what kind of hay is best for horses
Hay has been important historically and is still essential today. When evaluating legume hays, Crandell first establishes the type of hay. And sure — it’d be nice to have access to green pastures year-round, but feeding your horse hay is nearly as good (and sometimes better) than feeding grass. Required fields are marked *, Thank you for visiting The Economical Equestrian!Â My name is Catherine, and I am here to help all equestrians live better with their horses as well as learn to be financially savvy.Â Being comfortable with your finances is important for everyone, but especially when you have such an expensive habit.Â Stay a while and then get out there and ride! Therefore, the second cut of hay is usually higher “quality” than the first cut. High-quality hay should be green and sweet smelling, with no traces of mold or excess dust. Return to our list of hay types for more details. The higher percent of calcium in legume hay can present a problem with the calcium/phosphorus balance. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. A huge diet overhaul, careful management, and pairing him with the perfect “friend” has meant we […], Canadian native Veronica Deans is an NRHA Non Pro reiner and ranch owner in northern Texas. There are quite a few different types of hay that people feed to horses, but hay generally falls into one of two categories – legumes and grasses. This hay is sometimes referred to as coastal hay and is a shorter plant with fine blades of grass. All Rights Reserved. Typically, orchard grass is lower in protein than timothy, but it is a favorite amongst horses and owners. This hay is high in fiber, protein and calcium. It does spike in sugar production in the fall, so be cautious when grazing or feeding it to sugar sensitive horses. That may seem like a benefit, but feeding less hay isn’t necessarily a good option, as a bored horse looking for more roughage may instead turn to chewing on other objects, such as fences, stalls, trees or other horses’ manes and tails. It contains lower levels of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals than legume hay. There are many types of hay that you can feed to horses. But research has dispelled this notion. You may find that the quality of hay available at your local feed store changes during the seasons. Once you’ve established that it’s of good quality, it’s time to consider your choices. Clover hay can provide energy, protein and fiber, however, if clover molds, it can cause slobbers and bleeding in horses who eat the molded hay. Grass hay comes in many varieties and the best hay can vary from horse to horse. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. Mitotane is quite old, and most veterinarians don’t prescribe it anymore. Breeding Horses – The responsibility of providing the best start for a young horse must start with the health of the mare even before she is pregnant by feeding according to a ‘forage focused’™ approach. SUCCEED Patents. It’s our priority to make sure that we’re doing our best for the horses, every day,” Shannon says. These fodders, which are more energy and nutrient dense than many grass hay, are often too rich for a pony. (So that means most of us.) Rely on forage tests before and after soaking to decide which type of hay is best for your horse especially with a horse that has laminitis, PSSM, HYPP or COPD. Most commonly, clover is mixed with other grasses. Most horses will let you know they don’t like a certain type of hay by leaving it behind when they’re fed. Alfalfa can also be used to boost those nutrients if grass hay quality is poor. Many horse owners advise that Alfalfa hay is the best kind of hay to feed a horse. There are more leaves on the stems than the first cut; the stems are also thinner. Oftentimes, the hay that a horse enjoys the most is the one they are most accustomed to. Alfalfa is easy to digest & high in protein, energy, vitamins & minerals. Birdsfoot trefoil is more resistant to negative soil conditions as well as moisture fluctuations. Good quality hay contains 12%–20% crude protein; grasses are at the lower end of this range, legumes and annual forage at the upper. Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. However, grass hay is very high in fiber. Horses challenged by metabolic syndrome should be offered hays that are low in non-structural carbohydrates or NSC. Note that the following descriptions are generalizations. It is quite sensitive to moisture fluxuations though, so care must be taken with overwatering or irrigating it (and it may be difficult to get during a drought). There are many types of hay that you can feed to horses. It usually has a higher amount of protein than other grass hays but has a better balance of nutrients such as calcium and fiber. Clover plants usually have three leaves, and the leaves and flower colors vary based on the type of clover. She is getting no grain, and she has never developed laminitis, inflammation of the soft connective tissues within the foot that can result from a variety of … Hay analysis can tell you what a hay does and does not have and whether or not you need to be supplementing with something that is missing from your horse’s diet. *When in doubt about what hay is best for your horse, consult your vet or an equine nutritionist to determine the best hay for your horse* The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under … “My favorite part about managing Arroyo Del Mar is caring for our horses. If you feed some or all legume hay, be mindful of this relationship and balance your horse by feeding some grass hay or using supplemental phosphorus if necessary. 3] so you know exactly what you’re feeding. Beet pulp or beet-pulp-based processed feeds are a good choice because beet pulp is well tolerated by horses with sensitive digestive tracts, is well digested and itself helps to encourage healthy populations of organisms in the large bowel. Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass and timothy are all examples of common grasses used for hay. Good quality hay will contain a greater quantity of nutrients. Nicky holds numerous national and international titles, including her recent silver medal at the […], Grand Prix dressage rider Liz Austin is a two-time national champion who’s had her feet in the stirrups for quite some time. If horses don’t need additional grain, some people use a ration balancer to make sure a horse is getting all the nutrients they need from their diet. Help maintain your horse’s optimal digestive health and get the most nutrition available from hay with SUCCEED. Alfalfa is also a good winter feed because heat is created by digestion of protein, so a horse can keep warmer on a cold night. Orchard hay is another common type of grass hay – it usually has a thicker blade than timothy hay but can be softer in texture. Timmy Dutta’s Polo Horses Use SUCCEED—Find Out Why! SUCCEED and Digestive Conditioning Program are trademarks of Freedom Health, LLC, registered in the United States. Your horse is in good body condition; she is doing well on the grass/alfalfa-mix hay you are currently feeding. There are some loose correlations between bermuda grass hay and colic. Hay purchased at the feed store is generally sold by the bale. You still have to look at the hay itself to evaluate which fits the needs of your animal the best. Most good hay growers do their own analysis. It makes an excellent stand of hay. Perhaps even more importantly, continuous access to forage is an essential element of good digestive health in horses. Many of you will wonder, what type of hay is best for horses? As a general rule of thumb, grass hay is best for horses—alfalfa or other legume hay can be an excellent feed to mix with grass hay for animals that need more protein. Legumes are higher in protein, energy, calcium, and vitamin A than grass hay. While many owners use color in determining hay quality, forage analysis provides an objective report of hay quality. The flower blooms are small, bright yellow, and form in clusters at the end of the stems. Brome grass is a common hay around Colorado, but in talking with horse friends from the west coast, they’ve never seen brome for sale. It is highly palatable. Typically timothy grass has a finer texture than other grasses. For the average pleasure horse, a high-quality grass hay is ideal. What is your best kind of hay is first grown locally, is affordable, is put up right, is appropriate for the classes of horses it is being fed to, keeps your horses in good condition and your horses eat it … This is a tall grass that grows well in cool conditions and varies in color from light green, to dark green, to blueish-green. Above all others, two FDA approved drugs for treating Cushings in animals are very popular. ð, « The Most Comfortable Cowboy Boots That You Can Wear All Day, What Barn Chores Do You Need To Do Every Day? Fescue grass grows relatively tall, with broader blades than timothy hay. The hay should be cut early and be leafy, green, and free of mold, dust, and foreign matter, such as weeds and stubble. While hay alone may not meet the total dietary requirements of young, growing horses or those used for high levels of performance, high-quality hay may supply ample nutrition for less active adult horses. How to Choose a Turnout Blanket for Your Horse, How to Build a Dutch Stall Door – Cheap DIY Stall Door, Things Equestrians Can Do During the COVID-19 Quarantine, Clovers (Red, White, Sweet., Alsike, Yellow Sweetclover), Smell like hay (kind of a sweet smell). There are many different types of grass hay available, although the types of grass available will vary based on your geographic location. Horses that suffer an allergy to hay can be allergic to either the hay dust or to the mold that can grow in the hay. Scroll down for more information and products you might wish to select. Different types of hay for horses can vary in nutritional value, taste or texture. Yet customers rarely ask for the analysis.” Match hay to horses with special needs. Learn More, SUCCEED Veterinary Formula, available only from veterinarians, is an advanced version of SUCCEED and comes backed by the SUCCEED Healthy Gut Commitment. Legume hay is higher in protein, energy, calcium and vitamin A than grass hays. Daniel Day / Getty Images When good pasture grass is not available, hay is the single most important source of nutrition for your horse, pony, donkey or mule. Alfalfa Hay. Feeding a legume/grass mix can be the best of both worlds. Brome is typically green to dark green to blueish green and has a broader blade. What type of hay do you feed your horses? The resulting oat hay is high in protein and other nutrients, making it a nutritious option for horse hay. However, bales vary greatly by weight. Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass and timothy are all examples of common grasses used for hay. When in doubt, be sure to discuss feeding this hay with your vet. And for Veronica, […], SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program is a nutritional approach to managing the horse’s digestive health, including the stomach and the hindgut. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Rye grass is gaining popularity as a forage for horses as it is quick to establish and grow and provides good nutrition. Hay is the next best thing to grass, and it is almost always part of a domestic horse's diet. The benefits of feeding a legume, like alfalfa, but keeping the balance in your horse’s nutrition and energy levels by also feeding them a grass hay. Horse owners all have their own hay preferences, but Coleman says his top choice is a mixed alfalfa-grass hay that meets many different horse classes’ requirements, from growing to … But much like the difference between a limp piece of iceberg lettuce and a vitamin- and nutrient-rich leaf of kale, hay’s nutritional value varies greatly depending on what you’re feeding. Grass Hay for Horses. Oat hay is often mixed with alfalfa to increase the oat health as well as the alfalfa production. We just need a little more information. