The Horse

OCT 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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40 October 2018 The Horse | TheHorse.com Q How do I know if my hay is not adequate for my horse's health, and when should I consider switching hay types? The most important thing is to monitor your horse's body condition. "If you are feeding a grass hay and (your horses) are underweight, try feeding more," says Thunes. "If they don't gain weight you might consider adding some alfalfa hay, since it has more calories per pound. By the same token, if your horse is over- weight try a lower-calorie hay," such as a mature grass hay, which is usually lower in both quality and calories. "Ideally, you don't want to reduce the amount of forage you are feeding, so in- stead switch to a lower-calorie hay so you can feed the same amount," she says. Thunes adds that weighing hay is criti- cal, as it's nearly impossible to accurately guess how much you are feeding. Use a scale to avoid over- or underfeeding and save money in the long run. Place the hay in a haynet and hang it on a fish scale, or place a flake on a flat-surface scale. Q How do I make a decision when faced with all the potential hay variabilities and options? The answer to this question depends on what your priorities are when feeding your horse. "If you have a horse with respiratory issues, then perhaps hay with as little dust as possible is your great- est concern," says Shaw. "If you have an overweight or insulin-resistant horse, then perhaps low NSCs are important to you. If you have young horses or lactating broodmares, then nutrition and protein content may be a priority." Or maybe the deciding factor is price, availability, palatability, lower energy, and organically grown. Is finding a dealer who will deliver and stack a pivotal point? Communicate this to your hay dealer or grower, and find a forage that meets as many of your top priorities as possible. Be realistic, however, and realize you will probably have to pay more to get more. "If you want inexpensive green hay, with no weeds or dust, delivered yester- day, with less than 10% NSCs," Shaw says, "chances of getting all those things at once is next to impossible, so you've got to prioritize." Q How much protein does a horse need during different stages of life, and can I provide this with hay alone? "Most mature horses are being fed more protein than they need," says Thunes. "The ones that need the most protein are the young, growing weanlings and lactating broodmares." How much protein a horse consumes also depends on how much hay he's being fed. "If you feed a limited amount of hay, then the protein in that hay may need to be higher," she says. "Otherwise, you can feed more pounds of hay with a lower percent of protein. For horses being fed NUTRITION A pill holding design made with natural flavors horses prefer. standleeforage.com 800.398.0819 GIVING PILLS JUST GOT EASIER Dependable way to give medication Hand-crafted alfalfa treat Wholesome cranberries and QDWXUDOÁDYRUV 1R3UHVHUYDWLYHV1R$UWLÀFLDO&RORUV or Flavors Proud sponsor of:

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