Hay Is For Horses. But Why?

Work: as yesterday, with 30-minute lunch break between Rodney’s heating session and Mathilda’s walk.
Report: Caught mare. Rodney eating hay. Rodney comes over to survey the carrot situation. As we pass the barn, he saunters in. After our first lap, he emerges, gives an abandoned foal scream, and goes back to the hay. Will continue to experiment with the parameters.

Ramblings: Would you be ecstatic over a steady diet of granola, beef jerky, & water? Horses are. We bring them the same thing day in, day out. They go nuts, day in, day out. I don’t care if dinner was Waygu beef hamburgers served by Chippendale waiters, after a while, I’d want a change.

Our horses not only want their hay, but when we bring in a new load, they insist on sampling it to test for quality. Then, once served, not all hay is the same, even within a bale. Hay gets pawed thru and spread around. It’s dried grass, I have to wonder what are they looking for. With one load, Mathilda would root through each flake, eating what she considered to be the good bits and leaving the rest. The difference was invisible to us.

Then there is the hay versus grass decision. Since our horses are fed in their pasture, they can chose to eat their hay or wander off and graze. Clearly, fresh Kentucky bluegrass would beat any hay. But our land is not KY limestone and the grass is of commensurate quality. As spring comes, we can see them weigh hay versus grass. Part of the equation is convenience. Hay requires no activity other than jaw motion. Grass must be hunted.

Last year Rodney appeared to prefer hay over grass, partly because he did not like leaving the barn area. Already this year he is grazing farther and farther away. Could it be that it is just taken him this long to settle in?

Any hay antics to report?

Categories: Barn Life, Horse Behavior, Horses

%d bloggers like this: