Timothy Hay For Horses: With Nutritional Value

Is providing the best nutrition to the horses your main concern? Well, it should be if it’s not already. Alfalfa, Kentucky Bluegrass, Timothy, and Orchard grasses are the few types of grass that the horses often graze on. It’s pretty normal to get confused when there are a bunch of options.

In this post and a few future posts, we would be discussing the few popular hay options with our fellow horse enthusiasts.

Since the post is going to be all about high fiber timothy hay, we would be enlightening our readers. Why should they feed timothy hay? What nutrients does it have? And how are they beneficial for the horses?

Why Timothy Hay?

Well, the nutrients and the flavor are not the only reasons why it is so immensely demanded. Timothy hay got the horse enthusiast’s approval because it promotes good digestion, bowel regularity, and a healthy weight.

As per the experts, timothy hay flake is extremely safe and healthy for protein-sensitive, colic prone, obese, and horses suffering from a deadly disease called laminitis.

Timothy hay is all rewarding, besides supplying all the nutrients in the right proportion it should also be considered because timothy hay encourages the horse to chew more.

Other than protein-sensitive, colic prone, and obese horses, timothy hay is immensely healthy for racehorses as well

Yes, the most pampered horses in the world are surviving on timothy hay. Timothy hay should be mold-free.

According to research, Timothy hay is preferred over Alfalfa because the amount of fiber timothy hay gets fermented in the gut and it provides enough energy to the horse to go through a high-demanding day.

It is made available to racehorses for these four worth-mentioning reasons as well;

  • Nutrients
  • Quick digestion
  • It prevents
  • Colic
  • Gastric ulcers

What Nutrients Does Timothy Hay Have?

Timothy hay never goes out of the demand for several legitimate reasons. The vitamins and minerals timothy hay contains also list it as one of the best hay for horses. The nutrients timothy hay contains are;

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium


A balanced amount of protein is the one of reasons why timothy hay is immensely demanded horse feed.

Timothy hay, soya beans, tick beans, seed meals, sunflowers, and canola are often recommended by the vets to fulfill the horse’s protein needs.

On average, a healthy mature horse weighing around 1100 lbs needs about 1.4 lb of protein for light work, maintenance, and pregnancy and training period.

Timothy hay knows the horse protein needs like no other option, this balanced amount of protein makes it recognized as the best hay for horses. Make sure its per acre hay fertilizer is according to recommendations and in a safe amount.

Protein deficiency is quite common in horses, it leads to flagging stamina, poor coat condition, and inappropriate hoof growth.

Other than improving the horse’s condition, it is required for various important functions in the horse’s body, it is needed to provide structure, maintenance of body tissues, minimize pH fluctuations, and transport nutrients to the bloodstream and across the cell membrane. Moreover, it also improves the horse’s muscles, hair, and hooves.



Fiber is considered the most important component of the said animal’s diet, without consuming adequate amounts of fiber every day the horse’s digestive tract may never be able to function properly.

It might not be as high in fiber as Alfalfa hay but still, timothy hay is considered the second great source of fiber for horses.

Even the timothy hay overdose is not harmful, the high fiber dose, balanced protein, and high energy content make it easily digestible.

It must be noted here, the horse’s high fiber need can only be filled with hay, haylage, and grass. So, if Alfalfa grass can not be arranged, timothy hay would be a fine option.

In simpler words, fiber is needed by horses to function normally. It keeps the horse sane by providing energy and keeping the gastrointestinal tract full.


Calcium and phosphorus are the two nutrients that horses can not live without.

The inadequate calcium supply would impact each function in the horse’s body, including blood flow and the ability to chew food. So, the hay needs to have adequate calcium to meet the horse’s demands.

Calcium and other minerals(Phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chlorine, and sulfur) are needed for proper bone and teeth formation.

A mature healthy horse requires 20 grams of calcium every day for muscle contraction, enzyme regulation, and blood clotting.


Oats, corn, and barley are taken as high Phosphorus, low calcium horse feed, timothy hay contains a moderate amount of both minerals.

The percentage of phosphorus and calcium get timothy hay recognized as the best alternative to Alfalfa hay.

The balanced amount of phosphorus is not just demanded bone and skeletal health but for cell integrity, glucose use, and the regulation of muscle and heart contraction.

Phosphorus deficiency is quite common in lactating, performing, and growing horses. Timothy hay would be a fine option for horses in these critical stages.


Stress and strenuous exercise are Integral parts of a horse’s life. Stress, high-demanding training, and frequent strenuous exercise make horses lose magnesium in sweat and urine. This rough and tough lifestyle can easily get horses magnesium deficient.

The common signs of magnesium deficiency are muscle tremors, incoordination, and nervousness. Magnesium overdose is equally deadly as it shuts down cardiac function.

Timothy hay contains a moderate amount of magnesium that would not do any harm. An adequate amount of magnesium improves muscle function, nerve transmission, enzyme activity, and muscle tissue recovery.

In brief, timothy, despite being expensive, remains the most demanded hay for horses. It contains a balanced amount of protein and a noticeable amount of fiber, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

The racehorses and the overly pampered horses have often seen grazing at timothy hay because it prevents colic, gastric ulcers promote quick digestion, and have all the essentials nutrients horse needs to live a balanced life. Though timothy hay is harmless for horses of all ages it is the healthiest option for protein-sensitive, colic prone, obese, and horses suffering from laminitis. If all these reasons are not enough to consider timothy hay? What would be?


Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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