The Big Debate Over: Alfalfa does it make your horse hyper? Love to hear your thought - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Cool The Big Debate Over: Alfalfa does it make your horse hyper? Love to hear your thought

Well hello everyone, thank you for reading,

There is a big debate about Alfalfa hay/cubes make your horse "hot" or hyper.

I have heard many different opinions and have also read things on the internet about it being a myth if feeding this to your horse makes them hot or not.
Please express your thoughts.
Thank you
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 08:08 PM
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Well I'm fairly sure alfalfa is the same as lucerne in Australia, so here goes.

I used to be a firm believer that it did not heat horses up. I'd never had an issue with it heating them, and that is with young breakers, ottb's, in particular a 3yr old ottb mare who was super hot, and various ponies, and cross breeds. Not one was heated on it, however in saying that all my horses are paddocked pretty much 24/7. The only time I yard them is before a competition, or due to an injury, and the only time they are stabled is before a major competition, a bad injury/illness or at a competion, so they do get lots of time to roam around.

I have thus far changed my opinion on his though, as I recently aquired a 20/21 year old tb gelding for my father he wants to learn to ride. This horse is very quiet in almost all aspects, but give him even just one biscuit of lucerne and he is a raving lunatic!!
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 08:18 PM
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First I didn't know it was called anything different in other countries, I can put that in my learned something new today book.

Alfalfa has more protien than a horse needs so it uses the excess protien as energy. This creates heat and causes the horse to sweat so it does kind of make a horse hotter but only in that the horse sweats more.

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post #4 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 09:12 PM
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I have feed Alfalfa for years. I have never had a problem with it making a horse hyper or hot in any way.

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post #5 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 09:18 PM
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I really haven't seen any issue with it whatsoever. Our bales are a lower grade alfalfa, not extremely rich, but our lazy horses are just as lazy and the Arabs have more energy regardless what they eat. They eat straight grass in the summer, and only alfalfa in the winter, and I don't notice a single change in them.

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post #6 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 10:00 PM
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Both my tbs eat timothy alfalfa hay.. and they act the same as when they ate the grass hay. the timothy alfalfa is better for weight and teeth. they also love it. the grassy hay is just about nothing for them. so i switched to something that would get my moneys worth for their nutrition. and they have never looked better.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 10:27 PM
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-05-2010, 10:37 PM
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I have noticed a difference when I switch from grass to alfalfa hay in both my horses. In the summer, they get orchard grass, and they get alfalfa in the winter. Ricci maintains a better weight when she is on the alfalfa in the winter, and she does have a little more "spunk." Gracie gets a little weird when she gets too much "hot" food. She is on Omolene 100, and I had to play with that a bit before we found the amount she could eat without getting silly. I have noticed the same thing with her getting the richer alfalfa hay now. I started to cut her back and added beet pulp to her grain and it's made quite the difference. Also, this year, they started on Alfalfa about three months earlier than usual, so the changes in behavior cannot be associated with the changes in weather.

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post #9 of 12 Old 01-06-2010, 06:45 AM
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Toby gets alfalfa. The woman who keeps him for me only feeds alfalfa hay.

The hay he was on previous at his other home was poor quality of something. He looks like a different horse, healthier. I don't think the hay makes him hyper. If anything he's a bit lazy. He's just 6 years old so if he does have spurts of energy, I usually blame that, not the hay.

"When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age, you splatter." -- Roy Rogers
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-06-2010, 07:48 PM
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Table 2: Comparison of the nutrients in alfalfa with other forages.* Forage


15 - 18
6 - 9
Brome grass
6 - 11
Spring pasture
20 - 26
So really Alfalfa doesn't have much more "energy" than most other hays... It does have more protein though.
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