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What is in grass and not in hay?

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  • What is in grass and not in hay?

    I was at a Purina seminar last evening and the presenter said
    that pasture grass furnishes all the nutrition a horse needs but
    hay does not. I know that vitamin A diminishes in hay over
    time but what else is lost from grass to hay?

    And is it true that grass contains all the nutrients a horse
    needs? I am doubtful about this assertion as I have been told
    that the land in my area is lacking in selenium and I don't see
    how the grass could contain enough when the soil does not.
    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, Wisconsin

  • #2
    Moisture? I dunno I know horses that pretty much live on just hay and look great (I really don't think the handful of grain they get is doing much for vits/mins). I am sure that there is grass out there that can provide everything a horse needs, but not all grass and not all horses have access to good grass.
    http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

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    • #3
      Hay loses Vitamin E pretty quickly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
        I am doubtful about this assertion as I have been told
        that the land in my area is lacking in selenium and I don't see
        how the grass could contain enough when the soil does not.
        If your area is selenium deficient then yes, your grass and hay are too.

        Comment


        • #5
          Moisture.

          The assertion that horses can live on hay/forage alone assumes that the forage contains enough of the micronutrients (selenium, etc.) as well as the essential amino acids. It is more than just calories.

          Under good circumstances, good soil, etc. and assuming the variety of forage is suitable for horses, of course they can do fine on hay/grass alone.
          Click here before you buy.

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          • #6
            Ditto the loss of vitmain E. Once grass is cut, it loses quite a bit, and the longer it's stored (the older the hay is) the less it contains. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and helps support the immune system, and recently has shown to be beneficial for the reproduction process. Fresh grass also contains selenium from the soil it grows in, and horses must ingest selenium in order for their bodies to absorb the vit. E. Mostly for these reasons is why some people choose to use a vit E/selenium supplement.

            This is where a very strong word of caution comes into play. There is no known level of toxicity for vit E in horses. That means you can practically feed all you want with no adverse side effects. However, horses are extremely sensitive to selenium, and have a very low toxicity threshold. So while you must have some selenium in order for them to utilize the E, you must be careful not to overdo it. Always check and find out if the soil in your area is deficient or not, check how much selenium is in the feeds you feed and any other supplements you use before adding in a selenium/vit E supplement. Ideally, for a full grown horse, you do not want to exceed 4 mg of selenium a day.

            There are plenty of supplements containing E by itself on the market. And incidentally, recent studies have shown that the natural form of vit E (d-alpha tocopherol) may be more easily absorbed and utilized than the synthetic form (dl-alpha tocopherol).
            Last edited by Real Rush; Oct. 31, 2011, 09:43 AM. Reason: stupid error

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            • #7
              I have several horses on the farm that thrive on pretty much grass hay alone. They do have sparse pasture, but that pretty much goes to nothing in drought or winter. They get a handful of a basic grain so they think they are getting something when the other horses get fed.

              One of those was a nursing mare eating the same way during her pregnancy and nursing her babies. Both foals placed at Dressage at Devon. She herself won her class, and was 4th place USDF Maiden and Yeld Mare for the year.

              She is healthy and sound as are her offspring.

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              • #8
                Pasture often allows grazing of plants that are generally not present in hay fields. Just one example- plantain. Plantain is really good source of several microminerals.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                  I was at a Purina seminar last evening and the presenter said
                  that pasture grass furnishes all the nutrition a horse needs but
                  hay does not.
                  How can he say that? Yet another reason I dislike Purina

                  COULD pasture provide all the nutrition a horse needs? Yes - if the soil is meticulously cared for, the horse isn't too easy a keeper, and he's not in work.

                  But many, many soils are deficient or proficient (is that the right term here?) in something, either due to the geography, or over-farming. Selenium is typically deficient around here, and it's not uncommon to have to supplement it. My soil is high in iron, can't do a thing about that either, which means lower levels of copper in any grass or hay growing on it.
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by D Taylor View Post
                    Pasture often allows grazing of plants that are generally not present in hay fields. Just one example- plantain. Plantain is really good source of several microminerals.
                    My horses ought to be maxed out on microminerals then LOL Good grief that stuff took OVER this year The guy who tilled my pasture, who also does hay for a living, said it's taken over everywhere.

