Maintaining Healthy Hay for Your Horse
Finding good quality hay can be a time consuming process. Once you have found a good supplier, however, it is essential to remain diligent about the quality and to properly store the hay to ensure it remains healthy for your horse to consume.
To obtain the best hay possible, you should purchase hay that has been harvested when the plants are in early bloom or before the seed heads have formed. Whenever possible, you should purchase and feed the hay within one year of harvest in order to preserve the nutritional value. In addition, you should reject bales that are excessively heavy or that feel warm to the touch, as this hay may contain moisture that could lead to mold or spontaneous combustion.
Once you have purchased the hay, you should be sure to store in in a dry, sheltered area that is safe from rain and excessive sun. If a shelter is not available, the hay should be covered in order to protect it from the elements. When feeding the hay, keep in mind that horses at different ages and stages of growth have different dietary requirements. Therefore, the amount that you feed to your horse may be different from one horse to the next and may change over the lifetime of the horse.