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Discussion on Is clover ok for horses?

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Tamara
Member
Username: Winger

Post Number: 18
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Friday, Oct 14, 2005 - 11:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi there I'm just wondering how safe it is to feed some clover to horses.Some people worry about it being too rich leading to colic.I think it's comparable to alfalfa but I don't know much about clover.What are your thoughts.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13912
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Oct 15, 2005 - 10:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Clover is a legume also, so very similar to alfalfa. Like any foodstuff a significant change in diet should be made slowly and with regard to the horses condition and how well the nutritional content of the feedstuff fits into the total diet. Clover can cause horses to slobber but otherwise makes a good protein and calcium rich forage. For details on how legumes fit into a horses diet see, Care for Horses » Nutrition » Overview of Nutrition.
DrO
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Karen Nolte
Member
Username: Morg1

Post Number: 63
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, Oct 15, 2005 - 10:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Are you feeding it in hay or on pasture? I depends how much is on the pasture or in the hay. If it's in the hay make sure that it's not moldy. Clover is difficult to dry properly, and may have mold. Some clover will cause slobbers in the horses. Alsike clover causes photosensitivity in horses. It may even cause colic, depression or excitment, and diarrhea. The liver can also be affected. Red clover can cause some of the same things. A field that is thick with red clover can cause the horse to have excessive salivation, bloating, stiffness, diarrhea, blindness, and cause abortion. The horses may also founder. I received the information about these two clovers from "Horse Owners Field Guide to Toxic Plants" by Sandra M. Burger.
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Karen Nolte
Member
Username: Morg1

Post Number: 64
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, Oct 15, 2005 - 10:30 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oops I was writing the same time DrO was.
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Shelley
Member
Username: Sswiley

Post Number: 66
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Saturday, Oct 15, 2005 - 7:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

OK, so I have never heard of the "slobbers". Can someone explain what it is?
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Karen Nolte
Member
Username: Morg1

Post Number: 66
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, Oct 15, 2005 - 7:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry, it's just another term for excessive salivation.
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MICHAEL TUREK
Member
Username: Kelsey

Post Number: 2
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 2:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 2 1/2 year old quarterhorse cross, geld. He is in good health. Recently he has been eating sumac leaves (we used to call it poison sumac as kids). There are quite a few sumac trees around the pasture. I haven't seen any problems, but just wondering if this is bad. Also, the trees have always been there and he never used to eat them, it's just been recently but not that often. He gets grain twice a day (about 7 lbs total) and all the hay he wants. What problems, if any, can result from sumac if he eats the leaves occasionally?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Mike T
Kelsey (Member)
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Karen Nolte
Member
Username: Morg1

Post Number: 68
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 4:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I couldn't find anything in my toxic plants book on poison sumac, so unless it has another name I guess that it's ok for him to eat.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 935
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 5:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think it's the berries that are poisonous; or at the least cause stomach upset in people.

CSU (Colorado State University has a great poisonous plant site you might check.
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 287
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 7:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I frost seed my pastures with clover every other year in the spring. It's a biannual here in MI. It's the main forage my horses graze on. I have some orchard grass, timothy and fescue too in the pastures.

I was told horses don't like dry clover, as in bales, because the stems are "hairy".
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13922
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Oct 17, 2005 - 8:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Much of our hay here has some clover and I have never noticed a decreased appetite for it. If there is a lot of it, it can be hard to hay because of all the moisture it holds however.
DrO
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Sue G
Member
Username: Warwick

Post Number: 202
Registered: 4-2002
Posted on Monday, Oct 17, 2005 - 12:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

When I lived in Australia, I noticed that a lot of horses were fed straight clover hay. It caught me off-guard initially as it was the most dreadful looking stuff compared to what I was used to seeing here in North America - practically black - but the horses certainly enjoyed it and with no ill effects.
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Judith L Gordon
Member
Username: Jgordo03

Post Number: 22
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Monday, Oct 17, 2005 - 3:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

On our farm we grow brome. And in place of alfalfa we grow and feed Lespedeza which is a type of clover that comes from Korea. In my reading it says that lespedeza hay is only slightly less valuable than alfalfa. It's pretty dark and doesn't look anything like the white or red clover most people think about. Does anyone else us Lespedeza or ever heard of it?
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 941
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Oct 17, 2005 - 4:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've read about Lespedeza, but have never known anyone that fed it. Do you live in the So. East US? Do others in your area use it?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13932
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 - 7:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lespedeza is covered in our article on "Nutritional Content of Popular Feedstuffs". Though as Judith states it is almost as nutritional as alfalfa, it does not stand traffic well as a pasture forage and is very difficult to bale properly as the difference between too much moisture and molding and too dry and all the leaves fracturing during handling is very small.
DrO
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Shelley
Member
Username: Sswiley

Post Number: 72
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 - 10:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Still, . . . .Why does clover make them slobber ? Does it irritate their mouth or is it just so yummy that they are actually drooling.
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Judith L Gordon
Member
Username: Jgordo03

Post Number: 23
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 - 11:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sara,
I live in Missouri, south of Kansas City. We grow and bale the Lespedeza ourselves. So we can control the timing to bale it properly. We sell it to a couple of other people around the area that like it. What I like about it compared to Alfalfa is in our part of the country alfalfa has to be sprayed for blister beetles and other insects while Lespedeza is basically care free, so it costs about half as much as alfalfa to use. I agree with Dr O. I can control what I'm growing and how it is processed, if you find someone who grows it and you want to try it make sure the leaf is in tact and it isn't moldy and handle it as carefully as possible. As to why clover makes horses slobber the clovers, produce slaframine which is known as the "slobber factor." Slaframine will make horses salivate profusely
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Shelley
Member
Username: Sswiley

