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Going on long trip - use of hay pellets or buy hay once there???

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  • Going on long trip - use of hay pellets or buy hay once there???

    I am going on a long horseback riding trip and there is no way I can take enough hay along for the whole trip. So, my options are to find hay to buy once I reach my destination, and we will be at our destination for a week, or one person once said that I could take hay pellets along in addition to my normal hay and that would get me through since it takes much less room to carry the hay pellets than all the bales of hay (no hay rack to put hay in).

    I have never used hay pellets and know nothing about them, how much to feed etc... So if I went this option I would need some info on how to do all of that.

    So, what would be best for me to do? Buy additional hay once I get to my destination and feed that or buy hay pellets and feed those instead?

    Thanks in advance!


  • #2
    For a road trip, I might take a bale or two from home, and buy more when and where I need it- taking care to blend old and new for feeding to avoid gastric surprises.

    When I've been gone as long as a couple of weeks, I've also taken all the hay I needed in the back of my truck, covered with a tarp. I don't have a hay rack either, use a two horse bumper pull.

    If I'm packing into the back country, I'll take hay pellets to supplement available grazing. But if your horse isn't used to them, introduce a bit before leaving. Mine routinely get a handful of pellets as a post-ride treat, so no big deal to up the quantities on the trail.


    • Original Poster

      I too only have a two horse bumper pull. I can put some hay in the back of the truck, but there is no way I can take enough for our entire trip along with the other things that have to be in the back of the truck - it's not a long bed so space is limited. I will be gone close to 2 weeks.

      How would I know how much hay cubes to take along and how much do you feed if you use that instead of regular hay? And, how do you feet it?

      Right now my horse is used to pasture and a little hay here and there to supplement if needed. I have never used the hay cubes so I am really clueless about them.

      Hopefully I can get some more advice on what to do.......



      • #4
        You could probably ship a pallet of your hay ahead to your destination and carry enough with you to get there. Just make sure you prevent it getting wet (plastic wrap is your friend). Get your horses gradually started eating hay at home before you leave so that you don't encounter any colicky problems.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


        • #5
          Hay cubes or pellets would be fed by weight, as is hay- 15 to 20% of horse's body weight each day. When I use them I feed in a bucket, or in the case of pellets in the back country, use a feed bag. But- if you go that route, you'll want to get the horses introduced to them before leaving on trip.


          • #6
            You didn't say the area you are riding in. Some Natl Forest require certified hay. In that case its preferable to get hay in that area since they will carry the certified hay.

            In either case, you can probably find hay similar to your own enough that it would be good for the horses.
            "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


            • #7
              If your horse is unfamiliar with hay cubes, or even hay, you will want to start preparing them to eat it now, or you might have problems. I prefer the cubes, as it's a longer fiber, but it is bulkier to carry. If your horses are confused and not sure what to do with it, you can dampen the cubes, tear them up, try to mix a little sweet in, until they get the idea. Mine find timothy cubes offensive, for some reason, but the blended they eat, and they will eat timothy pellets. Go figure...

              In my area, anyway, cubes and pellets are certified weed-free, which is required for camping, so that's what I usually use. Or compressed hay bales (which are super-compressed weed-free hay in smaller packages). Check your feed store - usually alfalfa, timothy and alf/tim blended cubes and pellets are available.

              If you plan to buy hay bales when you arrive, make sure you have a reliable source lined up! Call ahead and reserve yourself some. If you are doing an organized ride, management generally can help you.

              And remember that a horse working all day every day on a long trip will consume more food than they do at home...so plan on a little more than normal. My two small air ferns will gobble up 25%+ of their weight in feed daily on a strenuous ride.


              • #8
                Assuming you'll be parked somewhere a week and camping from that spot, I'd take what hay I could, loading up the hay bags for the trips both ways, and get my mare used to hay cubes now some horses are funny about them and I like to soak them (have a mare prone to choke). Take a bag or two more than you think you'll need, and FWIW, poke around at how to get local hay if you get a wild hair and want some.

                Signed, a girl who once extended a FL camping trip by finding a local farmer on a whim and buying some hay


                • #9
                  If you'll be near a major city, start looking on Craigslist for hay. Or if it's a smaller town, see if you can find their local paper online and peruse the classified ads for hay.

