In planning for breeding in early spring, I brought my brood mare, Gretta, into the horse barn to be stalled under cycling lights. She can be a rather finicky eater and was not interested in even drinking out of the automatic watering bowl in her stall. I remembered seeing Purina’s Hydration Hay at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in October and thought it was an excellent idea! So, why not give it a try to encourage the mare’s water intake and prevent possible dehydration, which can lead to colic. I was skeptical at first because I am not a fan of alfalfa cubes. They do not dissolve well, which increases the chance of a solid cube becoming stuck in the horse’s throat if not soaked properly and the quality of the cube forage is sometimes questionable.
As I opened the Purina Hydration Hay package, I was impressed with the quality (compressed alfalfa, orchard & timothy grass) and the appealing aroma (good hay products will have that good, fresh smell) and in a convenient 2 lb. block! For the first try, I just used half a block, allowed it to soak in warm water for five minutes, then added more water to make a very thin drinkable “slurpy”. The block absorbed water quickly, a quick stir, and then I hung the 3-gallon bucket in her stall. Gretta walked away from her grain and slurped and slobbered away; totally enjoying the great hay mixtures and drinking all-important quantities of water. All total, she drank about three gallons that night! The bucket was licked clean the next morning!! Needless to say, I went back the next day to my local feed store and purchased the 12-pack of the Hydration Hay.
I do a lot of traveling with my horses and once in a while…in a new environment and different water, a horse may be reluctant to drink. Now, I think I will carry a few “blocks” in my horse trailer. When you think about the price, it’s about $2 per block. I consider it a minimal investment to help ensure adequate hydration. Not only do my horses love the taste and “drink” it up, but the bricks are light and easy to travel with; unlike 50 lb. bags of alfalfa cubes. A zip lock bag is the perfect container. Purina Hydration Hay is a great product and my horses love it! Thanks Purina, you did it again!!
Written by Cheryl Dunkley, Oak Bluff Ranch, Weatherford, TX