Hay analysis and formulating feed programs

Written by: Jenna Tranter

Published on: 11/24/2021

Last time we talked we touched on hay analysis. But really what does a hay analysis tell you? When you feed your dog or cat, (or even human family!), a store bought food, somewhere on the packaging is your guaranteed analysis telling you exactly what percentage of daily vitamins, minerals, fats, calories etc. you or your pet is receiving per serving. In a nutshell this is what your hay analysis is going to tell you. As we all know, horses should have a forage first diet with their consumption at 1-2.5% of their body weight (depending on life stage and workload) per day.

By having your hay analyzed you have a better understanding of what you need to feed your horses additionally to make up their daily requirements. But here’s the catch- to properly analyze hay you really need to test a bale from every single field. Soil, drainage, crop rotation and many other factors can change the amount of nutrients even from one side of the field to the other, let alone adjacent fields. To further complicate this, if you're a boarder, ask your facility owner or manager when they last tested their hay. You would be shocked at how infrequently this step is skipped. So the question becomes how do we formulate a diet properly without knowing the hay analysis? Let me tell you… it’s hard!

Not all hay is the same

There are many variations to hay, much like there are many variations in types of kibble or raw dog food diets. Is it a single protein source? Or are there multiple sources of protein in it? Is it first cut hay? Second cut? Even third? Is it grassy and soft or coarse and stemmy? Are there little shattered leaves within your hay (that's the tasty part your horse will fling around their flakes to knock to the bottom and eat first!)? When working to formulate a diet you have to take into account the size of the horse and their workload- a horse going out to show the adult amateurs is going to require more fuel then a horse with the same body type that goes out on a recreational trail ride once or twice a week.

How to get the most out of your feed program

If you or your facility owner are not testing your hay you need to work off the assumption that your horse is not receiving everything they need from their diet and balance the difference with a ration balancer or feed supplement. If your horse is an easy keeper there are tons of feeds out there that simply provide vitamins and minerals with low starch and protein to balance your horse's needs based on their body weight.

We always suggest adding an Omega source as well in those instances- for the easy keepers 1-2ozs of Smart Earth Camelina oil is more than ample. For the harder keepers and athletes out there, there are lots of complete feeds on the market that will add protein, fat and all those good vitamins and minerals as well. In their case we suggest also adding an omega source not just for the PUFA’s but also for the fat content. If your mare or gelding needs some extra pounds we suggest starting with 3-4ozs of Smart Earth Camelina oil initially and then reducing to 1-2ozs a day to maintain their weight. Formulating diets is a fine art with many factors and we are here to help you in any way we can.

Camelina Oil for Equine

✅ Single ingredient, 100% pure Camelina Oil.
✅ Non-GMO
✅ Ideal balance of Omega-3 compared to other products, like soybean oil.
✅ Canadian produced and operated.

Camelina Oil for Equine

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

✅ Single ingredient, 100% pure Camelina Oil.
✅ Non-GMO
✅ Ideal balance of Omega-3 compared to other products, like soybean oil.
✅ Canadian produced and operated.

Meet Jenna Tranter

Jenna Tranter is Smart Earth Camelina Corp's equine nutritionist. She is the owner and operator of Four Corners Equestrian and has been involved in the industry for over 20 years.

Follow us!

About the Author

Jenna Tranter is a talented young professional with skills, training and interest in equines, communication, management, copy writing, advertising and media. She has succeeded in fast paced environments and performs very well under pressure. Is highly conscientious, always putting a maximum effort into every project undertaken. Jenna has been with Smart Earth for over 8 years and is our #1 source for your horse.