                  That's what we do for our annual week long camping trip. I've got a BP with no dressing room/hay rack so I've got limited space. So I find a hay person near where we'll be and plan on picking up some bales once I get there.

                  A woman I sometimes camp with brings hay cubes and they work well for her. She has a really big rubber feed tub that she puts them in and her horse gets them free choice.


                  • #10
                    OK first off. it's 1% to 2% of their body weight not 15%- 20% I mean 20% of a 1000 lb horse is 200 lbs of hay a day. No horse eats that much.

                    I feed more on the road then I do at home. Usually the horses are working and they are always bored when tied to the trailer or highline. So figure on 2% which for a 1000 lb horse = 20lbs of feed a day. Regardless of whether it's baled hay, pellets or cubes.

                    Don't bring out of state hay from back east out west. All public lands. (Forest Service, BLM or State lands ) require certified weed free hay. Your hay from Iowa won't pass and you may get a ticket. And worse you may drop some seeds that you don't consider a weed in Iowa but we absolutely consider a weed here in the Mountain West. It really depends on if a plant has any natural enemies or if it will become invasive and steal water and nutrients from local plants. Remember it's not whether you consider it a weed, but rather whether the area you are traveling to considers it an invasive plant. So Either buy the hay here or bring certified hay with you. Most pellets are certified since the grinding process destroys the seeds.

                    Most feed stores around your destination will have packaged feed. If you use a national brand of pelleted feed. Such as Purina or Nutrena you can start your horse ont he new diet before you leave and buy additional feed at the local feed stores along the way. And of course you can usually find baled hay at the feed store or at a local farm. But baled hay will vary from each farmers field. depending on Alfalfa, timothy or what ever grass mix. As well as the soil conditions.

                    If your travels are in the Eastern Half of the country where they don't care about certified hay. Then throw a few extra bales in the truck and suppliment it with packaged feed you buy along the way.

                    The biggest problem I find with pellets, is the horses eat them too fast and then get bored. Eating baled hay takes longer and keeps them busy longer for the same amount of calories.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks everyone for all the information. I am going to South Dakota to ride in the areas around Custer. We are not staying in the actual park, and where we are staying does not require certified hay, but I do understand about the problems with feeding non certified and then riding in the areas that do require it and the potential problems with what my horse leaves behind.

                      I think I am going to go to my local feed store and see what they have for hay cubes and I may pick up a bag and see what my horse thinks of them. It sounds like I should either take some of these along and maybe pick up more of them out there or plan on finding hay out there. I am also going to be checking with the others I am going with to see what they are doing and if they would have any spare room for some of my hay as well as theres. The problem with that is we are all meeting up along the way as we all live in different areas, so how I would get my hay to them, I am not sure about.

                      Again, thanks for all the information!



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Painted Horse View Post
                        OK first off. it's 1% to 2% of their body weight not 15%- 20% I mean 20% of a 1000 lb horse is 200 lbs of hay a day.
                        Yeah. Duh. I was off by a decimal point. Probably been working for the government too long.


                        • #13
                          It sounds like I should either take some of these along and maybe pick up more of them out there or plan on finding hay out there.

                          You'll have more flexibility replacing those either/ors with ands

                          It sounds like I should take some of these along and maybe pick up more of them out there and plan on finding hay out there.

                          You are going to ride, not scout hay time off is too precious to mess around. Get your horse used to hay cubes, contact where you're headed- horse park/campground/barn? what? for reliable local sources of hay. If you'll be going into 'town' for dinner one night, you could plan to pick some up. If you're passing a feed store on the way to camping, pick up a bale or two on the way to camp. Line up some sources, phone numbers, store hours, etc, and go have fun


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=Painted Horse;4225259]OK first off. it's 1% to 2% of their body weight not 15%- 20% I mean 20% of a 1000 lb horse is 200 lbs of hay a day. No horse eats that much.

                            Double DUH! Yeah, I was thinking my two split a 50# bag per day....25# of feed per day per horse...


                            • #15
                              We used Lucerne Farms Dengie when we went to Florida for 3 weeks. It is compressed, heat treated hay that most horses love. I don't know if it is certified for travel, but you could contact the company. Each bag of Dengie takes up about 1/3 of the space of a bale of hay. It is not dusty like regular hay so we like to use it in the trailer.