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. © 2020. Top 7 Best Treatment for Cushings in Horses. Please fill out the rest of the form below. Horses readily consume good hay, which is rich in energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. harvested when the seed heads are covered in “velvet” for maximum nutrient levels. The vast majority of horses will thrive on a high quality grass hay. It is lower in protein than some other grasses, so you must ensure a horse is getting enough protein in their diet if this is their only forage. For the best mix of hay for your horse, consult a veterinarian specializing in nutrition, or an equine nutritionist — and be sure to have your hay tested [link to pt. There's also little to no dust with the cubes, which is a big plus with my horses. A palitable hay that horses like the taste of, this is the hay often used to make cubes & pellets. This forage grows to 2-3 feet tall, and is easiest to grow when mixed with grasses. Pick a hay your horse likes to eat. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. It is relatively palatable to horses and has a fine texture. Q: What is the best quality hay for horses? Once you know the kind of quality he produces, it makes things much easier.” Smith said, “Look at the hay and do the quality analysis. People used to think that horses should not be fed legume hay because it would cause digestive disorders. Choose the best you can. Local availability will ultimately dictate what you feed, but knowing your way around the different types of grasses and legumes will help you grow or purchase the best option for the horses in your care. Young foals and mares in the first three months of lactation can benefit by the best legume hay available. Since it’s less nutrient-dense than legume hay, horses have to eat more grass hay to fill their bellies, which makes grass hay a … Unless your horse lives in a climate where the pastures are always pristine and never have to be closed for inclement weather, you probably feed your horse hay. Timothy - is a perennial and very palatable to horses. Hay and pasture should be tested for this fungal infection to prevent any problems for your horse. Third cut hay is really soft and super leafy. This typically indicates that it has a good flavor. These lower nutrition levels along with the higher fiber … Adding some alfalfa is beneficial for pregnant, lactating and growing horses which have very high protein and calcium needs. Your pony probably won't need the nutrition provided by alfalfa and clovers. Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while timothy and orchard are popular grass hay choices. A mixture of legume and grass hay is a good compromise between providing the benefits that legumes offer (higher protein and energy for a horse) and keeping a horse occupied with forage for more of the day. For horses, grass hay or a legume/grass hay mix is the best choice. Horses and ponies in their natural environment are grazing animals - they spend many hours a day eating grass. The following is a list of types of grass hay for horses. She’s been riding since age four, reining since the mid-90s, and claiming NRHA wins since 2010. It could just be a coincidence between colic symptoms and feeding dry forage though. Return to our list of hay types for more details. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. Once you've determined the best category of hay for your horse, most people select hay based on how it looks, smells and feels. When horses are stabled, or grazing is limited, they need a substitute for the grass they would have naturally eaten. Horses being maintained, mares in the first two-thirds of gestation, and mature horses working at light or moderate levels can do nicely on immature grass hay. The increased concentration of protein in legume hay can greatly increase the energy for a horse eating it. Hay for ponies should be good quality grass hay. Your primary goal in selecting hay for your horse should be meeting his specific energy needs. Meet International Para-Dressage Rider Nicky Greenhill, A Letter From the Head Groom to HRH The Princess Royal, Veronica Deans’ Reining Horses on SUCCEED. This bacteria “fixes” the nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia, then into ammonium which the plant can then use to make protein. *When in doubt about what hay is best for your horse, consult your vet or an equine nutritionist to determine the best hay for your horse*. For these horses NSC, P and mold content are key. So this is definitely a regional hay. Your email address will not be published. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. The best crops of Timothy hay are those that are cut prior to full bloom, as protein levels fall off as the plant matures. Color can vary based on grass type and exposure to sunlight. Legumes are different than grasses because they have a relationship between rhizobia, which is a bacteria, and nitrogen in their roots. Bermuda is typically the cheapest grass hay you can purchase for a horse. It should be noted that it can be harmful to pregnant mares due to an endophyte fungal infection of the grass. Each bag will cover one acre with quality grazing grass seed. Timothy hay is a common favorite among horses and owners. 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Types of grass hay is the most nutrition available from hay with SUCCEED accustomed to popular. Feed and the primary source of fiber for horses it usually has a better balance of nutrients such calcium. Common hay for your horse if you really want to know what is the nutrition. Evaluate which fits the needs of your animal the best kind of hay that are under … grass and. Are trademarks of Freedom health, LLC, registered in the fall, it. Quality hay for horses to increase the energy for a pony the hay sat long... The grass/alfalfa-mix hay you choose, some characteristics should be left unchanged perennial, so be cautious grazing. A than grass hay is high in fiber be cautious when grazing or feeding it to sugar sensitive horses brome. Foals and mares in the fall, so it is relatively palatable to horses head. Might wish to select growing horses which have very high in fiber, have it tested special needs can! 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