Friday, January 18, 2013

Hydration Hay is now available and we can finally talk about it!

Hydration Hay Package, Block and Fully Soaked

When I show customers the Hydration Hay for the first time, I joke that this product is worth 7 years of my life. When I joined Purina in 2005, they were already working on a similar project that involved compressed hay blocks that could potentially slow down intake time and reduce glucose and insulin response to feeding. At the time, we worked with a company that made custom, handmade machinery for the compression and research trials were underway. In that process, we learned that A) horses found ways to eat the dry, compressed blocks more quickly than expected (picking them up with their mouths, dropping hayblocks on the ground, crushing them with their hoof and then eating the pieces) and B) our manufacturers were not able to keep up with the projected demand for the product. So we kept going back to the drawing board and the hayblocks even went back on the research shelf for short while until we figured out our next steps.

We started working on the hayblocks again and with a new supplier and manufacturer, we discovered through field trial testing how quickly each hayblock absorbed a substantial amount of water. When the hay was chopped and compressed a certain way, each block could soak up 5 times its weight in water and horses absolutely loved the hydrated hay block. Voila! Hydration Hay was born. From there, we began a series of manufacturing trials and horse research trials to determine formulation, manufacturing specs, animal response, uses and horse and customer preferences. We are proud to say we have a patent pending on the soaking technology and the uses we have found for the Hydration Hay continue to grow. Here are some of the best ways we have found to use Hydration Hay:

• For horses that are poor drinkers or need rehydration- each block soaks up over a gallon of water and can be fed in one meal. Therefore, each hydration hayblock your horse consumes helps to get 10lbs of water into the horse!

• Put them in front of horses on the trailer or airplane when they are traveling. We all know it is difficult to get horses to drink well during transport. Once they are used to eating Hydration Hay, most horses will eat it on the road as well, getting good quality fiber + water into them as they rack up the miles.

• Use the Hydration Hay to mask medications, supplements, dewormer, etc. Due to the palatability and large volume of feed made once the water is added, you can “hide” a lot of items in Hydration Hay that your horse may pick out of his feed. We have fed NSAIDS, antibiotics, supplements and even double dose dewormer to horses in Hydration Hay and they ate every bite!

• Hydration Hay is good for horses that require good quality fiber and water that needs to be introduced in a slow, measured way for a sensitive gastrointestinal tract. So, for horses being reintroduced to feedstuffs after surgery, horses on stall rest, horses with medical conditions, horses that have lost their appetite, etc. Hydration Hay can be an excellent tool for getting horses back on feedstuffs and especially hay. * Always work with your veterinarian for any type of medical condition that may be affecting your horse.

• Hydration Hay is also a great way to give your horse a “mash” while getting water into them and keeping the diet more consistent. I am not a fan of the weekly bran mash to keep horses “regular.” While they typically won’t hurt your horse, studies have shown that they do not have a laxative effect, cannot prevent colic and bran mashing typically represents a drastic change from what the horse is used to eating. Hydration Hay can be mixed with your regular concentrate ration and is more consistent as most horses are already on a hay product.  Hydration hay also provides even more water to the horse than a bran mash.

• We have found that Hydration Hay soaks up more water than beet pulp or alfalfa cubes. So if you are thinking, I already get water and fiber into my horse with these other methods, Hydration Hay takes it to the next level.

In the end, I am extremely proud of our work to develop Hydration Hay and provide a product and solution to horse owners. I encourage you to visit our website at and get a $10 off coupon towards your purchase of Hydration Hay. Once you try it, I know you will find many uses for it and keep your horses happier and healthier as a result!


  1. This is amazing. It would be perfect for my son's older mare. Is it available in Canada as well?

  2. We love this new product at Paws Ranch Equine Rescue. Makes feeding much easier for our volunteers...Our horses love it!

  3. I'm sorry but this product is not available in Canada at this time.

    Delores- we are glad to hear how you love this new product at Paws Ranch Equine Rescue- thanks for the feedback!

  4. I love this product! Hydration Hay saved my old horse's life. He is 30, in great health other than his teeth which have little to no surface left. He cannot eat regular hay any longer so I have to have his hay chopped up. I had been using a bagged grass forage but it did not absorb water very well and was still too large for him to chew. Then the cold Ohio temps came and my old horse stopped drinking water. You guessed it; compaction colic! We were ready to have him put down. I tried flavoring his water with everything he likes. I tried a product that endurance people use and swear by, he wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. I made a bran mash, he wouldn't touch it. We dealt with colics for three weeks. By that time Hydration Hay was available at my feed mill. Although pricey, I was ready to try anything so I bought a package of blocks. The blocks absorb the water within 15 minutes and it was met with great enthusiasm. He has recovered almost completely now and is once again eating his soaked senior grain with a chaser of hay soup. He loves it! Thank you Purina and Mary Beth Gordon, Ph.D for developing Hydration Hay. You surely did save my 30 year old horse's life! He's back to his spunky old self and is alpha once again.

  5. Jane- Thank you so much for this great comment! I am glad your old guy is doing well on Hydration Hay. Would you mind sending a message to the Purina Horse Facebook page with your contact information? We may be able to share your story with others so we can help more horses. Hydration Hay was certainly a labor of love for me, so it is wonderful to hear your successes with it.

  6. Can you tell me if this would be a good product for an IR horse with laminitis that needs low sugar content but an easily digestable forage due to the NSAIDs that he's on? Do you know the sugar content? He is currently getting soaked hay. This sounds like an amazing product.

  7. Hi Molly-

    This product is not specifically designed for IR horses with laminitis or horses with sensitivities to soluble carbohydrates. However, the finished blocks have tested approximately 1% starch, 12% WSC and 6% ESC. It is important to keep in mind that it is hay and that will be variable (especially since timothy and orchard grass are cool season grasses). We do not test the hay ingredients for sugar/starch prior to making the blocks.

    Further, as you are currently doing, soaking hay is recommended for carb intolerant horses – which includes pouring off the water. One of the main benefits of the Hydration Hay is that they soak up the water well resulting in an increase in the horse’s water intake. Pouring off the water (which is necessary to reduce the soluble carbs) can negate that benefit.

    If your are planning to use Hayblocks for hydration or to help with medication intake, the amount of soluble carbs provided by one 2-lb Hayblock is very low (approx. 32 g starch+ESC per lb Hayblock compared to 227 g starch+ESC per lb oats, for example). So it depends on your horse's sensitivity to soluble carbohydrates in the diet. The small amount of hay in each Hydration Hay block (2 lbs) and the relatively low sugar/starch content is well tolerated by many horses.

    Hope this helps and let us know if you have any other questions!

  8. I went an Equine Seminar, hosted by Purina and Quest, and the representative for Purina showed us all this product and it hadn't been put on the market yet. I think is perfect for long shows out in dry climates.


  10. Wonder if my one mare has the right idea when she takes a mouthful of hay and dunks it in her water as she eats? She is my only horse who does this. Her water is always stinky and it is a chore to keep dumping and replenishing. She must be instinctively trying to get more hydration??

  11. Thank you Purina and Mary Beth for Hydration Hay. My horse had colic surgery for obstruction colic, and my vet started Beau on it the second day and recommended I feed it regularly. It took him a while to get to like it (he's a little picky about new flavors) but now he eagerly awaits his morning and evening portions. This gives me some peace of mind that he now is ingesting water which he might have otherwise skipped. Hooray for 'HydraHay'!!!!