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Feeding clover to your horse

Quick facts

  • Clover’s energy, protein and fiber content make it a good feed source for horses.
  • Moldy clover can cause slobbers, liver damage and bleeding in horses.
  • Mold grows when the temperature is above 80 F and the humidity is above 60 percent.
  • Bleeding only happens in horses eating moldy sweet clover hay.
  • Red, white, alsike and sweet clovers commonly grow throughout the United States.
  • Many horse owners use clover in pasture and hay mixes.
  • Transportation departments also use clover for ditches and roadways.
horse with slobbers
Horse with slobbers

Feeding clover to horses

Clover can be a good feed source for most horses because it provides useful energy and adequate protein and fiber. You can use clover in hay or pastures.

Clovers can sometimes mold, which causes slobbers, photosensitivity (reactive to light) and bleeding. These conditions can occur after horses eat affected clover either fresh or as hay.

Even with the chance of these problems, clover is still a useful forage for horses.

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Krishona Martinson, Extension equine specialist; Mike Murphy and Lynn Hovda

Reviewed in 2018

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