When needs differ
It goes without saying that a small, round Shetland pony cannot cope with being fed the same amount of energy as a large, fiery warmblood horse. So, what to do if the two are in the same paddock? You feed them roughage of as low a sugar and protein content as possible. According to Karl-Erik, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the production of quality straw fodder at Tronagergaard Straw, you obtain this from good, dry hay or wrap. He further states that, since dry straw fodder is well suited for herds with different requirements, the demand is considerable.
“Dry hay is a lean product which is excellent for ad libitum feeding,” Karl-Erik explains. Owing to the low sugar and protein content, practically any horse tolerates eating its fill in the paddock without its owner needs fear that the result will be a horse with an inflammatory condition or an overly pudgy horse. Thus, it is the absolutely optimal fodder for a paddock with different types of horses.
Kathrine is of the same opinion. More precisely, she emphasises that you should use a coarser type of roughage with moderate to low energy content. “This way you provide for the undemanding horses in a mixed group of horses. On the other hand, you should opt for an energy-rich roughage for e.g. the warmblood horse when it arrives in the horse pen, in order that it will have satisfactory energy for condition purposes and, perhaps, for practising” she adds. And, in fact, Karl-Erik absolutely agrees. “It is easier to add than remove energy,” he points out.
The optimal fodder for the paddock
For the same reason, Karl-Erik and Tronagergaard Straw have specialised in the production of high-quality straw fodder with differing energy content. Actually, they have an absolutely unique product which goes like hand in glove with herds consisting of both undemanding and energy-requiring horses. They have dubbed this “Kentucky-hay” since it is, practically, as dry as the hay you get in Kentucky. Thus, it is a lean straw fodder with a long shelf life – and it is even available as packed as well as just ordinary bales.
According to Karl-Erik, the clever thing about the packed solution is that it is easily given in the paddock without any wastage. And, contrary to wrap, the hay is dry and will not ferment in the packaging and, hence, it will keep a long time after opening. This facilitates feeding in the paddock from an entire minibig, even if your herd is rather small. If you cut off a few ‘muzzle-size’ openings in every corner of the packaging, the horses can munch off the hay for several hours without the risk that they will lay down in the hay, step in it – or worse.
Finally, Karl-Erik adds that you need not fear the dust that is naturally present in dry hay. First, because this dust is not dangerous and, secondly, the atmospheric humidity during winter is so high that it will curb the particles. If you are not satisfied with this, he suggest that you, quite classically, expose the hay to a quick hose over with the water hose. Without a doubt, you will then end up with the most optimal straw fodder for your paddock. Moreover, this hay is equally well suited for the warmblood horse, the Norwegian pony, the Arab, the Iceland pony or whichever kinds of horses you may have in your paddock.