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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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I feed alfalfa to my western pleasure horse with his evening feedings and when I go to out of town shows... I certainly wouldn't feed it to him if I thought it made him hyper! 8)
 

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All my horses get fed alfalfa and I have never noticed any of them being "hot" because of it. IMHO, if a horse is hot, then it is generally a training issue and cannot just miraculously appear from being fed alfalfa. Sweet feed maybe, but that contains too much sugar.
 

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Oh, there are two of these threads! I replied in the other one.

But briefly, I have always been a firm believer the it does not heat horses up. However I recently aquired a 20 year old tb gelding for my father to learn to ride on. This horse is VERY quiet, I can do anything on him, jump on him bareback and take him around the paddock, ride him with just a rope around his neck and get a dressage test out of him... he's a lovely old boy. But give him just ONE biscuit of alfalfa, and he is a raving lunatic!! He will gallop the length of the paddocking bucking and carrying on like a 2 year old! Without alfalfa, he serenely cruises the paddock nibbling grass.

So yep, I'd say it can definately hot them up!
 

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Just to add, I have always fed it to all my horses and never had an issue with it. This includes young breakers, ottb's and others. And not one has been heated up on it, but obviously there are certain horses that do react in such a way as above!
 

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Maybe the mads can merge the two threads.
 

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I'm not mad.... :) Where is the other thread? Can you provide a link? I'll try to merge....
 

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I'd say it depends on the horse. My friend and I added alfalfa hay cubes to our horse's diets last year. Her Quarter Horse showed no personality changes whatsoever. My OTTB started acting loopy with 7 days. It was a noticeable difference and the alfalfa was the only change. I guess alfalfa is a lot like alcohol for humans. Some get quiet, some get angry, and other get silly.
 

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Both of mine get alfalfa pellets and oats once a day to supplement their orchard grass hay and I haven't noticed it causing any problems....
 

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I'd say it depends on the horse. My friend and I added alfalfa hay cubes to our horse's diets last year. Her Quarter Horse showed no personality changes whatsoever. My OTTB started acting loopy with 7 days. It was a noticeable difference and the alfalfa was the only change. I guess alfalfa is a lot like alcohol for humans. Some get quiet, some get angry, and other get silly.
Haha so is that why they like it so much???? :lol:
 

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Ha! Special brownies for horses! Who knew? Honestly though, Puck acted like a cat on catnip. Just really goofy. I should have gotten it on video.
 

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"Alfalfa is the King of Forages"
For people raised in alfalfa country, these thoughts don't apply to you!

In the South, alfalfa is generally imported! As such, most people have not grown up with it; additionally, it is not common or inexpensive! Thus these are the impressions of a hay seller in the south.

Poor people - will take alfalfa or alfalfa mixes any time they can for the added protein they can get for their animals. They will take anything $3/bale or less.

Performance minded people who have been around quite a bit - use alfalfa as a tool. Some horses get it, some don't. Sometimes and certain times of the year, the whole barn may be on alfalfa, later in the year, only part of the barn.

Horse women with 1-2 horses - mostly pets! First words out of their mouths when they come in the barn - "I don't want anything with any alfalfa in it." This comes from several reasons. 1. the preception that alfalfa is more expensive, 2. "it ruins their kidneys", 3. alfalfa makes them hot, 4. "my horses are all insulin resistant" - high protein must mean high sugar - we cannot feed alfalfa.

BTW - 75-90% of our customers are women and we are very appreciative of their buisness. I am not trying to be derogatory. Interestingly, my daughter is 11 - very much into things equestrian. Likes to read the new "Black Stallion of the Windy Hills" type books. A lot of poor information is in these type books as the author is more romatic about the horse experience than they are a quality horseman. Additionally, the pony clubs often want nearly "tranked" horses for the young girls to ride and preach the anti-alfalfa propraganda to the little girls on these first mounts, and pretty soon you have a whole generation of people with a hesitation towards alfalfa.
 

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^^Thats funny. All my horses have always been fed alfalfa; I have never had a horse with a case of colic, founder, or insulin resistance (not since we quit feeding sweet feed anyway). I prefer alfalfa because it does keep my animals......um, healthy (chunky). When I get on a horse, I like to feel like I am sitting on a horse, not a toothpick. If they are out of shape, that is because they don't get worked enough, but I am comfortable knowing that when they do get worked consistently, they bulk up a ton of muscle mass, not just trim fat. :D
 

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I used to feed my hard keeper a flake of straight alf. per feeding. It didnt make him hot one bit.

Its like saying you car will always go faster, just because it has more gas in it. It really depends how hard you push the petal ;-)

A horse with alot of excess energy-from food, will usually be a little hotter to try to burn it off. If a person skip meals, its sort of the opposite reaction. Over feeding any horse can lead to hyperness. I think you have to look at the whole feed plan, not just the alf. they are given. My horses eat grass 24/7 in the summer, which is very green and has lots of protein. They arent one bit hotter for it. They even get about a scoop of alf. pellets once a day, with no adverse effects.
 

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Me thinks that Alfalfa is a part of the total diet. We feed it to the horses who are working for a living as a protein boost.

We use the cubes as a reward for a good job done well. The horses think ist the best thing since sliced bread for sure. You can always tell who did good today--just look for the green lips!!
 

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I love the stuff, have fed it to all my horses. If I want to ride in the morning I have always fed half a biscuit before I ride, it is much better for their digestion if you plan on exercising them soon than hay or hard feed it.
However just this one horse I have not been able to feed it! He's certainly not over fed, he's in a large paddock with a 'girlfriend' and being the middle of an Australian summer right now there's not a hell of a lot of richness in the crckling, brown pathetic excuse for grass. But one biscuit of alfalfa/lucerne and it sets him right off!
 

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I was always led to believe straight alfalfa hay/cubes wasnt good for our equines feet because of the high amount of sugar/richness? Someone told me that they cant process that high amounts of sugar or something...I dont feed straight alfalfa but have and if your horse is an easy keeper, you dont want to do this ... lol ... ;)
I do believe though that horses can get hot with a straight alfalfa diet, I have experienced it first hand with some of my horses while some dont react at all except pack on the pounds!
 

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I was always led to believe straight alfalfa hay/cubes wasnt good for our equines feet because of the high amount of sugar/richness? Someone told me that they cant process that high amounts of sugar or something

Sugar does not equal Alfalfa, nor does alfalfa equal sugar! 3 forage tests on alfalfa lying on my desk currently would qualify for "Low sugar" status and thus on that basis be accepable for "insulin resistant" horses. A forage test determines sugar levels in a hay, and that is the only thing!
 

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At the barn I used to work at we always fed our horses straight alfalfa or and alfalfa/grass mix. I don't think it made them hot at all. It is a very high quality, nutritious fodder, so you don't need to feed as much of it. I think that they only time it might cause problems is if the horse does not get enough exercise and is stalled all day. But a lack of exercise can cause a horse to become hot anyway. All of our horses would be turned out for most of the time and just came in to be worked and to eat. The only horse we had stalled all the time was our stallion. He was fed straight alfalfa and was worked four or five times a week. He was a stud, for sure, so he got excited at times, but he was the most laid back stallion I have ever known. I most certainly would not call him hot, and he was half thoroughbred!

So I am a believer in feeding alfalfa, but everyone has their own opinions. Oh, also, if you have broodmares it is the safest thing to feed them because there is no chance of getting fescue mixed in. Plus there are lots of nutrients in it for the growing foal.
 
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