Most horse owners prefer to bring their own hay when they travel. Using hay from a source they are familiar with means the quality is up to their expectations. The consistency of feeding from the same supply also means the horses are well-adjusted to what they’re eating on the road. However, for lengthy stays or for excursions with a lot of horses, it’s not always possible to pack enough.
“I always try to bring as much of my own hay as possible,” said Erin Zaorski, who owns Bright Star Farm in Layton, New Jersey. “When that’s not possible, the show facility usually supplies the same quality of hay you can get at home, so it doesn’t effect the horses in a negative way.”
When you're headed out of town and know you’ll need hay, contact other horse owners in the area where you’re headed. Ask where they buy their hay and ask about the quality. This feedback narrows down the options. When you’re trying someone new, don’t hesitate to inspect the hay before buying. Leverage the power of social media and put a post out asking for recommendations on good-quality hay before you run out.
By planning ahead, you can avoid running out or buying an inferior quality hay.
If choose not to buy hay at an event or you run out unexpectedly, feed supply stores can be another source for hay. Family or locally owned shops will likely have relationships with local hay growers. Some stores sell bagged hay that is chopped and blended into a portable forage. This forage usually comes with a guaranteed analysis.
Traveling in itself can be stressful on you and your horse. Providing enough forage keeps them performing at their best and makes them better prepared to adjust to a new environment. Always make sure they have enough fresh water to process the fiber to ensure their gastrointestinal system is working as it should.