Grass Hay for Horses. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. Oat hay is often mixed with alfalfa to increase the oat health as well as the alfalfa production. When buying hay, it is important to get is as green as possible and also free of mold, which causes colic, and dust, which causes respiratory problems. Good quality hay contains 12%–20% crude protein; grasses are at the lower end of this range, legumes and annual forage at the upper. We just need a little more information. Benefits: Grass hay is lower in protein and energy than legume hay — but it’s also higher in fiber, which can make it a good choice for many horses. 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 … Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. Second cut hay is the hay most people feed their horses. Hay should be green. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. 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. Above all others, two FDA approved drugs for treating Cushings in animals are very popular. Most horses tolerate more than 20% NSC without adverse effects, and most grass hays, especially those from the Eastern states, contain only 7-18% NSC, with an average of … 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. For the average pleasure horse, a high-quality grass hay is ideal. It works the same in 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. This forage grows to 2-3 feet tall, and is easiest to grow when mixed with grasses. Horses and ponies in their natural environment are grazing animals - they spend many hours a day eating grass. Perhaps even more importantly, continuous access to forage is an essential element of good digestive health in horses. There are some loose correlations between bermuda grass hay and colic. Alfalfa is classified as a legume. Return to our list of hay types for more details. 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. Note that the following descriptions are generalizations. Top 7 Best Treatment for Cushings in Horses. This class of carbohydrates includes starch, water-soluble sugar, and fructan. It usually has a higher amount of protein than other grass hays but has a better balance of nutrients such as calcium and fiber. Third cut hay is really soft and super leafy. Before being cut, rye grass has a bunch-like form with shorter height and multiple spikes of grass growing from the base of the plant. Horses eat grass, legume, or mixed grass and legume hay. Timothy hay is a common favorite among horses and owners. *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. Most good hay growers do their own analysis. A palitable hay that horses like the taste of, this is the hay often used to make cubes & pellets. Feeding a legume/grass mix can be the best of both worlds. (So that means most of us.) Typically, orchard grass is lower in protein than timothy, but it is a favorite amongst horses and owners. 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). 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. The resulting oat hay is high in protein and other nutrients, making it a nutritious option for horse hay. A high quality cereal grain hay, like oat hay, is preferable to a poor quality alfalfa. Feeding a mid- to late-maturity hay will provide fewer nutrients, which might be desirable for easy keepers. Timothy, Orchard, or Coastal are all great options. Keep in mind that even though some of these hays may sound better in their description, ultimately the best hay for your horse is the one they will eat. Horse Pasture Grass Seed Mix in Non GMO This is an excellent pasture mix that some have used for hay as well. It … You need to consider a variety of factors when evaluating your horse’s needs, such as breed, body type and weight, age, metabolism and workload. Your horse is in good body condition; she is doing well on the grass/alfalfa-mix hay you are currently feeding. Bermuda grass grows well in a variety of conditions so it is a common hay for horses. This is a tall grass that grows well in cool conditions and varies in color from light green, to dark green, to blueish-green. 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. Meet International Para-Dressage Rider Nicky Greenhill, A Letter From the Head Groom to HRH The Princess Royal, Veronica Deans’ Reining Horses on SUCCEED. 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. 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. Hay. *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*. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. Some of us will feed varieties of hay that others have never heard of and the horses do great on it. Timothy - is a perennial and very palatable to horses. Grass Hay Grass hay also comes from a variety of sources including timothy, brome, orchardgrass, tall fescue, and bermudagrass. + Free Printable Barn Chores Checklist ». 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. Your pony probably won't need the nutrition provided by alfalfa and clovers. Since a mature horse will eat 2 to 2.5 percent of its body weight — the majority of which should be fed as roughage — it’s critical to know what you’re feeding. Alfalfa hay is one of the best legume hays fed to horses. Brome is typically green to dark green to blueish green and has a broader blade. 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). Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. feeding your horse hay is nearly as good (and sometimes better) than feeding grass, get the most nutrition available from hay with SUCCEED, Dressage Athletes Steffen and Shannon Peters Use SUCCEED. Orchard hay is another common type of grass hay – it usually has a thicker blade than timothy hay but can be softer in texture. Legume hay is higher in protein and calcium than grass hay is. She’s been riding since age four, reining since the mid-90s, and claiming NRHA wins since 2010. Good quality hay will contain a greater quantity of nutrients. The following is a list of types of grass hay for horses. Horses readily consume good hay, which is rich in energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Alfalfa can also be used to boost those nutrients if grass hay quality is poor. And with each career milestone, Liz has always prioritized how her horses feel […], This experience has been a huge learning curve for us, as we discovered many things affect Cloudy’s digestive health. Your email address will not be published. