Hi, guys. I have a couple of questions.
1) We built stalls for our horses and we put them in at night with their feed, hay, water etc. and then turn them out in the morning after they have their breakfast. It's starting to get colder at night, and I'm wondering if we should either a) blanket them or b) leave them out of their stalls so that they can share body heat. Am I pampering them too much or is this a legitimate concern? (For what it's worth, we got our 1st 2 horses last October and I spent the winter trying to think of a logical way to bring them into the house so they weren't cold. I'm aware that I might be a bit....illogical).
2) This concerns the quality of hay, not so much the content. I've read a lot on the subject and as usual there are different opinions all over the place. We've been buying our hay from the same place since we got horses. They seem to eat it ok for the most part, with the following exceptions: Last spring, we bought 1st cut from her. The horses ate it well, no issues. There was no 2nd cut due to lack of rain, so when we needed hay again we got 3rd cut. The lady we buy it from had plenty of 1st cut left, but we thought (correctly or otherwise) that fresh is best. The first cut she had left was really really dry. It almost looked like straw. There was no green in it whatsoever. The 3rd cut was really green, but it was more strands, I don't know how to explain it. It was really soft and bendy, not "hayish" at all compared to what we've bought in the past. There are random bales in the 3rd cut that are really densely packed and when you drop them on the floor a big woosh of dust comes up. The horses won't eat that at all. They'll eat the rest of the 3rd cut, but not nearly as much as they ate of the 1st cut. So. Long story short, do I just feed them what they like to eat? Will they get enough from the really dry, brown 1st cut? We have 5. None of them are skinny or unhealthy so I'm probably worrying about nothing, but an ounce of prevention and all that.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts :)