Horses are herbivores by design and foragers by nature...
They have evolved to utilize grasses and other forage plants
as their primary source of nutrition. Horses are most content
when they can nibble almost constantly.
Although it's not always possible to let our domesticated friends
graze to their hearts' content,
one way to satisfy their urge to chew and provide
essential nutrients is to feed high quality hay.
Although grass hay is generally lower in protein and energy,
and higher in fiber than legume hay, this is, in part,
what makes it a good choice for many adult horses, like Sheylah.....
It can satisfy the horse's appetite and provide necessary roughage
without excess calories and protein.
A fortified grain concentrate can be used to supplement the ration,
increasing its energy, protein, vitamin and mineral content
A horse's protein and energy requirements will depend on age,
stage of development, metabolism and workload.
Choosing hay and incorporating it into the ration
should be done with the individual's needs in mind...!!
Hay's nutritive value and palatability (i.e. how much your horse enjoys eating it
will depend on a number of factors, such as:
• Plant Species
• Level of Plant Maturity at Harvest
• Weed Content
• Growing Conditions (rain, weather, insects, disease)
• Curing & Harvesting Conditions
• Soil Conditions and Fertility
• Moisture Content
• Length & Method of Storage
Most people buy hay based on how it looks, smells and feels
These are "qualitative" factors, and they are important..!
No matter how good hay might look,
only through chemical analysis can its actual nutrient value be determined.
To test the hay, core samples are taken from a number of bales
within a stack and combined.
Horses at different ages and stages of growth,
development and activity have different dietary requirements.
Consulting a veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist
when formulating your horse's ration is very important !.
He can help you put together a balanced diet that utilizes hay,
grain and supplements in a safe, nutritious and (important):cost effective way.
Store hay in a dry, sheltered area out of the rain, snow and sun,
or cover in the stack to protect it from the elements..!
Square bales of hay are most commonly used,
they are easily to handle and storage is flexible....
...I am so lucky to have Laccaille....