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Alfalfa Question

This is a discussion on Alfalfa Question within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • What problems can alfalfa cause in horses
  • Halter horse disorder when bones grow too fast

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    05-19-2012, 01:10 AM
  #11
rob
Weanling
Yes loosie.a boarder was feeding it's yearling too much alfalfa too soon in life,and the protein was making the hoof grow too fast for the leg to catch up.therefore,the hoof grew straight down from the coronet band.
     
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    05-19-2012, 11:12 PM
  #12
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob    
yes loosie.a boarder was feeding it's yearling too much alfalfa too soon in life,and the protein was making the hoof grow too fast for the leg to catch up.therefore,the hoof grew straight down from the coronet band.
I've heard of this happening too. What happens is the bones grow faster than the tendons can grow/stretch, so the result is tendon contraction which results in club feet. Can't site where I got that, but I read about it on the internet when I was researching epiphysitis. My colt never got epiphysitis but as he was my first ever foal, I was trying to research what caused it so I could hopefully prevent it.

That being said, my young horse was basically raised on alfalfa. For the longest time I was trying to "balance" it out with bermuda. But my source of bermuda ran out so now I am feeding 100% alfalfa hay (with a small quantity of oats for the improved phosphorous ratio). He's almost 2 now so hopefully most of the epiphysitis danger has passed.
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    05-19-2012, 11:33 PM
  #13
Green Broke
I also heard that the high protein in Alfalfa can cause problems in young horses but not *what* the problems were.

You could try soaked alfalfa cubes/pellets along with grass hay and see if he'll eat grass that way.

I feed my gelding Alfalfa and for a while he was getting a crapton of it while he needed to gain weight but I always fed grass hay as well. My gelding will clean up whatever you give him though.
     
    05-20-2012, 12:24 AM
  #14
Weanling
No, he doesn't literally starve if he won't eat his hay, but he drops SO much weight SO fast, and then it takes forever to get it back on. I've considered trying an alfalfa/orchard mix, but I need to wait until he's at a good weight (in case he picks out the alfalfa and leaves the orchard), and I think we still have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 pounds to go. I'm also concerned about changing anything before fair, which happens in the middle of August, because I absolutely cannot take a skinny horse to fair. What we're feeding is definitely stemmy.

I'm not concerned about club foot or anything related to young horses, nor really worried about senior issues (yet) as he is only 12.
     
    05-20-2012, 03:31 AM
  #15
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
I've heard of this happening too. What happens is the bones grow faster than the tendons can grow/stretch, so the result is tendon contraction which results in club feet.
Oh, yes, I do get that, just wasn't where my head was & thinking directly of hooves, as something like Rob's explaination. Yeah, too much rich feed generally, not just protein, trying to grow young horses quicker than nature intended, can cause all sorts of issues.

FWIW, tendons DON'T stretch/contract though. It's the muscles that stretch/contract.
     
    05-20-2012, 12:44 PM
  #16
Showing
^^That's one of the big reasons why halter horses have so many long term issues. They are stuffed full of everything possible as babies to get them to look as mature as possible as quickly as possible with no concern for long-term effects.
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