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Hello,

I wanted to ask what hay you feed your horse and what opinion is the best hay for a horse?

I know it greatly depends on what you're doing. So if I were to do general riding, trail rides, and MAYBE barrels for fun (not showing) what would be the best hay for that?

Thank you and God bless! :D
 

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It's still going to depend on breed, age, time of year, physical condition, and any health issues the horse has.

I have a Haflinger, and my last equine was a draft mule. Both types of horse tend to be easy keepers that will get fat on air. Right now, my haffie is turned out with a large number of horses and gets free-choice grass hay, since that's what our barn grows and what is available to the herd. Buddy got unlimited grass hay 3/4 of the year, and we mixed in Alfalfa in the winter for all the horses at about a 25% ratio of Alfalfa.

Like with any other item with horses, the "best" is always what gets the job done for that particular animal and situation.
 

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My horse and her pasture buddy get good quality coastal hay. I see you're in Houston. Coastal is usually what's easily available here in Texas. If your horse is an easy keeper, feeding a horse-quality coastal hay will be fine.
 

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I like a mixture of different grasses with just a bit of alfalfa mixed in. Around here it's usually timothy & orchard grass.
 

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If you look at the nutritional value of the common grass horse hays, although some are "better" than others, there is not really a tremendous difference. I would focus more on the quality of the hay made by your supplier and the availability of the hay. Around here, good quality hay suppliers manage their fields well, e.g. apply weed killer, fertilizer, and reseed as required. Poor quality suppliers just cut and bale whatever is growing in their fields and put the minimum amount necessary into producing hay. How hay looks and smells to people is NOT a good indication of the quality (or palatability) of the hay. Having a good, reliable supplier insures that you have consistent hay and don't have to be continually changing your horse's diet.

In this area of NC, the local grass hay is fescue and orchard for pregnant mares.
 
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We use Rhodes / lucerne hay I live in Australia though. We feed a roundbale of Rhodes out when we don't have pasture it really depends, we take both lucerne and Rhodes when we show so they get the protein but also high forage
 

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Copied from another thread I just replied to...

I am very conscious of feeding rich, high sugar hay, being in the hoofcare business, seeing sooo many obese, IR & laminitic horses. It depends on many factors as to how rich in sugar grass/hay will get, you need to test it to really know. But generally the less 'improved' grasses, such as native are lower in sugar. Rye, clover & cereal grass/hay is richest, and IME should generally be avoided/minimised. And while it's also dependant on the weather at the time of cutting even, as to how rich hay may be in sugars, the first cut of younger grass tends to be the richest, and mature, blooming grasses are lowest. So 2nd or 3rd cut preferred. 3rd or 4th cuts however may be less nutritious though.

Agree with Painted that poor quality hay is... poor quality & may even do harm, if it's full of mould or weeds or such, but I disagree that fertilising, etc is *necessarily* a good move, and that 'backyard' hay suppliers necessarily produce bad hay any more than someone who professionally produces rye & clover hay for eg. Going back to what I wrote above, 'backyard' hay crops are more likely to be low sugar, and I have to really make an effort to find anything but fertilised ryegrass around here - drives me mad!

Good quality low sugar grass hay fed free choice, with a bit of lucerne/alfalfa if they need extra, and appropriate nutritional supplementation to balance their diet. Is what I do.
 

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Agree with Painted that poor quality hay is... poor quality & may even do harm, if it's full of mould or weeds or such, but I disagree that fertilising, etc is *necessarily* a good move, and that 'backyard' hay suppliers necessarily produce bad hay any more than someone who professionally produces rye & clover hay for eg. Going back to what I wrote above, 'backyard' hay crops are more likely to be low sugar, and I have to really make an effort to find anything but fertilised ryegrass around here - drives me mad!
I think this is more a question of best farming practices (rather than being a professional) for the geographic area, weather, and type of soil and grass more than anything else. In our area, if you fertilize well based on soil testing, you can promote strong grass growth and drastically choke off the weeds before having to resort to herbicides or even reseeding. Some weeds will literally take over your hay field in one season if left unchecked. Folks that are serious about hay here always work with the local agriculture extension departments, who have the best resources and knowledge, to insure quality and sustainability of their fields. We only get 2 cuts (rarely 3) of hay a season, around the first of June and September, so good management is essential to having hay in the frosty months.
 
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Hello,

I wanted to ask what hay you feed your horse and what opinion is the best hay for a horse?

I know it greatly depends on what you're doing. So if I were to do general riding, trail rides, and MAYBE barrels for fun (not showing) what would be the best hay for that?

Thank you and God bless! :D
Everyone here has given great advice. If inquiring solely regarding " hay ", then I would have to ask you a question. Are you just purely feeding " hay " or are you also adding other sources of nutrients ( beetpulp etc etc etc )?

Feeding purely alfalfa is NOT recommended, but if you are feeding just 100% " hay " I would not recommend for any horse. Also your trail riding could be much more intensive so my recommendation would be 3 parts timothy hay to 1 part alfalfa hay equaling to 1% of your horses body weight. Then feeding 1% of your horses body weight with a high fiber diet that is beet pulp based ( use molasses with caution ). I would start with this assuming you have a young-mature healthy horse.

There is no best hay as if you neglect to add essential nutrition in their diet they will get hurt and end up costing you astronomically more in vet bills than some oats / beet pulp / etc etc. Also I am not saying you are not feeding your horse a balanced diet or anything like this as I do not know one thing about you. I am speaking in generalities so hopefully you do not think I am subliminally trying to degrade you. Good luck!
 
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