Alfalfa & Protein

by Lynda M. Vanden Elzen

We get a LOT of questions and comments from customers about feeding alfalfa to horses. There are many myths circulated about alfalfa, which is unfortunate, because it can be an excellent horse feed. Alfalfa is a legume hay that is generally low in sugars, has no fructans (a type of sugar), is high in calcium and quality protein, and because of its very deep root systems – up to 49 feet into the ground – alfalfa plants are able to access nutrients deep in the soil that other plants cannot.  Alfalfa can be a big help to horses who suffer from gastric ulcers, it provides abundant minerals and amino acids, and horses love to eat it!  Many horse people are afraid to feed alfalfa, so we’d like to present some information here on alfalfa and protein to help people to make educated choices about both.

a close up of alfalfa hay

alfalfa hay

Protein is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids. The horse’s body can synthesize some amino acids on its own, so those ones are called “non-essential” because the horse does not need to consume them in his feed. Essential amino acids must come from the horse’s diet. These are: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Amino acids work together to form complete proteins, so if one is missing or in short supply, this limits the amount of protein available to the horse (more…)

Horseman’s Bazaar tomorrow March 13!

quarter horse bazaarDon’t forget to join us at Thunderbird Show Park for the LMQHA’s annual Horseman’s Bazaar. Kids had fun helping us set up today. Lynda will be there all day manning the booth. She has lots of good handouts about hay testing and nutrition as well as pens, bumper stickers and candy! I will be in and out as the littles are also involved in a demo with their vaulting club so make sure you find us! Vaulting demos are at 11:30 and 3:30.



Thermal images of hoof during laminitis

An interesting article about the temperature of a foundering horse’s feet. Observations included:

• Vasodilation (warm feet) promoted laminitis
• Vasoconstriction (cold feet) protected (cryotherapy?)

Thermal images of a hoof every hour 48 hours into laminitis:
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To read the full article please follow this link:

While we should of course endeavour to avoid triggering laminitis this study shows the importance of paying attention to heat in the feet and early diagnosis.

Welcome to our new website!

We have just launched our pretty awesome new website! We hope you enjoy it. Check back here for articles and thoughts from us – we are excited 🙂

Almost as excited as the mule.