There’s More Than Hay in that Haystack
As a fellow equestrian, you’re used to seeing and buying tons of hay each year. It’s a significant cost, and many folks think that it’s one way they can cut corners. However, there’s more than hay in that haystack to consider; there are also nutrients and vital nutrition your equine needs.
Caring for horses is an expensive feat, and anyone in the industry is always looking for ways to save money. One way that people like to cut costs is in the hay. While saving a few bucks seems like a good idea, the value of the type of hay you select directly affects your equine’s health. So, it’s ill-advised that you skimp when it comes to nutrition.
Any Old Hay Won’t Do
Where you buy your hay and haystack from matters, as each brand will have many factors that add to its palatability and nutrition. Think about feeding your children. If you buy junk food laden with sugars and processed stuff, they’re going to get their bellies full, but it won’t be with the proper nutrition. Now, you can use this analogy to realize the value of selecting suitable hay.
Sure, your horse will get full on whatever you feed them, but it won’t be with the proper nutrients. Just like you’ve observed in humans, when you don’t eat a healthy diet, it can cause issues down the road, including obesity. There are some factors to consider and ask about when picking a company, such as:
•Maturity of the plants during harvest season
•Percentage of weed content
•Circumstances during harvesting and the curating process
•Fertility of the soil and its overall health
•Length of storage
•Method of storage
Most reputable brands will have some of this information posted. If you’re buying from a local farmer, be sure that you ask these questions, as there’s so much more to consider than just price.
Equine Eating Habits
Horses prefer to graze throughout the day, and you can’t just give them a couple of meals and be done. Equines are herbivores, so they enjoy munching on grass and forage plants around the pasture. Additionally, studies have shown that equestrians who allow their horses to grace constantly will have fewer dental issues in the long run, which is a considerable savings.
Now, horses can’t grace constantly, so this makes it even more critical that they have high-quality hay that’s full of the nutrients they need. Managing the roughage is a job that must be done correctly. Did you know that an online survey showed that only 32 percent of equestrians use hay alone? More than 57 percent of those polled said they use hay and forage to feed their equines.
Haystack Processing Concerns
Did you know that hay is harvested anywhere from 2-4 times each year? Many factors go into that number, such as the location, weather, and the forage type. The most significant difference between hay comes from the time it’s cut or the age of maturity. What is the period between when the farmer plants it and then harvests it?
This maturation time affects the calorie content of the hay, but it also affects the protein in the plant. When you buy high-quality hay, you’ll get a product that will help you keep your horse in good condition. Additionally, they will eat less and feel more satisfied.
Hay that has a poorer quality will be one that they will need to eat more to feel full. So, in the long run, you may spend more to buy good quality hay, but they will need less of it to be satisfied. However, the least nutrient-based hay will require more, so you will pay more to satisfy them.
Is Cutting Corners Wise?
You truly get what you pay for. How many times have you opted for something cheaper because it looked like a good deal, but you found out that the quality and craftsmanship were horrible? Take, for instance, a couch I bought. I, like everyone else, was trying to save a buck.
I wanted something that looked good and didn’t want to break the bank or wait a long time for a custom order. However, I learned the hard way that the cheaper couch didn’t have the longevity of the better-made one. I bought two couches in the time frame that just one high quality item would last. Think about furniture made in the early 1900s that’s still in great shape. It’s the craftmanship and quality that makes the difference.
While it may have seemed best for your budget to go with lower-quality hay and haystacks, it’s just not worth it. The vet bills for an equine are pretty high, so if you can keep those visits to a minimum, you’ll save yourself a lot. Additionally, you love your horses and want them to have the best quality nutrition around, and it’s worth it to spend a bit more and has some assurances.
As always, here at Oak Haven Acres, we take our equine’s nutrition very seriously. Our stables are always full because many people trust us with their beloved horses during their retirement years. If you or anyone you know needs boarding for their beloved equine, give us a call!