By Lynda M. Vanden Elzen & Tamara Wrayton
At Wrayton Transport Hay Sales, we have been testing the hay we sell for years. In the old days before hay testing, hay quality was evaluated based on general appearance, texture, colour, what was in it, and how it smelled. If you had a fat horse, you fed it grass hay. If your horse needed weight, you fed it alfalfa. Things were so simple back then — except when they weren’t.
Many conscientious horse owners are now making sure to feed tested hay to their equines. From the thoroughbred who can never eat enough to keep weight on, to the paddock potato stock horse who looks at food and gets fat, every horse can benefit from eating a diet that is suitable for their unique metabolic and performance needs. Forage testing takes the guess work out of choosing suitable hay for our horses, and for those equines who are sugar-sensitive, it can be the difference between life and death. These days, what kind of hay it is, or what it looks like, are less important than how it tests. But are all forage tests created equal?
Things to consider:
Was a representative sample taken? A “representative sample” means exactly what it sounds like – a sample that as accurately as possible represents the larger pile of hay it came from. Every bale from the same field is not the same. Every flake in a single bale (more…)