Items

Forums
What is in Horse Hay
 By Winniefield Park   •   12th Aug 2017   •   773 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
Horse Collapses at Sugar Shack Wagon Ride
25th Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Animal activists cry foul as video of a horse pulling a wagon load of tourists enjoying a day at a maple sugar bush fell. The Montreal SPCA is investigating and the contractor who ran the wagon ride at the sugar bush has suspende ...
Girl Rides Horse To Exam
21st Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Kerala is a province on the lower south western shore of India. The horse sheís riding appears to be a Marwari horse, developed in the northern regions of India. While you have to admire her sticky seat, weíll reserve comment on t ...
Another Santa Anita Breakdown
16th Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
After only two days of racing another horse has suffered fatal injuries at Santa Anita racetrack. Santa Anita was shut down March 5 and during the shut down, investigations into why twenty-two horses suffered fatal break downs sin ...
Horse Stable and Stall Door Designs
14th Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
If youíre building box stalls, youíre going to need doors. There are several of choices in material and design, and it all depends on your budget and taste. Many of us will have to build or buy basic wooden doors, but there are ot ...
Difference Between Trotters and Pacers
13th Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
What is the difference really, beside the gait at which they race? The biggest difference between a trotter and a pace may be something we canít see. Horses can be trained to pace, but with mixed success. The natural tendency of a ...
Santa Anita Park Horse Racing Resumes After 22 Deaths
9th Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Horse racing has resumed at Santa Anita Park. Racing was temporarily suspended following the fatal breakdowns of twenty-two horses in less than sixteen weeks. That is over double the number that died in the same period last year. ...
The Queen of Show Jumping Wins In Paris
6th Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Beezie Madden continues to prove she is the queen of show jumping. Her second World Cup win at the 40th Longines FEI World Cup Final in Paris followed three days of competition with nearly faultless rides. She won both day one and ...
Horse Thief Still Attends University After Selling Horses for Slaughter
5th Apr 2019   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Horse owners in Alabama and other nearby states are in angry and saddened after being betrayed by a vet student who had promised to care for them. The owners were not able to look after their horses themselves, and entrusted Fallo ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
443 Members Online 244,495 Registered Members 2,556 News Articles 10,708,824 Unique News Article Views 243,163,795 Website Views