All you need to know about common forages fed to horses

Jun 24, 2020

Discover the digestive and overall health benefits of common forages fed to horses. We explore how different forage quality grass species and hays impact the health and body weight of your horse.

Alfalfa is an excellent source of energy, protein, calcium and other nutrients for horses. California is the largest producer of Alfalfa hay in the U.S., followed by Idaho and Montana. It has moderate sugar content.

Orchard Grass is a cool season perennial and a desirable hay and pasture grass for horses, it is a good source of fiber, is sweet smelling with excellent palatability. It can be high in sugar content.

In addition to large areas of the U.S., orchard grass is common throughout Europe, northern Asia, and the higher elevations of Africa. Additionally, it is found in some temperate regions of New Zealand and Australia.

Timothy is the most digestible of all hays and is one of the most popular hay feeds for horses. Horse owners have found that Timothy hay promotes a shiny coat, good digestion, bowel regularity and a healthy weight. It is also an excellent choice for colic prone, protein sensitive and obese horses. Timothy grows best in the Spring, and is very hardy, cultivated from Canada all the way to California.

Bermuda hay is a good filler if mixed with other hays, as it is low in calcium and protein. Coastal Bermuda has been associated with impaction in horses, and Bermuda should not be fed to horses who are impaction prone or under-weight.

About Troy Stansbury

Troy Stansbury has been involved with horses his entire life. He has worked with numerous industry leading horse feed companies. He is in barns every day, advising and helping owners with customized feeding plans to ensure optimal nutrition for their horses. He is a competitive rider in Western Disciplines.