Why do Horses Eat Hay not Grass?


by Al Badia

Horses need to graze on small amounts of forage almost constantly. Hay, which provides fiber, nutrients and vitamins in a relatively low-calorie dose, can be fed in this manner all year round, allowing even horses with zero turnout time a chance to eat like their ancestors did on the range.

The reason a horse’s digestive system works best with hay is because it’s a plant-based diet that is high in fiber but low in calories. Your horse’s ancestors ate grasses and other plants, but they also ate the stems of these plants—and this was their main source of calories.

Horses are herbivores, which means they need to graze on grass almost constantly. Their stomachs are designed to allow them to eat small amounts of forage, digest it, and then eat more.

Hay is a great way to provide your horse with fiber and nutrients without overloading him with too much concentrated food. It also provides vitamins in a relatively low-calorie dose, so you can feed it year-round without worrying about putting on weight or getting fat.


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