I use a nail-cleaning brush—like the sort used to give manicures—to gently scrub mud off my tack after a messy trail ride. It’s strong enough to cut through the dirt, but soft enough to not scratch the leather.— Morgan Devos, Corvallis, Oregon
Send your suggestions for inexpensive horse-care substitutes as well as hints for saving effort and time to Hands On, EQUUS, 656 Quince Orchard Road, #600, Gaithersburg, MD 20878; fax: 301-990-9015; email: EQLet[email protected]media.com. Senders of published items will receive selected EQUUS merchandise.
many suppliers may be out of hay or have only poor quality bales you are better off avoiding. If you can find good hay, by all means purchase it, but don’t settle for dusty, moldy or otherwise questionable bales.
• Stretch your supply. There are ways to make the hay you have last longer without compromising your horses’ health. Begin mixing in alfalfa pellets or cubes with your horse’s ration, cutting back on long-stem hay proportionally to maintain the 2 percent threshold.
• Replace hay with another forage source. There are many hay alternatives available, including chopped forage, alfalfa cubes and complete feeds. If you can’t stretch your supply of long-stem hay, you can replace it with one of these. This transition needs to be made gradually, however, well before your supply of hay is gone. And keep in mind that using an alternative with less “chew-time,” such as a complete feed, can leave a horse restless and more likely to start gnawing on trees or wood fences.
The key to managing a hay shortage is to see it coming. You don’t want to be caught by surprise with an empty loft midwinter.