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Young Rider

Ask the Vet: How’s the Hay?



Q: Do horses know not to eat moldy or spoiled hay?

A: Horses will generally avoid any feed that is spoiled or moldy unless they have nothing else to eat. This is also true for poisonous plants, which may be growing in your horse’s field. If there is good food to eat, horses won’t go foraging for bad things.

Always make sure you throw out any bad hay or moldy grain and walk your fields to check for poisonous weeds. Make sure your hay supply is covered and that no water is leaking on it. Your horse needs your help to stay healthy.

Read more about choosing the right hay or other forage for your horse >>


This article originally appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Learn How to Avoid Moldy Hay

Do you know how to evaluate hay quality to determine if the hay you are purchasing is really right for your horse? As we move into fall and winter, horse owners need to make sure they have enough hay of good quality to feed through the cold months. Amy Burk, PhD, MS, an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland has put together a new video lecture on how to evaluate hay quality and what kinds of hay are best for different horses. This is one of the most requested presentation topics on horse care at the University of Maryland. Read More>>

Courtney S. Diehl, DVM

Courtney S. Diehl, DVM, has been an equine veterinarian since 2000. She is the author of Horse Vet: Chronicles of a Mobile Veterinarian and Stories of Eric the Fox, first place winner of the CIPA EVVY award. She is currently working on her third book.

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