Hay is expensive and crucial to your horse’s health and performance, so it’s worthwhile to teach yourself how to physically evaluate the quality and nutritional value of the hay your horse is getting.
This is a fantastic resource made by a professor and Master’s student at the University of Minnesota which details how to physically evaluate your hay, and what knowledge you can gain about your horse’s diet from considering the condition and quality of hay. Of course, the most complete profile of your hay will come from sending it off to a lab for analysis, but a lot can be learned through touch, sight and smell.
Maturity is an important aspect of your horse’s hay to consider. More mature hay should be fed to horses with lower caloric demands. Also, there are different species in the hay, and it’s important to be able to identify if your hay is full of weeds or not. Weeds in hay can cause allergic reactions like hives.
Surprisingly, color doesn’t matter all that much, they explain. A light hay isn’t necessarily older or less dense in nutritional value than a dark green hay. And keep an eye/nose out for mold, which is dangerous to feed.
There’s so much to be learned through this video! Check it out: