Monday, June 22, 2009


It seems like we have had more than our share of rain this spring. We have had rain most days for the last 2-3 weeks, or at least in June.

When I went out west the other day I noticed a number of hay fields with hay still sitting in them. Some was baled but some was not.

I think the farmers have had a hard time this spring because of the rain.

Typically the first crop of hay in this area is cut around the first of June and then after drying for
a couple of days it is baled and then gotten off the field so the next crops growth can get going.

In situations like it has been this year instead of cutting, sitting and drying a couple of days and then baling it gets rained on and then it is wet and has to go through the drying process again before it can be baled. So the hay has to sit for another few days and probably will have to be turned over with a rake to facilitate drying out.

If the rain keeps coming back every day or two as has been the case then this process is lengthened out. Also the rain and moisture can cause mold to grow in the hay and that is not a good thing to have especially when it is fed to horses.

Moldy hay can cause heaves in horses. The dust from the mold gets into their lungs and causes them to cough and have a very hard time breathing.

Some of my best friends are horses!
I had a mare that had a problem with heaves. She was a real good riding horse and was just given to us. We had a close family friend who owned her and had rode her for a number of years but then quit riding for some reason and was just boarding the mare and told us to come and get her and ride her if we wanted to, so we did.

She was a pretty little sorrel with a blaze face. She stood about 15 hands, and was not a real heavy build but had great stamina. She was amazing in the mountains, she would go all day. She was no youngster, I don't know how old she was but she was up there and it didn't take long to realize she was prone to the heaves.

When I could keep her on pasture she was fine but winter or when we were without pasture she had a hard time. With hay she would have problems. I had to switch and was feeding her alfalfa pellets and cubes and she would do fine on those.

Not all horses that get moldy hay get the heaves and not all hay that gets wet gets moldy but it can be a problem and I guess because of all that I seem to notice when the hay sits in the field and gets wet.

At the same time though one of my favorite things to do is go for a ride in the evening in hay country when the hay is down and getting ready to bale. When things are dry and the hay is has been cut the drying process creates an aroma in the air that is truly fantastic and never forgotten!


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