I took a quick look at the hay analyses for this year. Overall, my choice would be the West Field hay as it has ESC + Starch of 4.3 +1.9 = 6.2. Protein is 8.5, iron is higher than needed but certainly workable, calcium is also high. The other two hays have much higher protein, even higher calcium and iron. The ADF/NDF of the West Field sample is higher than the other two so probably it's a bit more mature hay.
We don't recommend only feeding 2 "meals" per day. The recommendation would be to take the total amount of hay for the day and split it into 3-4 feedings so that he never goes more than 6 hours without food. Using the small mesh hay nets is good - some horses need to have those doubled or even tripled to slow them down enough (I have one of those). With the new hays being lower in s/s than last year's hay you may be able to allow him to free feed without gaining excess weight. Another idea would be to soak the hay to lower the s/s further so it would be less calorie dense and he could eat more for gut fill time.
I agree that the stress of not eating is something you need to avoid so for the week until the test I would stick with the free feeding routine and work on the weight reduction/total amount eaten reduction after the blood work is pulled. Fasting and stress will negatively affect your blood work results so you want to avoid that.
Lavinia, Dante, George Too and Peanut
Jan 05, RI
EC Support Team