How we got started
We have made hay for many years for our own horses and ponies. As long as we had enough home produced hay, then it was possible to control laminitis in our Welsh Section A pony. If we ran out and had to buy in hay, then he would get laminitis. It made no difference if we bought Timothy hay or meadow hay or how long we soaked it. The result was always the same – another bout of laminitis. During that time, we tried just about every type of bagged feed and supplement recommended for laminitics but nothing helped. Sometimes they even made matters worse.
In trying to understand what was going on, we realised that the type of grasses and the way they were managed was crucial to producing hay that did not trigger laminitis. The result is the hay we now sell commercially under the feetfirstTM hay brand.
Our Farming Strategy
We have committed all the land at our small family farm to producing feetfirstTM hay. We don’t produce any other crops so we are totally focussed on producing the right quality hay for the feetfirstTM hay brand. We take great pride in our hay which we make ourselves to our own specification.
Achieving our target quality is our priority rather than maximising yields. This means we can only take one cut of grass per year instead of the usual 2 or 3 cuts from more productive agricultural grasses such as ryegrass.
We do not include ryegrass or clover in our feetfirstTM hay as we believe they are too high in sugar, carbohydrates and protein for anything other than very hard working animals.
We do not make haylage because we believe that feetfirstTM hay is more suitable for most horses and ponies due to the lower protein content.
We always manage the grassland with equine requirements in mind. As well as choosing the right grasses, we tailor the fertiliser applications accordingly and will only apply herbicides if necessary.
We have invested in our own haymaking equipment rather than relying on contractors. This puts us in control of the grassland management and the haymaking process from start to finish, helping us make the quality we insist upon.