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2009 Hay Analysis
Nutrition
Feeding horses processed feeds will eventually lead to a nutrient deficit.  Processing degrades nutrient value of feed and long term storage has even a further detrimental effect.  Consider processed feeds as every item fed that is not grazed on a pasture - i.e. baled hay, pelleted rations, or grains.

One of the most common nutrient deficiencies found in Alaska is Vitamin E.  Naturally occurring Vitamin E easily degrades during storage and when exposed to the elements.  In addition, working horses require higher levels of Vitamin E.  Vitamin E is essential for muscle function and recovery during and after work.  Mild Vitamin E deficiencies can be identified as a muscle sore horse or slow to recover from exercise.
 
Do not focus on a single nutrient - all nutrients are closely inter-linked and must be fed in a balanced ration formulated for the particular animal.

The best and most accurate method is to test your hay, evaluate the nutrient intake and feed supplements to meet the deficits.  See 2009 Hay Analysis for Nutrient content of local hays.

Equi-Analytical Laboratories is one of the premier forage testing labs.  Use their (603) "trainer" test package.  After you receive your test results, I would be glad to assist in developing a balanced ration for your horse.  At the end of the page is a diagram to build your own hay probe for testing hay.

Nutrient Requirements of Horses developed by the National Research Council has established intake requirements for almost all age and working levels of horses

The following video is an excellent overview of the equine digestive anatomy and nutrient absorption.




Hay Sample Probe Construction -
A simple and effective hay probe can be made using a hole saw as the base.  A piece of pipe, in this case a length of 3/4 inch conduit, fits nicely inside of a 1 inch hole saw.  A hole is then drilled in the conduit and a bolt is passed threw the pipe.  The other end is sharpened with a grinder and a file.  Hay is not easily cut with pipe inner diameter smaller than 3/4 inch..  A wood dowel is required to push the hay sample out.  See Equi-Analytical Sampling Procedures for additional information.
hay probehay probe 2

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