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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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Hay Belly

Dear Dr. Getty,
What a super site you have here! I've learned so much reading past posts. So I'm sending you a huge THANK YOU.

My question today is about hay bellies. If you feed a pony or miniature horse (or any horse, for that matter) only hay and vitamins, are they going to develop a big pot belly? Does it matter if it's cubes, pellets or loose hay?

Also, I understand Bermuda is a grass hay and Alfalfa is a legume. Where does Timothy fall in and is it better/as good as the other hays?

Thanks again!!


Where are you from? Arizona

How did you locate this forum? Search engine

Re: Hay Belly

Hi Pam,

Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm delighted to hear that you're enjoying the site!

A "hay belly" is actually a good thing. It is not fat, it's gas . When the bacteria living in the hind gut ferment forage, gas is produced, and this can temporarily cause the abdomen to expand. So, there is no need to worry about this. Some people deliberately avoid a lot of hay and pasture and feed grain instead to reduce a hay belly. But this is not a healthy way to go. Most of the diet should come from forage and it doesn't matter if it is hay, pellets, or cubes. However, hay is best because it takes longer to chew.

Timothy is a grass hay and is very similar to bermuda in quality.

Thanks for writing!

Dr. Getty