How to identify a good hay?

Hay is always the basis of every horse’s daily diet, however its diet is structured. For hay we mean the multi species hay, produced from wild spontaneous grasses growing in a specific environment. Therefore hay differs according to geographical areas, altitude and seasons in which it is produced.

Despite these differences that change the quality and nutritional power of hay, hay consumption has a common positive effect for the horse. Hay is rich in fibre which, in the right quantity, supports the development of intestinal bacterial flora, essential for intestinal and general horse’s  health. An efficient bacterial flora allows the various foods to be digested correctly and to properly assimilated their nutrients. Furthermore, the hay consumption requires adequate chewing and salivation, key points for a good digestion.

The horse’s health depends on the quality of the hay, which can be a fundamental source of nutrients or health threat. For this reason it is important to know how to identify a good hay and which are its characteristics.

What are the characteristics of a good hay?

  1. Free from mold or dust
  2. Young, less than a year old
  3. Bright color from dull green to golden yellow
  4. Quality guaranty and cleaned
  5. Pleasant aroma
  6. Crispy but not fragile
  7. Dry, it must not be damp
  8. Cold, heat could indicate fermentation

The characteristics listed must be evaluated as a whole and a quick examination is not enough to identify quality hay. Evaluation errors can be very risky, because an extended consumption of poor hay can threats horses’ respiratory tract leading to diseases such as allergies, asthma and heaves.

Nowadays is even more difficult to identify good quality and nourishing hay guaranteed, since visual examination is not enough, but more laboratory analyzes are necessary. The simplest solution is to rely on complete feeds which, in addition to hay, also contain other precious ingredients for a nourishing  and balanced diet for the specific feeding needs of each different horse.

When choosing a complete feed try to find transparent producers who choose quality hays and who commit themselves to guarantee a constant nutritional value all year long. Guidolin Horses with Wafer Fioc is the quality solution combining quality hay and quality cereal flakes in a complete meal providing precious nutrients. The five formulations suit well all horse’s nutritional needs and each one can be feed with a certain hay quantity according its producing season and its nutritional features.

To get a customized advice on your horse nutrition, write to