Hay Nets

Kricket enjoying/terrorizing the hay net.

Kricket enjoying/terrorizing the hay net.

I’ve always been a hay bag girl. They are easy to use to portion hay out and you lose less hay than if you put it on the ground. I also have some serious PTSD from middle school basketball in gym so trying to toss flakes into the upright mangers leads to nothing but hay on the ground and in my bra.

Since moving the horses to our property I have been concerned with the speed in which the hay disappears from their hay bags. They have blankets for the cold nights, but I was still concerned about them having empty tummies and not producing body heat through digestion. I had two options. The first was to put a round roll out. I shudder at the thought. Kricket is a little easy keeper and balloons up within a week of round roll access.

The second option was small hole hay nets. You will also see them advertised as slow eating nets or something similar. They work very simply. The holes are smaller than in a hay bag or traditional hay nets, therefore, they get smaller bites. It’s more of a nibble action than the cow-chewing-its-cud image of a horse with a massive mouth of hay. It mimics the grazing horses are supposed to do all day. (But let’s be honest, how many of us can have our horses on grass 24/7 without overgrazing the pasture?) Now if only I could get it to move so they also took slow continuous steps all day…

So I got two small hole nets from Jeffers ($15). I went with the large size and a nicer brand that had good reviews. So far I love them. I also invested in a spring scale from TSC ($20) so we weigh out their daily allotment every morning split between the two nets. I usually put one in their run out and one outside so they meander between the two. The best news? I put two out in the morning when I feed and they are good for a solid 24 hours. I know they have exactly enough hay and they can’t vacuum it up in 30 minutes.

I would like to add a disclaimer that my horses have no shoes. I know a lot of people have had horses hung up in hay nets. These particular nets are very durable and the tee-tiny holes could never pose a danger to a hoof getting stuck unless a larger hole forms. Again, I went for the nicer ones with good reviews. If you are ever in doubt of a horse product, find it on a site with reviews. Horse people LOVE to talk about their products–good or bad.

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Horses in the hood

I have spent most of my horsey life traveling 20+ minutes to see my horses. There were a couple barns that were self service and within reasonable driving distance (both home and at school) but there is just something really annoying about paying someone three figures a month per horse just to rent some land–especially when that land doesn’t even have sustainable pastures.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I grew up in the Oakhaven neighborhood of Memphis. (901, bitches.) If you have ever been in such a part of the city, you probably wish you hadn’t. Oakhaven and its neighbor Victory Heights border the airport and a few industrial parks. Amongst its attractions you will find drug dealers, strip clubs and a surprisingly clean McDonalds. My grandparents lived on 10 acres in Victory Heights. As you can imagine, this is not the most sought-after chunk of land and has sat empty since my grandmother died in 2007.

Fast forward to December of 2012. Steven and I had just gotten married in late October and had moved in to a duplex in midtown. The horses were at a barn in Cordova which was a good 40 minute drive from us on a good day. I wasn’t terribly happy with either their care or the barn bill. I believe in a rather strange mix of “let them be horses” and “oh my God what do you mean you don’t weigh their food!?” so finding a boarding facility up to my standards and budget is rough.

And then my mom made the mistake of saying “Too bad mom’s property is in such a bad part of town.” Which prompted me to mull it over and finally decide: So what? I mean, I lived there for 9 years and was never shot. Not even once. Not even shanked a little. Sure, the house has been broken into (multiple times…) but it was very obviously empty at the time. There is a big difference between a thief and a brave thief.

And so we paid half a month’s board and my poor husband was charged with putting up a fence before we had to move them December 16th. We have done a lot of work and bought a lot of stuff and I have to feed them every morning before work and Steven feeds them in the afternoon but it is entirely worth it. I get to see my horses EVERY day.

From here on out I will share some random day-to-days and also some neat (generally very hippy and very natural horse care) stuff I have come across. I hope it’s worth reading.

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