Must Hay Cubes Be Soaked in Water Before Feeding?
Hay cubes can be fed wet or dry. When first introduced it may be advisable to wet the cubes as the horse will have easier time biting off small chunks to chew at one time. As a horse becomes accustomed to eating them, they can typically be fed dry.
With that said, wetting the cubes should not be discounted completely. Esophageal obstruction, commonly known as choke, might be avoided if the cubes are sprayed liberally with water before offered to the horse. According to Kathleen Crandell, an equine nutritionist, “Cubes have a reputation for causing choke because of horses trying to eat them too quickly. If they are watered down, consumption is slowed, and horses are less likely to have problems with bolting(eating too quickly) and choking.”
A second benefit of wetting cubes is increased water consumption. This is sometimes advantageous in the winter when horses may be cutting back on water intake.
If a horseman chooses to wet the cubes, I can be done just prior to feeding. They do not need to soak for any length of time.