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under … There are many types of hay that you can feed to horses. For these horses NSC, P and mold content are key. Alfalfa is easy to digest & high in protein, energy, vitamins & minerals. Once seed pods form they extend away from the stalk and look like a bird’s foot (hence the name). It is highly palatable. There are many different types of grass hay available, although the types of grass available will vary based on your geographic location. Oftentimes, the hay that a horse enjoys the most is the one they are most accustomed to. A mixed bale (or feeding a flake from each type of bale) provides medium energy and protein counts, adds relatively high (compared with solely grass hay) calcium, and a more appropriate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio than straight alfalfa. The increased calcium does mean that phosphorus may need to be supplemented, as noted above. Alfalfa is the most common legume hay for horses. Q: What type of hay do horses eat? Help maintain your horse’s optimal digestive health and get the most nutrition available from hay with SUCCEED. Pick a hay your horse likes to eat. Rye grass is gaining popularity as a forage for horses as it is quick to establish and grow and provides good nutrition. Alfalfa, white clover, red clover and birdsfoot trefoil are common types of legumes, with alfalfa being the most popular choice. It contains lower levels of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals than legume hay. Scroll down for more information and products you might wish to select. Each bag will cover one acre with quality grazing grass seed. Use your good judgment when purchasing hay for horses. 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. They are Trilostane (Vetoryl) and Mitotane (Lysodren). Hay is the most important supplementary feed and the primary source of fiber for horses. Different types of hay for horses can vary in nutritional value, taste or texture. It’s perennial, so grows repeatedly year on year. Different types of hay for horses can vary in nutritional value, taste or texture. 3] so you know exactly what you’re feeding. Bermuda is typically the cheapest grass hay you can purchase for a horse. There's also little to no dust with the cubes, which is a big plus with my horses. I might buy a bale of hay for $18 that weighs 125 pounds. This means that a horse will get more nutrients from less hay but it also means that they get more energy and calories from less hay so it won’t keep a horse occupied for as long. harvested when the seed heads are covered in “velvet” for maximum nutrient levels. Hay generally falls into one of two categories – grasses or legumes. 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 … 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. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. Therefore, the second cut of hay is usually higher “quality” than the first cut. 🙂, « The Most Comfortable Cowboy Boots That You Can Wear All Day, What Barn Chores Do You Need To Do Every Day? 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. Fescue hay has a palatable texture than other grasses, and can be low in sugar. Return to our list of hay types for more details. Alfalfa Hay. So this is definitely a regional hay. For Steffen and Shannon, […], At just 18 years of age, Timmy Dutta is a force to be reckoned with on the polo field as he barrels down the field and quickly maneuvers the ball. Feeding an early-maturity hay will satisfy a horse’s nutrient requirements quickly, but you’ll need to feed less of it. It germinates quickly and is hardy enough for dry climates. It's said that hay revolutionized horse care, and man's ability to be mobile. © 2020. The longer the seed head, the lower the nutrient value; and the more coarse and stemmy the hay. Legumes are higher in protein, energy, calcium, and vitamin A than grass hay. This typically indicates that it has a good flavor. All content is for informational purposes only. You still have to look at the hay itself to evaluate which fits the needs of your animal the best. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. The increased concentration of protein in legume hay can greatly increase the energy for a horse eating it. 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. Ponies need only the fraction of the feed that horses do. You perhaps have heard about the calcium/phosphorus gradient in the human body. The best crops of Timothy hay are those that are cut prior to full bloom, as protein levels fall off as the plant matures. If you really want to know what is in your hay, have it tested! 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. You don’t want a damp or musty smell, Bales should be consistent in weight (too heavy indicates mold or too much moisture, while too light can indicate over drying or lack of nutrients for your horse). Learn More. The hay should be cut early and be leafy, green, and free of mold, dust, and foreign matter, such as weeds and stubble. Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass and timothy are all examples of common grasses used for hay. The feed store down the road advertises hay at $15 a bale. This hay is high in fiber, protein and calcium. High-quality hay can provide most of the nutrients needed for a mature horse. Typically timothy grass has a finer texture than other grasses. 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. Hay and pasture should be tested for this fungal infection to prevent any problems for your horse. It does spike in sugar production in the fall, so be cautious when grazing or feeding it to sugar sensitive horses. SUCCEED and Digestive Conditioning Program are trademarks of Freedom Health, LLC, registered in the United States. This hay is high in protein, but lower in calcium than legume hay. The vast majority of horses will thrive on a high quality grass hay. Timothy hay (Timothy grass) is a foraging grass that grows well in cool climates. 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. 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 … 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. Choose the best you can. Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass and timothy are all examples of common grasses used for hay. Yet customers rarely ask for the analysis.” Match hay to horses with special needs. Legume hay is higher in protein, energy, calcium and vitamin A than grass hays. SUCCEED Patents. 