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Monday, September 30, 2013


Sounds hard, but is really easy!

Where do you get your hay?

Does your supplier know and tell you EXACTLY where it comes from?
Does your supplier have several suppliers.  If so is he going to tell you when hay has changed so you can slowly change it for your horse?

If you get it out of the pasture do you know how it treated?
Meaning how was it fertilized ?  
Was it treated with a broad leaf weed killer?
If not how are the weeds kept out of the pasture?

What is in your hay?  Most hay has trash, stems, weeds etc... It is your responsibility to know what is in it.

Do you just go on what ever the pasture owner, or supplier tells you?
How well do you trust them with the health of your horse?

How do you keep your hay?  How much hay will you keep at one time?
How do you Stack your hay?   At what point do you go get more?
Do you allow it to have circulating air? meaning it is not against anything top or sides...

Hay has to be checked for mold.
Hay has to be checked for weeds.
Hay has to be checked for dead animals caught up in the bail.  ....

For Starters if you can't answer ALL the questions above you are not protecting your horse and not doing yourself any favors in the long run.  You are more likely causing yourself issues you can't pin point, solve, resolve, and lots of vet bills for seemingly no reason.  It is likely your HAY!!!

Secondly do you know what blister beetles are? if so are you in an area they live? If so is your hay guaranteed blister beetles free?

Horses SHOULD NOT eat a round bail! Because a round bail encourages the horse to eat into a hole the size of their snout (nose) which is only going to cause breathing issues in the long run.   Not to forget Horses and Cattle do NOT eat the same type of hay.  IF you have both it is a TOTALLY different type of hay... Round bails/ Cattle hay is "generally" bailed faster, not allowed to dry as long and has likely "pickled" for the same reasons.  A cow has several stomachs and can eat moldy, pickled hay and a horse can not.  It will cause a high temperature, breathing issues, colic, and commonly botulism; of which is little to no cure in a horse!   Thus simply put a round bail is more likely to kill your horse!

Hay done simple is grass hay... and it should smell like freshly cut yard!   Yep! it should be pleasant to smell, not dusty, not old looking or smelling in ANY WAY.

Grass hay is only an issue when you have a mare that is carrying a foal.  Fescue is deadly to a foal! Fescue is actually not good for any horse, and is commonly a building reason for laminitis...so slowly it is not something you see. ( laminitis is another chapter)  just know the poisons in fescue most quickly effect the development of a foal and those same poisons build up in the horse over time.  But it is the most common south eastern grass and hard to keep out of any pasture, and most vets tend to give it no concern because it is so abundant but if you are breeding it is a major issue.

Orchard...  are typical in the south east (where I am)
I keep timothy, orchard, clover, and alfalfa in my pasture.  (Pasture another chapter)

I get grass hay from my area! it is Timothy and Orchard.  I purchased a core rod from Tractor supply years ago, I have no idea if they still carry them.  Farm Supply catalog has them.  I core 1 of 50 bails of hay and take the cores to the County Extension office and pay for analysis of my hay, along with poop samples for worms.   ( worms and poop yet another chapter)

YES!!!!! I have never understood why Cattle owners do this but most Horse owners don't! 
I do... and it pays off!  There is little to no selenium  in my area so while most horse feeds have it as an additive non has enough.  So I add it with vitamin E to both of my horses feed.  Most vets do not test horses for mineral or vitamin deficiencies so it is up to you to do your own homework, you don't just start adding things because the simpler the better! the better the cheaper in the long run is important!

Yes I trust my guy/ supplier...but ...  I know exactly what fields my hay comes from , what he uses, when he uses it etc... He treated his hay one year and I did not purchase it that year.  I had to use my back up plan.  You always need a back up plan!

I supplement my hay with hay stretcher (for one horse) and Alfalfa cubes (again only one horse)
I will go into both of these in the feed chapter as I use processed hay stretcher and alfalfa that need prep!

Are you aware your horse should consume up to 20 % of its weight in hay alone?
So if your horse weighs 1000 pounds you are going to feed him 20 pounds A DAY!  grass hay weighs less than other types thus it may take more than you think a day to keep your horse maintained.  There is after all a healthy weight for each horse and fatter is NOT better! It is a daily, weekly, seasonal balance.    I do tend to feed my horses MORE hay in the fall to stock up on fat for winter... and yet again even MORE hay in the winter so they are warmer in the cold, thus mine get more hay at night than they do in the morning during COLD months.

Horses get their heat from their hay, not their feed! For some reason many think feed is the source of warmth when it is not. 

So what have I left out?
do tell!


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