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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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question about hay

Hi Dr. Getty, I am hoping you can settle a dispute for me about hay. I have a 25 yr old quarterhorse, and board a 24 yr old standardbred for a friend. We share cost of feed and hay. Every year in August, when we get our hay supply for the year,we order a second cutting alfalfa mix hay. My friend also orders 25 extra bales of a dried out 1st cutting hay. This she keeps aside till winter and then insists we mix it in with the regular hay that they've been eating for months(and enjoying) because they can't have straight second cutting in the winter.What do you think? She says that she was told this by a vet, but I never hear of other people who do this. Thanks!

Where are you from? New York

How did you locate this forum? web search

Re: question about hay

Hi Melissa,

Typically, the second cutting of alfalfa hay is higher in protein than the first cutting. But, since you are not feeding straight alfalfa, but rather mixing it with a grass hay, this is not a concern. I suppose your friend is concerned about the horses eating more hay in the winter, due to the lessened availability of pasture.

Adding alfalfa, even the second cutting, to a grass hay, is beneficial for horses and can be fed year round. However, to get an accurate assessment of the difference between the two batches, ask your hay provider to have the hay analyzed. This information will help you make the best decision.

As long as your horses have healthy kidneys and plenty of water to drink, you are doing the best thing for them by combining grass and legume hays. I talk more about this in the recent Horse Illustrated September issue. You can see it on line at

All the best,

Dr. Getty