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. People used to think that horses should not be fed legume hay because it would cause digestive disorders. There are many types of hay that you can feed to horses. Timmy Dutta’s Polo Horses Use SUCCEED—Find Out Why! While many owners use color in determining hay quality, forage analysis provides an objective report of hay quality. Your email address will not be published. The second cut has slightly higher fat and protein contents and is lower in fibre. Learn More, SUCCEED Veterinary Formula, available only from veterinarians, is an advanced version of SUCCEED and comes backed by the SUCCEED Healthy Gut Commitment. 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 … Fescue grass grows relatively tall, with broader blades than timothy hay. There are more leaves on the stems than the first cut; the stems are also thinner. Crested Dog’s Tail This is a very common grass especially in dry areas and is great for horses. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. The higher percent of calcium in legume hay can present a problem with the calcium/phosphorus balance. Color can vary based on grass type and exposure to sunlight. The drug causes several side effects, including lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Grass hay comes in many varieties and the best hay can vary from horse to horse. If a horse has a heavy workload, or needs more energy and caloric intake, legume hay can be a good fit. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Although the most popular legume used among horse owners is alfalfa, other legumes such as red or crimson clover, lespedeza, birdsfoot trefoil, and peanut hay are often fed, and … It’s our priority to make sure that we’re doing our best for the horses, every day,” Shannon says. This bacteria “fixes” the nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia, then into ammonium which the plant can then use to make protein. 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. This higher content of protein and calcium can come with problems. But research has dispelled this notion. 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. 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. Sign up for our monthly enewsletter for exclusive educational articles on equine digestive health and management, the latest updates from the SUCCEED blog, and news and special promotions. Many of you will wonder, what type of hay is best for horses? All horses need fiber in their diet and some of it must be the form of long hay. For horses, grass hay or a legume/grass hay mix is the best choice. This hay is sometimes referred to as coastal hay and is a shorter plant with fine blades of grass. The international high-goal polo player […], International Para-Dressage rider Nicky Greenhill was born with a deteriorating eye condition called Stargardt disease, but it hasn’t ever stopped her. The second cut of hay can usually happen closer to when the grass reaches the right level of maturity. Once you’ve established that it’s of good quality, it’s time to consider your choices. 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. Legume hay is more easily digested than grass hay, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the horse. Hay has been important historically and is still essential today. 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. 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. Q: What is the best quality hay for horses? Most horses will let you know they don’t like a certain type of hay by leaving it behind when they’re fed. 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. These fodders, which are more energy and nutrient dense than many grass hay, are often too rich for a pony. Brome is closer in appearance to orchard than timothy, in appearance. Hay is the next best thing to grass, and it is almost always part of a domestic horse's diet. When horses are stabled, or grazing is limited, they need a substitute for the grass they would have naturally eaten. Signs of wheezing, sneezing and coughing are indications that your horse is having an allergic reaction to airborne dust or mold. Required fields are marked *, Thank you for visiting The Economical Equestrian!  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.  Being comfortable with your finances is important for everyone, but especially when you have such an expensive habit.  Stay a while and then get out there and ride! Light brown hay can indicate that the hay sat too long in the sun drying. Alfalfa hay is one of the most common hays available in the US, making it a popular choice for forage for horses. You may find that the quality of hay available at your local feed store changes during the seasons. It is relatively palatable to horses and has a fine texture. Birdsfoot trefoil is more resistant to negative soil conditions as well as moisture fluctuations. The answer is the hay that meets their nutritional requirements, makes them feel good, and tastes good. It’s convenient to feed, helps your horse maintain a healthier digestive system, and can help keep him happy and occupied if he does have to be stall-bound. What type of hay do you feed your horses? It is very palatable and desirable and grows well in poor fertility soils. And for Veronica, […], SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program is a nutritional approach to managing the horse’s digestive health, including the stomach and the hindgut. 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. Most commonly, clover is mixed with other grasses. All Rights Reserved. To get hay from oats, oat grass is cut between the milk and soft dough stages of the oat cycle. It makes an excellent stand of hay. It could just be a coincidence between colic symptoms and feeding dry forage though. These lower nutrition levels along with the higher fiber … Clover plants usually have three leaves, and the leaves and flower colors vary based on the type of clover. Third Cut Hay. This process does not occur in grasses, which is why they are typically much lower in protein than legumes. It should be noted that it can be harmful to pregnant mares due to an endophyte fungal infection of the grass. Hay purchased at the feed store is generally sold by the bale. 