Which hay(s) are best for my horse?

Asked April 29, 2013, 8:14 AM EDT

I have a 6yo mare who is an easy keeper and ulcer-prone. She was scoped and treated last summer for ulcers, and has symptoms again. I feed quality past-bloom first-cutting alfalfa, but can't keep that in front of her 24/7 because she'll get too fat. What hay would be best to keep her feeder filled in addition to her regular alfalfa meals? I'm in north Idaho.

Kootenai County Idaho

1 Response

You are right that alfalfa is good for horses with ulcers because the high levels of Calcium will help buffer the stomach acid. However, the best hay for an overweight horse or an easy keeper is a mature grass hay. You could go with Timothy or Orchard Grass or something simular, but look for something that might be a little bit more stemmy than leafy. The problem here will be since she is used to the alfalfa she will refuse the grass hay, therefore it might be necessary to find a hay that is a timothy alfalfa mix or something similar. Or make the switch completely to the grass hay, slowly over a week or two, then add in alfalfa cubes as a meal instead of free choice.

Good luck with everything and I hope this helps.