Does Alfalfa Make Horses Hot? (These Facts You Should Know)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 11/13/22 •  7 min read

Alfalfa makes my horse crazy!!!!

We often see equestrians complaining about this lot. But “Does alfalfa make horses hot or crazy? Or is it just a misconception?

Well, though there is no scientific confirmation about it alfalfa is a high-protein herb with calcium and other healthy ingredients for horses. Since they come with high protein, Alfalfa does make horses hot if they eat a lot of alfalfa at a time. 

Yes, Alfalfa is great forage for its high-dense nutritional value. But you must make a diet routine and add standard alfalfa for your horses. Just make sure that your pony is not over-eating Alfalfa (or any other hay).

Why do horses get hot on alfalfa?

Yes, the Alfalfa hay makes your horse hot because of the high protein. However, it depends on several factors. For instance:

The thing is like the human body, each body responds to food differently.

What does this mean?

Some horses can easily process a lot of alfalfa without becoming hot; others may fail to resist their emotions. So, it entirely depends on your horse and the amount of alfalfa it gets. There are also reports that the horse will feel anger and become uncontrollable after they eat a bit more alfalfa.

Let’s get through some reasons why horses get hot on alfalfa. Horses will get hot on alfalfa for three reasons. They are:

Does Alfalfa Make Horses Hot?

What happens if a horse eats too much alfalfa?

We mean the side effect of over-eating alfalfa. 


Diarrhea is the most common problem of eating too much alfalfa. It happens because of excessive protein present in this hay. The horse will fail to digest all the alfalfa they eat at a time. 

Eventually, their entire digestive system will be interrupted and cause trouble.

Orthopedics Diseases

Everything has a limitation, and livestock also can’t avoid the negative side-effect of overeating hay. 

If your horse eats a lot of alfalfa for a long time, let’s say for weeks, it may face some orthopedics diseases because of over-protein in the body. Although the long-term effects will be sorted out with proper medication, you should not feed much alfalfa to your horse. 


The first symptoms of eating too much alfalfa would be hotness, agitation, and anxiousness. 

If your horse eats a lot of alfalfa together, it will be hot and fail to control its emotions. So, avoid feeding or allowing too much alfalfa to your horse.

Can horses be sensitive to alfalfa?

Yes, horses can be sensitive to alfalfa because of their allergic reaction and other sensitive issues. 

And again the culprit ingredient is protein.

If your horse eats too much alfalfa at a time, it will get much protein to process in a short time, and as a result, it will fail to process that and become sick. Sometimes, that protein ingredient will be sensitive for horses, creating dangerous allergic issues on the horse’s skin. 

Apart from that……

The alfalfa will also be sensitive to the horse’s stomach. If they eat high-protein regularly, their stomach will face gastric and digestion problems. 

But the good news is…….

Alfalfa is not sensitive to all horses, and some may feel good after eating a lot of alfalfa hay. You can offer alfalfa regularly if your horse doesn’t show any allergic reactions or health issues. But you should make a routine to allow the optimum amount of hay daily, and it will keep your horse fit and avoid any health issues associated with this hay. 

In a nutshell……

If you find any sensitive reaction after feeding it a small amount of alfalfa, you should stop feeding it. Also, never offer any hay to your horse just because everyone is saying it is healthy. Experiment and see what works for your pony. Read more about horse feed:

How much alfalfa is too much for a horse?

Anything more than 18-20% of the total food would be too much for a horse. 

Yes, that’s true.

You should also follow the rule of thumb of offering 1.5%-2% body weight. The amount of hay or total food would equal 2% body weight of your horse, and it might come to around 18-20lbs. It’s not the amount of alfalfa you can offer; instead, it’s the average food amount for your horse.

In that 18-20lbs food, you should offer 20% protein-based food. 

It indicates that you can offer your horse, at best 4lbs alfalfa hay daily if it has a sound digestion system. You can also follow a trick to mix different protein-based foods, including alfalfa, which will be a perfect combination to protect your horse from a particular protein source.

What’s the catch?

It can be said that anything more than 2-4 lbs of alfalfa will be too much for a horse. So, keep it below 2 lbs or 1 lb if your horse can easily digest it. Also, offer other protein-based foods or regular hay; other grass and hay can fill the protein gap since alfalfa is used.


Does alfalfa make horses sweat?

Alfalfa makes horses sweat because of protein that increases body temperature. 

Mainly, alfalfa comes with high protein that will increase the body temperature or heat internal body parts. As a result, your horse will sweat and drink a lot. Eventually, your horse will leave a lot. 

………( it’s a natural process, right?)

When you feed your horse with alfalfa, you should offer a small amount of it and see if your horse is sweating or not. If the alfalfa gets through your horse’s digestion process and produces heat, it will sweat a lot, and it will be a sign to offer less alfalfa every day. 

And you know what?

Equestrians share their experiences that alfalfa will not directly make your horse sweat but will start the processor playing a crucial role. Alfalfa’s protein and calcium ingredients will make your horse sweat a lot.

A word of caution…….

If your horse can’t find water after sweating a lot, it may suffer from dehydration. So, keep some water around when you feed alfalfa to your horse. It will be a safe thing for any horse, especially if it consumes alfalfa for the first time.


Always try to make a proper diet for your horse and optimize it with different protein sources. It will always be a good practice to feed less alfalfa to your horse; otherwise, it will create health issues.

When it comes to Alfalfa (or any other hay)- moderation is the key.

Never try to feed your horse with too much alfalfa; that can damage the stomach, create allergic reactions, and more.

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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