12-12-2010, 01:29 AM
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From what I understand and have researched, alfalfa hay is fed to dairy cows because it is high in sugar and high-sugar hays mean more milk production. Also, alfalfa hay is high in soluble carbohydrates, which are sugar and starches. The soluble carbs and protein may be converted into glucose in the horse's body, which cause spikes in insulin. More glucose and insulin in the system may indeed cause "hyperactivity" or what I refer to as "hot energy". Horses are like people, some are more reactive to certain things than others. I don't believe that no horses can have alfalfa, I just would not feed it straight to my horses, because IMO it is meant for cows, and grass is more suitable for a horse's digestive system. I have seen the difference in my horses when taken off alfalfa, but they may indeed just be more sensitive to the high sugar/starch/protein content. I know that here in CA alfalfa is VERY popular, because it's cheap, palatable, and high energy. I just know that my horse was nutty on alfalfa and sweet feed, but has calmed down significantly with an all timothy diet and some rice bran and low protein feeds added in as supplements. I have tried many different diets-oat hay, alfalfa, three-way, senior feed, complete feeds, pellets, barely, oats, and all combinations of the above and that is what works best for my hard-keeping, high strung thoroughbred.