Haylage Not Ideal for Ponies With Insulin Dysregulation

Researchers had hypothesized that haylage would produce a lower insulin response than hay, as the sugar in haylage is partially fermented and could result in a less-pronounced insulin response.

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Haylage—cuttings wrapped in plastic soon after harvesting to maintain nutrients and moisture—can benefit several types of horses, but wasn't ideal for ponies with ID in the current study. | Photo: iStock

When you’re managing insulin dysregulation (ID) in horses or ponies, a diet low in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) that produces minimal insulin response is crucial. But finding suitable forage isn’t always easy, and it’s not always practical to have every batch of hay you purchase (especially if you buy in small lots) analyzed to determine the exact percentage of NSC.

While soaking hay in water has been shown to lower NSC levels, it’s time-consuming, resource-reliant, and not always easy to fit into daily chore routines. As such, researchers are looking for other options for owners of equids with ID.

Case in point: A group of researchers in the U.K. recently looked at how insulin responses from haylage—cuttings wrapped in plastic soon after harvesting to maintain nutrients and moisture—compared to dry or soaked hay

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Written by:

Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as a certified equine acupressure practitioner. She also hosts a blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse. Once an avid barrel racer, she now enjoys giving back to the horses who have given her so much.

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