Why does alfalfa make some horses hot?

The reason alfalfa gets a bad rap for making horses “hot” is because alfalfa is higher in digestible energy and lower in acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) than grass hay.

What does too much alfalfa do to a horse?


They may get “hot”, anxious or agitated, or show signs of liver or kidney stress. In fact, some horses are so sensitive to alfalfa they cannot tolerate even small amounts.

What feed makes a horse hot?

Grains and grain based feeds, molasses and forages like alfalfa/lucerne hay tend to be commonly blamed for making horses ‘hot’.

How much alfalfa hay is it safe to feed a horse?

Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. of hay per day. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy.

Can a horse founder on alfalfa?

Alfalfa hay can cause horses to founder and develop laminitis due to the excess nutrients provided by the high quality hay if too much is fed. If switching from grass hay to alfalfa, generally less alfalfa is required to provide the same nutrients present in the grass hay.

Does alfalfa gain weight horse?

The biggest issue with alfalfa is weight gain in horses that don’t have adequate exercise.” Additionally, it supplies more nutrients than most nonworking horses need, leading to obesity and its associated issues.

Is alfalfa good for old horses?

Therefore, the key to feeding older horses is to use high quality protein from sources like alfalfa, soybean meal and canola meal without oversupplying their requirements.

Is timothy hay or alfalfa better for horses?

Alfalfa also has more calories per pound than timothy, so it’s generally the preferred choice of sport horse owners. However, Timothy hay is higher in fiber and has better calcium to phosphorous ratio than Alfalfa. High fiber helps with horse digestion and reduces the risk of getting colic.

Can horses graze on alfalfa?

Alfalfa can be grazed as a single-species or mixed with grass. Red or white clover doesn’t regrow well when grazed by horses, so it’s best to mix with grass. Alfalfa and red clover can be appropriate pasture species for horses diagnosed with metabolic disorders.

Will sweet feed make a horse hot?

But it’s a myth that only certain feeds, like corn or sweet feed, are responsible for causing those excessive energy spikes (silly, stupid behavior) in horses. While there’s no denying the change in behavior that can happen after a feed dump, the issue isn’t always the type of feed, it’s the amount.

Does beet pulp make horses hyper?

Beet pulp is high in fiber and low in sugar or non-structural carbohydrates. The energy it produces mainly comes from fermentation in the hindgut and is released in small amounts, so it doesn’t make the horse overly active.

Can supplements make a horse hot?

If certain vitamins and minerals are not supplied in adequate amounts or if the ratios of these nutrients are out of balance, hot behaviour may occur. In our analysis of thousands of equine diets, most have deficiencies in one or more vitamins and minerals which could contribute to anxious behaviours.

How many bales of hay should a horse have a day?

A horse can eat anywhere from 15-25 pounds of hay a day, which generally equates to a half of a 45/50-pound square bale of hay per day (~15-30 bales per month).

Can horses eat straight alfalfa?

Answer: You have an excellent, and common, question. Straight alfalfa will provide more protein, more calcium and perhaps more calories per pound than an alfalfa-grass mix.

What is the best hay for horses to eat?

Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. It can be quite expensive, depending on whether it has to be shipped long distances. Timothy must be harvested in the pre- or early-bloom stage to ensure a high nutrient content.

What does alfalfa do for a horse?

Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of energy, protein, calcium and some other nutrients for horses. Its concentrations of protein and calcium meet the nutrient needs of horses in high levels of production, such as growth and lactation, but exceed the nutrient requirements of horses in other life stages.

Are hay cubes good for horses?

Alfalfa cubes can be used effectively as the sole source of roughage for all classes of horses. Because of the high nutrient values for energy, protein, calcium, and vitamins, alfalfa cubes are very effective in feeding programs for broodmares and young growing horses.

How do you tell if a horse has foundered?

Signs and Symptoms of Founder

  1. Sudden onset of lameness.
  2. Resistance to walking or moving.
  3. Feeling a pulse and heat in the foot.
  4. Shifting weight back and forth between legs.
  5. Reluctance to bend the leg.
  6. Standing with the legs camped out in front of the body or with all four legs under the body.
  7. Laying down more frequently.

How can I put weight on my horse without getting hot?

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to add fat to your horse’s diet is vegetable oil from the grocery store, which can be poured over his regular concentrate ration. Corn oil is palatable to most horses, but you can also use canola, peanut or any other vegetable oil your horse likes.

How do I build my horse’s topline?

Here are some tips on how to develop a strong topline in your horse.

  1. Assess your situation.
  2. Read This Next: Put Your Horse On The Bit Correctly — ‘More of a Feeling Than a Picture’
  3. Stretching.
  4. Backing up.
  5. Cavaletti on the lunge or under saddle.
  6. Hill work.
  7. Like This Story?
  8. When in doubt, ride less with your hands.

How do I give my horse more energy?

Competition-Fit Mix from the Saracen range is the feed most commonly recommended for horses requiring additional instant energy, although other feeds from the Saracen range that may be suggested include Enduro-Performance, Show Improver Mix, and Race 13.

Does alfalfa give horses energy?

The fibre in alfalfa gives your horse slow release energy which they can use for maintenance, work or putting on weight. Alfa-A Original provides as much energy as a cool mix does. This means for many horses, there is no need to use cereal based feeds at all.

How many flakes does alfalfa feed a horse?

Answer: A 5-year-old warmblood, who is worked moderately for an hour a day, needs more than three flakes of hay per day. A general rule is that a horse needs half a bale of hay per day to satisfy baseline dietary requirements. But depending on the horse and the hay, the amount may vary.

Why is timothy good for horses?

Benefits for Horses

Horse owners have found that Timothy hay promotes a shiny coat, good digestion, bowel regularity, and a healthy weight. It is also excellent for colic prone, protein-sensitive, and obese horses.

Do horses need hay in the summer?

Your horse’s feed needs change during the summer. Feed like alfalfa, oats, and corn produce more heat than grass hay or pasture; so cut back or cut out these foods in favor of grass hay and pasture grazing. Letting your horse roam the pasture will also help it get more water.

What hay is not good for horses?

Grass Hay for Horses

Downsides: Grass hay alone may not be enough to sustain a hard-keeping horse, a growing horse or a pregnant or lactating mare. Additionally, horses in heavy work will need more energy and nutrients than can be found in grass hay alone.

Should I feed my horse alfalfa in the winter?

If the weather is really cold and you want to stoke your horse’s internal furnace, then feed him an extra flake of high-protein hay, such as alfalfa, every day. When his normal protein needs are being adequately met, the body will use the excess protein for energy, adding to his body-fat stores.

Is alfalfa a grass or legume?

Alfalfa is the most frequently grown forage legume and the highest-yielding perennial forage crop grown in many countries. It produces more protein per unit area than other forage legumes and can be grown alone or in combination with various grass species.