Originally Posted by caseymyhorserocks View Post
but Alfalfa can tend to make horses excitable or hot.
Btw, that's pretty much an old wives tale.
Some horses are allergic to a protein(?) in alfalfa and that allergic reaction makes them hotter, which is how that theory got started. However, most horses are not allergic to whatever it is in the alfalfa, so for most horses, alfalfa is perfectly fine.
I think I read somewhere that it's actually a cooler hay (less sugar than other hay for the amount of protein and goodness in it), but that the calcium in it can be a problem if it's fed exclusively.
I can tell you though that my mare, who's hotter than lava, is actually "cooler" on alfalfa than she is on grass hay only.
I've found that the cheapest way (at least around here) to make sure my horse stays a healthy weight is to free feed the cheap grass hay people sell around here, then supplement with 5 pounds of alfalfa a day, one pound of a ration balancer (to make sure her vitamin/mineral needs are met), and then add beet pulp (soaked) if she appears to need a little extra. Obviously, I up the alfalfa if she really appears to need weight but she's such an easy keeper that hardly ever happens.
For me, since my mare is very sensitive to sugar (after 23 years of 5 pounds of "the cheap" sweet feed a day), I can't feed sweet feed to make sure she's getting the daily vitamins she needs. That's why I use, and shamelessly recommend, ration balancers. They're cheaper than grain in the long run (one $25 bag lasts 50 days so it's $0.50/day for me), you can know that your horse is getting the right "stuff", and you don't run all the risks that come with feeding your horse "candy" on a daily basis. :)