Items

Forums
 
What is in Horse Hay
 By Winniefield Park   •   12th Aug 2017   •   1,423 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 ...
Funny Horse Fruit Taste Test
28th Jun 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Some horses eat anything and will eat everything from anchovies to zucchini. And some are extremely picky and act like youíve poisoned them if you put anything but hay and grain in front of their noses. Have you ever tried a taste ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
PonyBox Top Earning Barns April 2021
9th May 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Itís been awhile since we looked at which stables are the top earners on PonyBox. And, since the last update in September of 2020, the highest earning barns have changed a little. ...
Black Cowgirl Launches Saddle Up and Read
8th May 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
By combining a love of reading with a love of horses, Saddle Up and Read wants to make reading exciting for black children while helping them discover a rich culture of equestrianism. Through books based on Black equestrians, ince ...
Prince Philip Funeral Horses and Kings Royal Horse Artillery
6th May 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
It seems no royal ceremony is held without horses and the funeral for the late Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh was no exception. The Kingís Royal Horse Artillery, the riders dressed in traditional black trimmed with gold and ...
Draft Horse Plows and Types
5th May 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
The sight of a team of horses hitched to a plow is always an impressive sight. And, it takes a lot of practice for the driver to guide the team over the fields as they open the perfect furrow. This video, by a farmer who works his ...
Swiss Military Flying Horses Exercise
3rd May 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
These flying horses donít have wings. They are airborne thanks to a military exercise carried out in Switzerland. Veterinarians teamed up with the Swiss army to test various ways to use helicopters to airlift injured horses, one, ...
PonyBox Active Top Horses Jumping Over 102
2nd May 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
The current top ranked active horses on PonyBox have all cleared 102 inches. In fact, the top 8 have cleared 101.25 inches, with one horse * Paparazzi, clearing 103.25". At age 18, the former # 1 ranked Friesian stallion Paparazzi ...
Injured Horses Recovering from Ontario Fireworks Explosion
1st May 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Horses injured in an explosion in Ontario, California are on the road to recovery. But, itís been a rocky road and at least one of the horses will need more surgery. The blast was caused by a massive fireworks explosion that kille ...
Black Cowboys in the City of Philadelphia
26th Apr 2021   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Why is there so little mention of the black cowboys when so many settlers of the Ďwild westí were black? Hollywood is a huge factor, and a film based on the book ĎGhetto Cowboyí by Greg Neri explores the lives of black cowboys in ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2021   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
203 Members Online 270,495 Registered Members 2,885 News Articles 12,373,462 Unique News Article Views 297,087,479 Website Views