Is dried grass a good forage substitute for my horse?

Dried grass can be useful if your grazing is rubbish at the moment, but it does have its limitations. We asked Clare Barefoot, an equine nutrition expert at Spillers Feeds to tell us more. 

Is dried grass a good forage substitute for my horse and is there a specific type I should use?

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A: When the grass quality and quantity decrease over the winter months, dried grass can be very useful.

But it does have its limitations as it does differ quite significantly from hay.

It’s harvested earlier, often from cultivated mono-cultured grass, and is dried artificially rather than in the field, which means that it’s higher in protein and energy and lower in fibre than hay, which is why it’s much greener in colour.

For this reason, it’s not suitable for use as a full hay replacer and shouldn’t be fed to horses and ponies requiring a low water-soluble carbohydrate (sugar) diet such as laminitics.

It is however, very useful for poor doers and senior horses that require extra calories, especially if they are poor forage eaters as it’s quite palatable.

I would recommend dampening it down before eating as dried grass tends to be very dry and can increase the risk of choke in some horses.

There are various dried grass products on the market and most have a similar nutritional analysis, but you may want to call the company to check whether their product is suitable for your horse’s individual requirements.

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