Providing Dinner Through the WinterBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 17, 2010
How much hay do you need to buy to get your horses safely through the winter months? To find an answer, you need to know each horse's approximate weight and also the number of days you will have to provide hay.
Suppose you plan to start giving hay when the grass dies back, maybe in early November, and will continue to offer hay through mid-April although some grass will begin to grow before that date. That's about 165 days.
If you can't weigh your horses and don't have access to a weight tape, you can use the figure of around 1000 to 1200 pounds per average-sized adult horse. Allowing about 2% of the horse's body weight in hay per day, or about 22 pounds, multiply that number by 165 days and divide by 2000 to see the number in tons.
You would need about 1.8 tons of hay per horse…but for peace of mind, get about 2 tons so you have a little extra for unexpected bad weather, a late spring, or other crises.