Despite the unknown cause of her lung issue, I’ve decided that any airborne dust in their hay is not going to help her. This has lead me to a rigid soaking routine and some rather interesting observations about rehydrating hay.
I’m calling it rehydrating because I don’t soak it long enough to leach very many nutrients out of it. In the beginning I was just getting it wet really and noticed that if it was left for a few minutes it would almost turn back into grass. Grass is more natural for horses to eat and to me seems much easier on the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). I personally don't believe that any TMJ is designed to eat dehydrated food all the time. How would your jaw feel if you lived on beef jerky and dried mangos year round? After all, the more we wear a joint, the more it breaks down, and I for one would like my horses jaw to last as long as possible.
Now the idea of soaking or rehydrating hay is nothing new. Many people for a very long time have been doing this, including myself. What I’m doing differently this year is leaving the barrels I use to soak the hay in beside the water trough filled with the “hay tea”. I was amazed to see that 9/10 times they would rather drink the hay water! Most days I go back and at least one of the hay water barrels is empty. I love this and I speculate that any water soluble nutrients that are being leached out during the rehydration process are then going to accessible to them in the form of “hay tea”.
This routine may be very uncomfortable for me physically (warm water would be nice) and I will admit it’s much more time consuming, but I truly believe that it’s the best thing for the overall health of my horses. It’s been interesting to see the herd and how they are responding to the new feeding routine. I’m looking forward to watching things as they progress.
Happy Horsing Around
CEST (Certified Equine Sports Therapist)