Thehorse.com - Full Article
Learn more about alfalfa and whether or not this leafy green legume is a good choice for your horse.
By Heather Smith Thomas | Apr 9, 2018
How much do you really know about this leafy green legume?
In some areas of the country, alfalfa is a regular part of life. It’s readily available and commonly fed, so it’s a logical foundation for many horses’ diets. In other areas, it is a delicacy of sorts, shipped in from different regions and bought a bale at a time on a vet’s recommendation to help certain horses that need nutritional support. For some types of horses—in either of those areas—-alfalfa simply isn’t a great choice. And, so, that fragrant green bale comes loaded with nutrients and, for some horse owners, a multitude of misconceptions.
Whatever your alfalfa experience, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about this forage, starting with a little bit of history, and clear up any confusion about it.
Alfalfa Goes Way Back
Forage for horses can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes. Grasses you’re likely familiar with include orchardgrass, timothy, and bermudagrass and are long and stemmy. Forage legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, are members of the pea family and, so, are cousins of peanuts and garbanzo beans.
“Alfalfa is a perennial legume, grown in most regions of the U.S. for horses and other livestock,” says Krishona Martinson, PhD, associate professor and equine extension specialist in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Animal Science, in Falcon Heights...
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