The question is often asked by owners, concerned about the well-being of their horse: Should they be fed the hay in a net or directly on the ground? In each case, the situation adapts.
Let’s take a look at the hay net first. Many use it for example in competitions or when they are outdoors with their horse. The latter not being able to eat directly on the ground, can help himself in a net, and thus pass the time if he is between two tests of a competition or a situation of the kind. The horse will be less bored if it has something to nibble on or play with.
Others automatically serve their hay in a net, to keep their horses occupied longer. As a result, the horse will take longer to pull on the hay and eat it in small quantities than if it was served directly on the ground. The stomach will be fed “continuously” with small doses, and will never be empty (avoid ulcers).
The hay net can also be used following a health problem of a horse, which will have to eat slowly for a certain time to avoid any risk of complications (colic, operation, laminitis, etc.). In this case, the hay net will fit perfectly, if the meshes are not too large.
However, pay attention to some important details for the good use of a net! First of all, you have to hang it at the right height for the horse. The ideal height would be that of his elbow. For shod horses, you have to be particularly careful because your shoe could get stuck in it. The solution would be to place it higher, but then this would complicate the ingestion process for the horse: it is not made to eat at height, it is not a giraffe! Another solution would be to suspend the net right over a can or something like that. Like that, if the horse stamps its foot, it will hit the container and not the net.
Another question to ask concerns the size of the meshes. There is now a multitude of different nets: small mesh, large mesh, a simple hole in the center, …. Again, every owner should find the ideal hay net for his horse. Small stitches would quickly irritate some impatient ones, while with large stitches, a pony prone to laminitis will not improve its problem in any way. The mesh size therefore roughly matches the size of your horse and its possible problems. The small meshes will be more suitable for a Shetland than a draft horse!
You must also hang the hay net in the right place. Ideally, the horse should not be able to shake it all over the place to drop the hay and eat it on the ground. It should be put against a wall, securely fastened.
The hay net, therefore, remains a very good solution when traveling or transporting the horse, that is to say occasionally. Because again, not all riders or breeders think well of this hay net: It is true that the horse is basically made to feed on the ground, and has proceeded naturally in this way for thousands of years. . But be careful, because the ground must be kept clean and free from too much dust, otherwise the horse will refuse to eat. A good replacement plan if the ground does not allow horses to eat their hay there is the hay shelter. On rainy days it will be sheltered and the dust or dirt on the ground will stay out.
In the end, using a hay net can be beneficial if the horse adapts to it and if the net matches it, as well as if it is attached at the right height, etc. If used incorrectly, it will not improve not the daily life of the horse, on the contrary. Serving hay on the ground also requires, as we have seen above, several measures to be taken into account.
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