downpours. In other places, drought is a problem. A little balance would be good in a summer of extremes.

Nevertheless, as an old farmer said, there has never been a summer without hay. The problem is the quality of the hay when extreme weather makes things difficult. A lot of the hay being baled here is very coarse, with heavy stems. That might be okay for cattle, but not so great for horses. If the hay is too dry, the leaves of the plants get broken, and are lost during baling and fall to the bottom of feeders where they are often wasted. Making good horse hay is truly skill mixed with common sense.

Lots of things affect horse hay. Different plants grow at different rates, so the composition of the hay changes depending on the growing conditions and the time of year the hay is cut. But wait, isnít all the green stuff just hay? Nope. Hay is made of different plants. Basically, there are two types: legumes and grasses. Grasses in horse hay include timothy, orchard grass, brome grass, bermuda grass, bluegrass, and some people might feed oat or barley hay, but this isnít common. Legumes includes clovers and alfalfa, or as it is called in some places, lucerne.

The type of hay youíll feed your horse will depend on where you live. In the north, east and west, timothy, brome, orchard grass and alfalfa are most commonly fed. In the warmer south, horse owners are more likely to feed bermuda grass.

For those of us who have pleasure horses, especially those with Ďeasy keepersí good grass hay is all our horses need. This provides the nutrients and energy required for good health. Performance horses, mares in foal or nursing foals, or hard keepers may benefit from legume hay, most commonly alfalfa. Alfalfa hay is more nutritious, and has higher protein than grass hays. Horses really like alfalfa hay, so it's good for those horses that are picky eaters. The downside of feeding alfalfa is that it is higher in calcium than grass hays, which can cause a mineral imbalance. Because it is higher in calories from sugars, itís not suitable for horses prone to Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Easy keepers, ponies and horses with EMS would probably be better off with grass hay.

Clover is usually mixed in with grass hay, so even though it is similar in nutritional values to alfalfa, we donít tend to feed straight clover to horses, although some farmers do grow it for cattle. Mixed in, it enhances the nutrition and calories of grass hay. Red clover can be a problem. A mold that can grow on red clovers can cause slobbers, a messy, uncomfortable watering of the mouth, that isnít harmful be does look alarming. Alsike clover, identifiable by itís small pink flowers and solid green leaves, as opposed to leaves of red clover marked with a white ĎVí, can cause photo-sensitivity, ulcers in the mouth, and something called big liver disease. So, itís wise to ask your hay supplier what clovers are in the hay and inspect bales before committing to buying them.

Grass hay is lower in calcium, calories and not quite as nutrient dense as legumes. Grass hays grow quickly in the spring, but slow down as the season progresses. So, first cut hay may be the best for those easy keepers and horses that arenít working too hard. Second, and third cuts may be more rich in alfalfas and clovers, as these keep growing despite a bit of dryness and heat. Grass hays are higher fiber than legume hays, they are good for horses with EMS and for any horse fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system.

With all hays, itís important that your horse always has clean, fresh drinking water available. When horses graze, they get a lot of their moisture from the grass. But, because hay is dry, theyíll need to drink to make up the shortfall.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Feed,
Horse News More In This Category:  Feed and Minerals      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
Avoiding Feed Mill Horse Feed Poisoning
11th Jan 2015   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
You might remember the story about the horses that died of monensin poisoning back in December. Monensin is an additive to livestock feed, most commonly in cattle feeds, that is deadly poisonous to horses. Itís never intentionally ...
How Much Hay
14th Jan 2016   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
One of the most puzzling aspects of horse care is how much hay to feed. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture states that on average a full-grown riding horse should eat about 12-15 pounds of hay a day. Thereís also a simple formula ...
What is in Horse Hay
12th Aug 2017   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
1My hands are sore, my muscles are tired and my legs and forearms are scratched and bruised. That means we must be haying. Itís been a rough year again for those trying to get hay off of the fields. Constant rain has been a proble ...
Fad Foods and Horses
8th Jan 2018   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
When you check out Pinterest or scroll through your Facebook feed, youíll likely see posts of miracle cures achieved using certain trendy foods or supplements. These trends tend to spill over to the stable, leaving our feed rooms ...
Too Much of a Good Thing
5th Oct 2017   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
We generally think of minerals in any diet as a good thing. But it is possible for horses to get too much of a certain mineral. The most common culprits include fluoride, lead, and iron. If caught in time, most symptoms of poisoni ...
What is in Your Horse Feed
15th Aug 2018   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
When you buy a bag of textured or pelleted horse feed, none of the ingredients are easily recognizable. A bag of oats contains oats - and thatís easy to see. But often even the label on a bag of feed doesnít list the exact ingredi ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Pony Service Animal Flies In Cabin with Owner
19th Sep 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Flirty, a Miniature Horse and service animal was possibly the first horse to fly inside the passenger compartment of a plane. Her handler, who is allergic to dogs, took Flirty on a short flight, and this short video documents the ...
Horse Owners Consider Fire Safety
14th Sep 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Animal activists would like to see all barns installed with overhead sprinkler systems and want to see it part of the building code. A clothing designer has come up with another idea for horses stabled and outdoors in pastures. Bl ...
Wild Horses Weather Hurricane Dorian Well
8th Sep 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
As Hurricane Dorian batters the U.S. eastern seaboard, many people worry about the safety of not only their own animals, but wildlife as well. But, says the Corolla Horse Fund, a protection group that protects a small herd of fera ...
Wild and Free Sable Island Ponies
5th Sep 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Thereís a scientist out there that is delighted to find a dead horse. Not that sheís excited that the horse is dead. That is probably as emotionally difficult for her as any of us. But, this scientist, as part of a research team, ...
Analyze Your Seat In This Horse Simulator
2nd Sep 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride a horse simulator? Do you think it would give you the same experience as riding a real horse, or help you increase your riding skills? Equestrian Jesse Derent did too. Derent me ...
70 Year Old Wins Mongol Derby 600 Mile Horse Race
24th Aug 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Imagine spending twelve hours on horseback traversing some of the roughest terrain on earth, through largely uninhabited lands. Thatís exactly what most of the participants in the Mongol Derby do. The race, which is meant to repli ...
The White Sands Horse Rescue Operation
19th Aug 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
25 years ago, Dr. Don Hoglund led a roundup that saved the lives of about 1800 wild horses. Hoglund is best known for his wild horse training methods and prison inmate programs. But, he claims, the highlight of his career is the r ...
U.S. Olympic Dressage Rider Charged with Attempted Murder
18th Aug 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
A U.S. Olympic dressage rider has been charged with attempted murder. Michael Barisone, who rode with the the U.S. team in the 2012 Beijing Olympics shot, 38 year old equestrian Lauren Kanarek. Kanarek and her fiance were tenants ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
453 Members Online 251,769 Registered Members 2,610 News Articles 11,024,965 Unique News Article Views 257,291,365 Website Views