Suggestions: alternatives to soaking hay?

Tobiano

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Are there any?

Health & safety issues might mean we can't soak hay on the yard. My 2 are ok in winter but in the summer I've been giving them soaked hay as they are outrageously good doers.

Anyone have any suggestions as to alternatives to soaking hay? If the worst comes to the worst i will soak it at home! But has anyone found another way to keep the weight off your horses? (Oh and the grass is amazingly lush too!)
 

Ellen Durow

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Are there any?

Health & safety issues might mean we can't soak hay on the yard. My 2 are ok in winter but in the summer I've been giving them soaked hay as they are outrageously good doers.

Anyone have any suggestions as to alternatives to soaking hay? If the worst comes to the worst i will soak it at home! But has anyone found another way to keep the weight off your horses? (Oh and the grass is amazingly lush too!)
A qualified Health and Safety rep, formerly employed in that capacity by a large international company asks - Why do H&S issues prevent you soaking hay?

As for weight issues, have you considered feeding them less?
 
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I think this sounds mad: the yard is there to provide suitable accommodation and facilities, there has to be a way round this.
The H&S inspector told the YM to remove trotting poles from the area because they were a tripping hazard, like idiots they agreed, so there I am [mounted] with my boy schooling him and someone enters arena [no hard hat ] and removes trotting poles, leaves crossed poles as they are "jumps"
The health and safety of your horse is the reason for being there, if they insist, I would just leave.
It is possible that the run-off may be contaminating a watercourse, which is not H&S of course, but again there are ways round this.
If people are thowing water on icy ground in the yard, then obviously it is management and needs to be stopped.
 
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lelly

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I just wondered why feed hay when grass is lush. Unless it's when they are in of course. Have you thought of steaming?
 
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I just wondered why feed hay when grass is lush. Unless it's when they are in of course. Have you thought of steaming?
I agree with feeding hay [which is fibrous] when horse are on lush [lo fibre and high in sugar] grass, this stops horse stuffing itself full of sugary green grass when it is turned out. Same reason I would feed hi fibre feed and some hay before turnout on to spring grass when horse is stabled overnight.
I assume horse has to be stabled as they wont eat it in the field if the alternative is lots of lush grass.
 

touchstone

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I think your only option would be to feed a low calorie chaff if feeding soaked hay isn't allowed, it will work out expensive though! You could try feeding straw, but it can be hard to digest and quite high in starch.
 

serenityjane

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I give straw as part of our forage ration-this slows them down, as it is more fibrous, takes longer to chew and digest but contains fewer calories than hay or haylage- mine get oat (if I can get it-but some oat straw can be quite calorific too) but my preference is barley straw-good quality and dust free in double nets with their hay/haylage ration mixed in-works a treat, and horse have been known to come in off the lush grass to nibble at haynets with just the straw left in, in the summer!!!
 

laura_nash

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If your only soaking for weight reasons, I would definately look to cut it with good barley straw. I'm currently doing that with my two with no problems so far (and some healthy weight loss). I also use trickle nets to help reduce the amount of hay fed whilst lasting the same time.
 

Tobiano

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Thank you! I did wonder about straw; that might be the answer.

At the moment in the summer they go out at night (muzzled) then in during the day. The main reason for coming in is that I cannot leave the muzzle on 24/7 and there is no point only having it on part of the time when they are out. They have a hay net when standing in.

With a steamer do you still have to empty gallons of water? I think the main issue with the soaking is the amount of water that ends up making icy patches and there is the pollution aspect too. Oh and assume steamers require a mains electric supply?
 

Boulty

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Well the ice thing wouldn't be an issue in summer but the water does tend to stink. I soaked hay last summer but have switched to a low sugar, late cut meadow haylage for my rather sensitive creature because I didn't fancy all the wet and the mess in winter and it seems to be doing the job (think it would be doing it better if he didn't have access to yard hay in the field but only way to get around this would be to have him on his own and I don't feel that's fair) so if you can find suitable haylage (timothy horsehage tends to be ok but is rather expensive!) that may be an option. Alternatively a steamer may be an option (not too sure how that compares to soaking for sugar removal though). I'd speak to your yard to see if a solution can be find (someone I know their yard provides big baths for them to soak hay in).
 

Tobiano

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Thank you Boulty. Yes I will def speak to the yard, they have said happy to discuss solutions. That is a good idea about the haylage too. You would think it is a multi-million pound industry to have low cal hay substitutes for horses given how many of us struggle with their weight!
 

Bryndu

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Hi ,
I havn't read all the posts...and tbh gave up after the whole H&SE and pole thing...lol :)
Have you thought about soaking and draining at home and bringing it with you in the boot of the car? You will have drained it well and could out the full nets in a black plastic bin in the car?
Sorry if this has been suggested.
Bryndu
 

PonyclubmumZ

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We use a hay cube and empty that from the drain plug directly into the drain = no mess nor water everywhere. When its frozen I tip a mug full of salt/grit down the drain and a kettle of boiling water and it drains perfectly, is that an option for you?
 
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