Alfalfa has been fed to horses for over 2000 years. The cavalries of Greece, Persia and Romans relied heavily on alfalfa to keep their horses in prime condition for battle. Alfalfa is a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. As such it has a high feed value.
A horse’s need for protein is relatively low and is easy to meet with alfalfa. Alfalfa contains between 15 – 22% crude protein. With the exception of milking mares, most 66- to 122- pound horses need from ¾ to 1 pound of digestible protein daily. Feeding alfalfa hay as half of a horse’s roughage will meet this need. Though some rely on supplements, they can have a laxative effect. High quality alfalfa hay supplied by Anderson provides an excellent and safe supply of protein.
When combined with Timothy Hay as the other half of their daily roughage, horses will thrive. Horses, especially race horses, need trace minerals in order to avoid skeletal distress. Strong, long-lived horses have their trace minerals supplied in a good feeding program which includes alfalfa. One of the most important characteristics of alfalfa is its high nutritional quality as animal feed.
Alfalfa is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The USDA reports that alfalfa contains vitamins A, D, E, K, U, C, B1, B2, B6, B12, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Inositol, Biotin, and Folic acid. Alfalfa also contains the minerals Phosphorus, Calcium, Potassium, sodium, Chlorine, Sulfur, Magnesium, copper, manganese, Iron, Cobalt, Boron and Molybdenum and trace elements such as Nickel, Lead, Strontium and Palladium. Horses receiving good quality alfalfa in their daily feed ration will receive the vitamins they need.
In addition to being a tasty option for horses, the nutritional value of alfalfa cannot be matched. Alfalfa’s long standing use as safe, quality feed for horses has kept it in stables for thousands of years.