Maintaining Your Horse’s Weight: An On-Going Challenge

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Winter weight loss is a common issue that arises every winter, and to some degree normal and to be expected. But how do you know what is a healthy weight range for your horse to lose and remain healthy? There is not a single weight range that’s ideal for all horses, as it will vary between breed, discipline, and individual, but here are a few guidelines to follow to help monitor your horse’s weight: Continue reading Maintaining Your Horse’s Weight: An On-Going Challenge

Storing round bales outside

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Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD, U of M

Storing round bales outside on the ground is a very common practice and represents the most economical method of hay storage. However, it also has the greatest potential for loss due to weather.

Round bales typically have a higher storage loss than small square bales, especially when stored outdoors. Studies have shown outdoor storage losses range between 5 and 35 percent depending on the amount of precipitation, storage site location, and original condition of the bale. Most of the losses that occur during outside storage take place on the bottom of the bales where moisture levels remain highest and air movement is the lowest. Continue reading Storing round bales outside

Purchasing and using certified hay

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Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD, U of M

There is a growing demand for the use of certified noxious weed seed free forage as a prevention to limit the spread of noxious weeds. Noxious weeds compete against native plants, degrade ecosystems, and ultimately pose a threat to wildlife. A common characteristic of all noxious weeds are their aggressive, competitive behavior. Typically, they steal moisture, nutrients, and sunlight from surrounding plants, and can rob waterfowl and mammals of their food sources, nesting areas, and access to water. Continue reading Purchasing and using certified hay

Complications with feeding clover

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Written By: Mike Murphy, DVM U of M

Clover is a desirable feed source for most horses whether used in pasture or in hay because it provides useful energy and acceptable protein and fiber. Problems may rarely arise with clover, just as they can with most desirable feed sources. Clover may be “too rich” at times for horses. The early rapid growth phase of some clovers, like other forages, may contain high amounts of soluble sugars. The soluble sugar content of the plant will decrease as it matures. These soluble sugars and other carbohydrates are sometimes associated with colics and founder in horses fed only pasture in the early spring. Continue reading Complications with feeding clover

Make better use of round-bales

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Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota

Drought conditions have severely reduced the supply of hay and other feedstuffs, escalating the demand and driving up prices. Horse owners can reduce hay waste by using feeders and properly storing hay, especially when feeding round-bales.

In a study conducted in MN, feeding round-bales to horses without a feeder resulted in 57% waste. All nine round-bale feeders tested reduced hay waste, and ranged from 5 to 33% hay waste. Continue reading Make better use of round-bales

Carbohydrates: the good, the bad, and the ugly

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Written By Marcia Hathaway, PhD, University of Minnesota

It is usually the amount of carbohydrates fed at one time, not the inclusion of carbohydrates, that causes problems.

Carbohydrates are a hot topic in the horse industry. Carbohydrates are essential in all horse’s diets. There are, however, different kinds of carbohydrates found in horse feeds. Continue reading Carbohydrates: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Harvest moisture and bale wrapping affects forage quality and mold in grass round-bales

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Written By:Krishona Martinson, PhD and Craig Sheaffer, PhD, University of Minnesota Wayne Coblentz, PhD, USDA-ARS Dairy Forage Research Center

Introduction

mature orchardgrass hay_ first cutting_1

Figure 1. Mature orchardgrass hay (first cutting) Continue reading Harvest moisture and bale wrapping affects forage quality and mold in grass round-bales

Choosing forages for horses

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Written By: Jennifer Earing, PhD, University of Minnesota

Forage selection should be based on horse needs, as there is no one forage best suited for all classes of horses. For example, providing a nutrient-dense forage like vegetative alfalfa hay to ‘easy keepers’ can create obesity issues; however, that same hay would be a good option for a performance horse with elevated nutrient requirements. With so many forages available, how does one choose? Differences in the nutritive quality of forages (hay or pasture) are largely based on two factors: plant maturity and species. Continue reading Choosing forages for horses