                    Good to know it's at least got some use!
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                    • #11
                      Aren't there quite a few variables that go into this assumption? Type of grass, type of hay, region in which you live, soil contents, soil type, etc.?
                      If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                      DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                      Originally posted by talkofthetown
                      As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by realrush89 View Post
                        This is where a very strong word of caution comes into play. There is no known level of toxicity for vit E in horses. That means you can practically feed all you want with no adverse side effects.
                        Is that really what it means? "No known level" to me means "there might be a level, but we haven't found it yet". I always thought that Vitamin E was a fat-soluble vitamin for which the excess would be stored (perhaps detrimentally) in the tissues. As opposed to a water-soluble vitamin like Vitamin C for which the excess is simply flushed. Of course that's one of those factoids I have never researched more deeply...

                        ETA: this article states pretty much what I was trying to say -- so either there is a big diff between human and horse vitamin metabolism, or I'd be really reluctant to say there is no toxic level of E...
                        Last edited by JoZ; Oct. 28, 2011, 02:14 PM. Reason: added link
                        Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
                        Starman

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                        • #13
                          We've got a coming 20 year old mare, about 1,000 pounds, around 15.1, medium amount of work 4-5 days a week. She gets a very small amount of grain, about the amount in a coffee mug - not a coffee can - a mug. She's fat, slick, full of energy. I wish they were all that easy to keep!

                          You can take soil samples from various places in your pasture and have them tested to find out what is lacking in your soil. I think the county extension agent does it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JoZ View Post
                            Is that really what it means? "No known level" to me means "there might be a level, but we haven't found it yet". I always thought that Vitamin E was a fat-soluble vitamin for which the excess would be stored (perhaps detrimentally) in the tissues. As opposed to a water-soluble vitamin like Vitamin C for which the excess is simply flushed. Of course that's one of those factoids I have never researched more deeply...
                            Here are a few articles I could find at the spur of the moment. The very first one discusses the possible extrapolation between humans and horses:

                            http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=5254
                            http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=12025
                            http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=1542
                            http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=1769

                            One article sited the fact that horses suffering from severe neurological disease are treated with 30,000 IU a day. The average vitamin E supplement only contains between 1,000 and 5,000 IU per serving (depending on manufacturer).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by D Taylor View Post
                              Pasture often allows grazing of plants that are generally not present in hay fields. Just one example- plantain. Plantain is really good source of several microminerals.
                              And I learned something new today! This prompted a Google image search since I didn't know what plantain grass looks like. Only plantain I knew were the bananas! Someone years ago told me it was psyllium, but other than that had no clue. They do kinda resemble each other...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by D Taylor View Post
                                Plantain is really good source of several microminerals.
                                IF.... the soil has enough to begin with, which sometimes it doesn't.

                                When chilled, it is also very high in sugar and FOS, of the same type that is used to induce laminitis. I know of 2 cases of colic with laminitis in the fall where plantain was the primary plant being eaten. Lots of plantain is a sign of overgrazing without rotational rest periods.
                                Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Most importantly are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.. IMO.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by alterhorse View Post
                                    Most importantly are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.. IMO.
                                    According to a nutritionist, most important is Vitamin E and Omega 3s.

                                    I wouldn't brag about NOT supplementing mares and foals that aren't on green pasture. I had a mare who had neurological deficits most likely because she did not get enough vitamin E through her mother or as a foal. Do a search on Equine EDM. The good news is you can almost completely prevent it by supplementing mares and foals.

                                    Just because a horse "looks fine" doesn't mean that they don't have lasting effects due to poor nutrition.
                                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      At a nutritional seminar I went to they said that Vitamin K was lost in hay.

                                      Here, in the wet PNW with the rainy summer, all the pastures tested were lacking in a lot of nutrients, including Selenium. So horses on local hay need to be supplemented with ration balancer (which is formulated for here).
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Katy Watts View Post
                                        IF.... the soil has enough to begin with, which sometimes it doesn't.

                                        When chilled, it is also very high in sugar and FOS, of the same type that is used to induce laminitis. I know of 2 cases of colic with laminitis in the fall where plantain was the primary plant being eaten. Lots of plantain is a sign of overgrazing without rotational rest periods.
                                        And the point of soil fertility and plant nutrient content was already made by others. The purpose of my post was to offer other explanation and give a possible example.

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