by Dr. Jane Caldwell
As the days begin to shorten and the air becomes soft and pleasant, our thoughts turn to Fall and then to Winter and then to……what am I going to feed my horse/mule until Spring? Equine owners refer to this as THE SEARCH FOR THE HOLY BALE (with apologies to King Arthur). To overwinter our trail partner/sport horse/pleasure mule/lawn ornament/barrel racer/saddle pal, we need hay which contains sufficient protein and energy.
A bale should also be fresh and palatable; low in stems and sharp pieces, free from mold and containing no foreign debris such as grit, soil or stones. It should also provide micronutrients such as beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
And, just because a bale looks and smells good, doesn’t mean it will provide your equine partner with the proper nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Good nutrition now means more time in the saddle later on.
Get all of the details and resources about testing forage specifically for the needs of equine species from our newest White Paper Midwest Laboratories Tests Equine Forages