John O'Leary


  • Buy direct from the farmer and save heaps. Pool with your friends to do it or have a farmer deliver a truck load and share it amongst your friends. All cereal and Lucerne hay should be purchased like this.
  • Watch out for moldy hay. Get in there and sniff it. Never buy hay until you have a few sample bales that you have tried out on your horses. Horses are the best judges of feed. Only then order the truck load.
  • Make sure the grain is still in the heads on the hay and preferably still be showing slight green in color.
  • Don't buy hay that grew too tall and that the stalks have become thick and rank. Horses hate it.
  • Horses love oaten hay, not so much wheaten.
  • The talk that oaten hay heats your horses up is an old wives tale. Locking horses up, over rugged and with not enough riding heats horses up. Straight oats does not either.
  • Make sure chooks have not slept in the hay stack where your hay comes from. Horses hate it.
  • Make sure the hay stack is not mice infested. Horses hate that.
  • Chaff is just hay cut up.
  • Conditioned hay, that which has been put through rollers is by far the best as the horses eat every straw of it. That lowers the price as wastage is eliminated.
  • Round bales should weigh around 400kg minimum. This is the most cost effective way to feed your horses and is around 6 times as cheap as buying small squares. They unroll easily in your shed but if fed out in the paddock they must have a hay rack so that the horses cannot destroy the bale quickly, tread it into the mud or urinate on it. Heavy rain on an opened round bale will cause it to be destroyed and possibly kill horses through mould causing colic. Best kept under a shed.

If you buy hay from right in or near the City there is a way bigger chance of getting ripped off. There is a high degree of chance of over priced, poor quality hay and normally drastically reduced in weight, coming from Italians. Sounds Racist but dead true!! I have never purchased hay in my entire life, that when sold to me by an Italian/Australian, that they haven't scammed me in one way or another. Twice last week as my supplier had run out and I was just trying to make it through to new seasons hay.

  • Check through your hay for weeds, weed seeds and weed flowers.
  • If your horse ever swells up around the mouth, lips and nostrils and you are feeding Lucerne there is a chance it has a reaction to anti- mould agents that have been sprayed onto the crop by the farmer. Get the Vet quick.


Horses hate hay that smells of mice. Here is the little known trick that will save your hay stack. Beneath and between each layer of bales of hay, throw copious amounts of course salt down as if you were feeding the chooks wheat. This stops mice and improves the sweetness and palatability of the hay enormously. Buy the salt at the Industrial suppliers' for around $3 for 25 kg. I once opened a hay stack of sheaved hay that had been through 40 years and many mice plagues. No damage and some of the best hay I have seen.


If you purchase hay from a hay stack where chooks/poultry have been, your horses will not eat it and you will have wasted all of your money, time and effort.


  • Buy barley in the 40kg bag. Place one kilo in a medium saucepan, almost fill with water, bring to boil, turn off and go to bed. Next morning, mix a little molasses in some extra water and replenish the barley. Feeds three horses and has a wonderful affect upon them.
  • Rice Pollard is a better fattener than normal pollard. Introduce over a week, starting with a cup full and end with a kilo. Mix in other hard feed and dampen before feeding. Warning! Do not introduce quickly as it can cause diet through a drastic feeding change.



Horse Problems Australia,
Post Office Box 89,
Surrey Downs, SA. 5126.
PH. (61) 0882515250