Horse hay and haylage - Specially made hay for horses produced in scotland
As I’m sure you all know, the natural diet of a horse is predominantly grass, with a few leaves, herbs and flowers thrown in as they graze. In other words, forage. Unfortunately, in the UK, our grass cannot sustain our horses all year round. Even in the summer months we may have to supplement their diet to give them the energy for ridden work and provide all of the vitamins and minerals that our pastures can lack. For most horses, when substituting grass, the main part of their feed will be hay or haylage, as this is the closest we can come to mimicking their natural diet.
Why is it important to give horses plenty of forage?
Horses have evolved very sensitive, complicated digestive systems. It is important that a large proportion of their daily diet consists of digestible fibre, such as that found in grass. Although they can digest small amounts of carbohydrates, they should have ready access to fibre most of the time. In the wild, horses are trickle grazers, spending up to 17 hours a day grazing. In fact, it is thought that spending long periods each day without fibre (in the form of grass, hay, or haylage) can be a contributing factor for gastric ulcers in horses.
What is the difference between hay and haylage?
In very simple terms, hay is grass that has been cut and left to dry. Once dry it is baled and stored. The very low moisture content and the tight baling keeps the hay fresh. Haylage is grass that has been baled slightly earlier, when still damp. It is then wrapped in plastic. The damp, airless environment inside the bale allows natural yeasts to ferment, thereby preserving the grass as haylage. (The white spots you often see on haylage are yeasts, and are quite harmless.)
Hay for horses produced in scotland
At Central Saddlery we take a great deal of care to source the best quality hay and haylage for your horse. Our hay is grown locally, as central Scotland is one of the best hay producing regions in the UK. It is grown specifically with the horse in mind and is a Timothy/Ryegrass mixture. We usually have both small square bales and large round bales in stock, either for collection or delivery. We also have Hesston bales which look like huge versions of the traditional small square bales of hay.
As well as hay we stock two excellent brands of haylage; Silvermoor and Horsehage. Within the branded haylage there are six different types on offer, allowing you to choose the one most appropriate to your horse’s requirements.