Mailbag: Soaking Hay
Brett from England writes:
Can you settle an argument here for me? I am from England, and myself and some friends are constantly fighting about wether or not Americans soak hay for their horses. Now, im aware that it all depends what is going on with the particular horse, but in your opinion, what is the general thoughts on soaking hay there? Many thanks, Brett.
Thanks for writing, Brett. I can’t speak for the average American horse owner but where I live in East Tennessee I don’t know anyone who soaks their hay and it’s not something I see as a regular conversation topic. From your question I take it in England that is common practice.
I have washed hay (sprayed it down with water) to reduce dust on a particularly dusty bale but it’s not something we do regularly at our place. I know some of the performance horse shows use hay steamers like Haygain. A quick check around my horse circles reveals some controversy here as well. On one hand soaking can reduce contaminants and on the other hand it can reduce important vitamins and sugars so supplements are required.
I pose this question to our readers. Do you soak your hay? If so, why and how often? This poll is anonymous.
EDIT: Poll closed 8/29/11. Below are the results (you should see charts below this paragraph). Although we didn’t get many responses (21 total), of those, it looks like most of you don’t soak hay. Of those that do, most are trying to reduce dust/contaminants and accomplish this using a bucket. Interesting info. Thanks to those who participated!