Hay is last summer’s grass. It is a new supplement and could also be called the original supplement. The purpose of hay is to add calories to the diet when winter is hard on the horses. Adding hay in winter to sustain life is the purpose of its creation. Adding hay when there is no pasture (drought, lack of pasture) is an inadequate substitute for fresh and healthy pasture. Here is why.
Most hay is created as a crop and is usually one grass or a mix of a few types of grass and legumes that were available only when the farmer could get into the field and harvest it. Therefore, while hay is a good source of carbohydrates in the form of starch, fats in the form of cellulose, and minerals, it is only a “good” source of protein (lacks all amino acids). Because of this, it is easy to overfeed hay because the horse will never feel satiated. The results cause increased body fat and protein loss (muscle loss, etc.). Please see the nutrition course to understand this process fully.
Another problem with feeding hay is that most horse owners feed it every day of the year, not allowing for the reduction of glucose intake needed to restore the health of the cell through hormesis. As a result, over time, the cell becomes exhausted from using glucose, which is a poor-quality fuel, and the cell becomes dysfunctional and dies.
Feeding hay has a place in the keeping of horses today. Unfortunately, the high land cost prevents adequate grazing land on most farms, thus requiring the supplementation with hay. Horses need to eat cellulose to survive, but supplementing the diet with all amino acids is necessary if hay (and pasture with only one type of grass) is the primary food source.
Feeding hay must be limited to horses that are “easy keepers” or are showing signs of Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). There are three ways to do this. The most common way is physically limiting access to pasture and hay through limited turnout, a grazing muzzle or a hay net that retards the rate of consumption. Another way to restrict hay intake is to feed sufficient protein to activate satiation through the “Protein Leverage Hypothesis,” which states that a food-aggressive horse may not be hungry but is instead looking to meet their daily amino acid intake – something that will never happen if all they eat is hay. Finally, soaking the hay for an hour before feeding it will reduce the amount of sugar.
Eating hay through the “Nibble Net.”
⬇︎ Click or tap on any image to fully open it. Swipe or click the arrow to move through the gallery. ⬇︎
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.