Post Number: 73
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 - 12:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Judith,
Dang, I learn something new everyday around here. . .(just hope you guys aren't pulling my leg . . salframine .?)
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Pam Sargent
New Member
Username: Sargent

Post Number: 4
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 - 12:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Last year, our hay field was full of yellow clover. It was a really wet year, if that has anything to do with it. (We had no yellow clover this year). I was concerned about this so I called our regional agrologist. She told me yellow clover is okay, just need to watch for mold as it has a tendency not to dry enough before baling. As well, if you keep it for more than a year, the yellow clover may get a bitter taste to it. I've been told white clover can be toxic. We don't have a lot of red clover in our area, so I'm not familiar with that. Anyway, the hay with the yellow clover was dusty but not moldy and the horses seemed to like it and had no ill effects from it. Hope this helps.
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Judith L Gordon
Member
Username: Jgordo03

Post Number: 24
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 - 2:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shelley/Pam,
Alsike cover is the clover I believe is considered posion. Alsike clover flowers are usually pink and white in color. It causes photosensitization and big liver syndrome. The yellow clover your talking about sounds like birdsfoot trefoil.
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Karen Nolte
Member
Username: Morg1

Post Number: 71
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 - 10:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No Judith isn't pulling your leg. This is a quote from Horse Owners Field Guide to Toxic Plants, "If the clover in hay becomes damp, causing it to become moldy (brown spots on the leaves), a fungal toxin, slaframine, is produced, which induces severe salivation, or slobbering." "Red clover poisoning causes salivation within 30 minutes of ingestion."
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13936
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 19, 2005 - 6:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

As you should have guessed we have an article, Equine Diseases » Colic and GI Diseases » Mouth, Esophagus, and Liver » Slobbering, Salivation, and Clover Poisoning. Alsike clover poisoning is a different toxin that effects the liver and can be found at, Equine Diseases » Colic and GI Diseases » Mouth, Esophagus, and Liver » Plant Poisoning and the Liver: Hepatotoxicty.
DrO
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Kimber Love
New Member
Username: mytonka

Post Number: 1
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Thursday, Jul 17, 2008 - 2:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have just recently brought my horse to my own place. We have over two acres for him. However, the majority of the area has white and red clover. I thought clover was good for horses but after all I've read, I'm confuses. He seems to really like it and I haven't noticed anything different. Is it ok for him to eat? }}
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 2426
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Thursday, Jul 17, 2008 - 5:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Kimber, my horses pasture is nearly all clover this yr. Other than excessive drooling they seem to be doing fine.

A lot of clover tends to scare me if the horse is obese or prone to founder...but that's just my experience.
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Fran C
Member
Username: canter

Post Number: 1571
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jul 18, 2008 - 7:18 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My mare loves clover. It is scattered throughout the pastures - not a lot, but there are bunches of it here and there. When I hand graze out in the open fields, she seems to go for the clover first. I've never had any issues, not even the drooling.
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Shelley
Member
Username: sswiley

Post Number: 394
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Friday, Jul 18, 2008 - 9:18 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I get a rash of clover every spring.
They definitely get gassy and sometimes visibly bloated by it. Never actual colic but I am sure if they ate enough they could get quite uncomfortable.
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Kimber Love
New Member
Username: mytonka

Post Number: 2
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Friday, Jul 18, 2008 - 2:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Aside from the grazing, I'm curious what others feed their horses. He came from a place that he was only fed hay and very occasionally, cracked corn. I read that it's not necessary to give feed of any kind, as long as you give them a supplement. Thoughts?
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Fran C
Member
Username: canter

Post Number: 1574
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jul 18, 2008 - 4:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think it somewhat depends on the horse and what it is doing / how hard it is working. For example, my mare, in pretty rigorous training, gets free access pasture (decent quality for this time of year), quality hay, and Strategy. I supplement only with HB15 (for hooves) and Cosequin. Another horse at the barn, a TB, in almost no work, is a difficult keeper. So, she gets the pasture, hay, a complete pelleted feed mixed with Calf Manna to up her weight. One of the horses can live on air, and is constantly chubby...his diet is designed to get the weight slowly off him, although that has been a difficult task (mostly because the owner gives him an extra meal whenever she comes out)...Review the articles here on HA r.e. Diet & Nutrition and I think you will have the knowledge to give your horse a well balanced diet.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 21056
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jul 21, 2008 - 8:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Kimber,
You will find our straight forward recommendations on feeding horses at Horse Care » Equine Nutrition, Horse Feeds, Feeding » Equine Nutrition an Overview of Feeding Horses. You will also find a introduction to clover and legumes in the horses diet in that article but for an extended discourse on clover and other legumes in the diet of horses see, Horse Care » Equine Nutrition, Horse Feeds, Feeding » Forages for Horses, an Overview.
DrO
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Maria Staresinic
New Member
Username: fourstar

Post Number: 1
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008 - 8:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Everyone, this is my first posting, but I had to ask for a little more guidance about alsike clover. We are in the process of preparing our 10 acres for two horses. Which we do not have yet, so no diet history. We have tons of clover, and I, too, always thought horses and clover went together. Do we try to eradicate it? And how would we best do that?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 21274
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Aug 28, 2008 - 6:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Welcome Maria,
Alsike clover should not be used in horse pasture but that is not true of other types.
We just put up a new article that covers your question perfectly. You will find the answer to your question at, Horse Care » Equine Nutrition, Horse Feeds, Feeding » Alfalfa, Clover: Legumes in the Horse's Diet.
DrO
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