Soak Away Your Hay’s Hidden Dangers
Certain hays and horses don’t marry well; here’s how to modify your forage
Horse owners are familiar with the refrain repeated by equine veterinarians and nutritionists alike: Feed your horse lots of high-quality hay! Recent studies have extolled the virtues of a forage-only diet for horses—even those with high-energy demands, such as lactating mares. Some scientists say that only the most elite athletic horses truly require dietary supplementation with grains or concentrates to meet their daily energy requirements. So with hay being held in such high regard, how is it that veterinarians and nutritionists dare suggest it’s anything but perfect?
Annette Longland, BSc, PhD, DIC, of Equine Livestock Nutrition Services, in Wales, and Cathy McGowan, BVSc, PhD, DEIM, Dipl. ECEIM, MRCVS, of the University of Liverpool’s Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, in the U.K., have both shown that some hays contain so much sugar that they are actually harmful for certain horses to
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