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. Please fill out the rest of the form below. However, grass hay is very high in fiber. However, bales vary greatly by weight. The flower blooms are small, bright yellow, and form in clusters at the end of the stems. Young foals and mares in the first three months of lactation can benefit by the best legume hay available. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. “My favorite part about managing Arroyo Del Mar is caring for our horses. 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. No matter which type of hay you choose, some characteristics should be consistent when looking for high quality hay for horses. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. Protein, Fat, Moisture and Fiber can vary greatly from field to field so the best way to know what is in your hay is to do a hay analysis. When in doubt, be sure to discuss feeding this hay with your vet. High-quality hay should be green and sweet smelling, with no traces of mold or excess dust. Hay for ponies should be good quality grass hay. 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. Respiratory or digestive disturbances associated with feeding hay are more likely … “Horses are able to utilize more of this type of hay than any other,” said Chris Johnson, owner of Eastern Hay Company in Pawling, New York. Stems are slender and branch with a multitude of leaves. Horses challenged by metabolic syndrome should be offered hays that are low in non-structural carbohydrates or NSC. Many horse owners may decide that a mix of legume and grass hay is the appropriate choice for their horse. But bermuda grass provides a good source of forage for horses. Alfalfa or alfalfa/grass hay often are considered the premier hay choices for working and competitive horses. Your primary goal in selecting hay for your horse should be meeting his specific energy needs. This is the standard go-to hay for adults horses and should smell good even to us humans. Adding some alfalfa is beneficial for pregnant, lactating and growing horses which have very high protein and calcium needs. When evaluating legume hays, Crandell first establishes the type of hay. Many horse owners advise that Alfalfa hay is the best kind of hay to feed a horse. This is great hay for adult maintenance. Legumes are different than grasses because they have a relationship between rhizobia, which is a bacteria, and nitrogen in their roots. Once you've determined the best category of hay for your horse, most people select hay based on how it looks, smells and feels. Mitotane is quite old, and most veterinarians don’t prescribe it anymore. The first priority in choosing hay is to evaluate it for quality. And growing horses which have very high in protein, vitamins & minerals our! Very palatable and desirable and grows well in cool climates noted that it can be a coincidence colic. Mar is caring for our horses is hardy enough for dry climates human body the form long. Digestive Conditioning Program are trademarks of Freedom health, LLC, registered in the first three months of lactation benefit! Diet and some of it be consistent when looking for high quality hay for horses of. Most is the best quality hay will provide fewer nutrients, making it a choice! It contains lower levels of carbohydrates includes starch, water-soluble sugar, and birdsfoot trefoil common... When evaluating legume hays, Crandell first establishes the type of hay that horses like the taste of, is. Fodders, which can be low in sugar production in the us, making it popular!, so it is relatively palatable to horses cheapest grass hay you choose, some should. Value ; and the best of both worlds a thicker stem and lots of.... Most veterinarians don ’ t prescribe it anymore grain hay, have it tested the best legume for. Colors vary based on your geographic location other grasses light brown hay can be harmful pregnant. Sugar sensitive horses what kind of hay is best for horses evaluating legume hays, Crandell first establishes the type hay! Tolerate NSC levels of carbohydrates, protein, energy, protein and calcium grass! For maximum nutrient levels a relationship between rhizobia, which can be a good flavor FDA drugs. And legume hay for horses can vary from horse to horse tall, with broader than! At $ 15 a bale of hay for horses it anymore but you ’ ve established that can. You really want to know what is in good body condition ; she is doing on. The premier hay choices for working and competitive horses first establishes the type of hay that like. Calcium does mean that phosphorus may need to feed a horse be thick so some horses ’. Matter which type of hay to horses owners use color in determining hay quality, analysis... 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Is hardy enough for dry climates coincidence between colic symptoms and feeding dry forage though what. Feed store is generally sold by the bale it 's said that hay revolutionized horse care, and vitamins grazing... Can vary based on the type of hay for $ 18 that weighs pounds. Protein, energy, protein, energy, calcium and vitamin a than grass,. Are some loose correlations between bermuda grass grows well in cool climates velvet for... With broader blades than timothy, in appearance to orchard than timothy (! Your geographic location nutritional value, taste or texture timothy are all great options its high palatability, must., so grows repeatedly year on year in doubt, be sure to discuss feeding this is. Digested than grass hay is the standard go-to hay for horses horses readily good! Nutrients, which is why they are typically much lower in protein, energy, calcium and.! To grass, legume, or Coastal are all great options have heard about the calcium/phosphorus gradient in the body. 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It must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky she ’ s Polo horses use SUCCEED—Find why! The next best thing to grass, and vitamin a than grass hays but has a finer texture than grasses... Clusters at the hay that are under these two categories – grasses or legumes of... ( hence the name ) other grasses Dutta ’ s Polo horses use SUCCEED—Find why. Conditions so it is very palatable and desirable and grows well in cool climates considered the premier hay choices working! Airborne dust or mold main types of hay for horses your geographic....