Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Saturday, October 23, 2010

At the barn #24 - Hay Fever

So - a month ago, I bought thirty five bales of hay to get me through the winter. Pennsylvania orchard grass. Great big bales - still fairly green. Very very heavy bales. Loading and stacking this hay (by myself) completely wore me out. And it wasn't cheap.

I should have known something was up. When Val, the equine vacuum cleaner, did his taste test he was ambivalent about it. At the time I thought it could be flavor shock as he had been eating a tasty rye mix for a while.

This week we were nearly finished with the sugar hay - decision time... I got cold feet. I asked around and did some research, but was still confounded.

The facts:
The PA hay let out a poof, had an objectionable smell, was really heavy, and my horse wasn't super excited about it. When I originally went to pick the hay up, the bales were stored still strapped into even larger bales, not conducive to air circulation. I didn't see any active mold, but the poof was suspicious. Smoky, light, floating dust... and I hated the smell (chemical-ish). I wondered if it could be the hay drying agent (propionic acid / sodium diacetate). An article in claims that hay preservatives are safe.

Back at the ranch... I heard that someone else returned some of this hay for mold. One of the bales I broke open was warm in the middle, so I called a horse friend (not as picky as me) to weigh in. She thought the hay was fine although it smelled funny. She bought it from me for a thirty percent discount. Am I crazy?

Most of today was spent driving (six hours round trip) to a different hay man's farm. He had a beautiful just baled orchard mix for a decent price. Now there's enough hay to last through mid February. Trying not to dwell on the lost money, time etc. Nothing's to good for my guy ;)


Friday made four rides in seven days. Each ride improving on the last. We're going to try working in the newer (non-fenced) arena tomorrow.

He's a goofball, but he's my goofball :)


  1. He's not a goofball, he's adorable with a lot of character!

    Too bad about the hay, it's happened to us too. Live and learn. We used to have tractor trailer loads delivered to the farm we were renting(when we had a small business). Some from Canada, some from upstate N.Y.and who knows where else. It got to the point where my daughter would climb into the back of the trailer to inspect it, there were some trucks that were sent back full. You really have to be obnoxious/vigilant?at times. Glad you got a nice local hay for the winter anyway.

  2. Arlene-

    From here on out, I'm going with my gut... I should never have taken that hay - I knew better. And no more brokered hay either. :)

  3. Finding good hay is a challenge sometimes - glad you were able to get something you like (and that Val likes!)... one of my favorite things when we used square bales was having them all stacked and ready to feed - there was always something so comforting about knowing we were stocked up.

  4. Well, you were right the first time about it...and the next time, there will be no waste of time money or energy! I'm with ya...nothings too good..hence my saddle quest!

    You may take that photo.I appreciate you asking! That was the watery surf below Wa mare and me,of the Oregon coast.

    Glad you have great hay for winter. I bought my 35 bales of Timothy back, when I moved recently. I like her to have variety.She gets some really rich Orchard at the new place...thought it wise to mix it up.

  5. Billie-

    When I finished stacking the last bale in my little hay barn - I did stare at it for a while savoring the satisfaction lol :)

  6. Kacy-

    Thank you so much for the picture. I love it. Val hasn't ventured close enough to the water for me to take a similar one.

    Wishing you the best on your saddle search. I'm still on the fence about mine - hoping it feels good to my guy.

  7. Good for you for going with your gut and getting good hay. We've fed hay I wasn't crazy about, but wasn't bad. The last lot we got was the best we've ever had and now I know I'll be spoiled. It was sweet smelling and fresh and the horses loved it.
    Sounds like your riding is going really well - Yeah!

  8. Very good move getting rid of that hay. If it's HOT when you open it, it's already molding. If the bales are unusually heavy, it's still wet and will mold.

    I wish I only needed 35 bales to get me through the winter! I'm sitting at about 160 bales of some of the most excellent hay I've ever had and HOPING it gets me through the winter! Dang hay burners...:D

  9. Hi Jenn-

    Weirdly there was no active mold, and the bales were warm but not hot...I had had it for about a month but not fed it yet.

    I keep thinking that the objectionable things about this hay had to do with the drying agent. At any rate, I got rid of it - couldn't deal with the stress.

    I can't imagine having to supply more than one hay burner at this point, although I know it will happen one day lol.


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