The hay net also keeps the hay up off the ground, as well as slows your horse down when he is eating.
Firstly, hay net keeps the horses eating slower, and longer. They can’t just bury their muzzles into a pile of hay and stand there until it is all gone. And my horses can do this in record time. The hay net slows them down, and they are forced to eat slower. And by eating slower, their digestive system can work more like it was intended to, S-L-O-W-E-R!
When horses eat slower, like they are grazing, they have fewer health problems. There is a decreased risk of gastric ulcers and decreased risk of colic. Both of which I want to avoid at all costs. I have had to deal with colic in the past. It scary, and I don’t like it. I don’t ever want to go through that again with any horse.
The hay nets also keep your horse busy.
And it is really entertaining to watch your horse figuring out the hay net. At first, they can get a little frustrated, but horses are smart and hungry. They will catch on, I promise! And if your horse is anything like mine, even if it takes a few days to learn how to eat from the hay net, they won’t starve to death!
By giving them something to do throughout their day, and turning feeding time into a 3-hour process instead of 45 minutes to an hour, they don’t get bored. This style of feeding keeps them busy and not bored. A bored horse can be a destructive horse. I have found that even in only a week, my horse’s attitudes are quieter. They are not as bossy at feeding time, and they focus their energy on getting the hay out of the net.
Better for health
And another benefit is that if your horse is eating all the time, slowly as nature intended, you don’t have to wait to ride them for a set amount of time after they have eaten. No more waiting for 2 hours to ride after their last meal. They eat slowly and are actually happier to work, or even stand tied. They aren’t focused on hunger, or anticipating their next meal so they can focus on their job.
Respiratory problems also seem to diminish when your horse is fed from a hay net. I know this is partially due to shaking out the hay before feeding it. But by putting it into the bag, you are forced to shake out the hay, which helps to loosen any dust that might be in your hay. I have noticed a huge improvement with Frisby especially. Before I started feeding him with a hay net, Frisby had respiratory issues. I could hear him breathing, and he would cough when I started working him. Not anymore. Frisby is breathing better, and easier and no more coughing.
Even Ethan seems to have an easier time breathing. When I would feed him from the ground, he would constantly be blowing forcefully out his nose. I think it became a habit for him. But after just one week of eating from a hay net, this has drastically improved.