How to stop your horse putting holes in the hay net

…”My horse is putting holes in the hay net”…. 😖
The goal is to conserve hay and reduce waste. So of course it makes sense to buy the smallest netting we can. While logically that makes perfect sense, sometimes our horses don’t always agree.
On occasion some horses will put holes in the netting. Most of these cases can been rectified by increasing the netting hole size.
Even though the netting we use is top strength, high quality and chosen by all leading suppliers of slow feed hay nets in Australia, it’s not indestructible. Horses can tear holes in the net if they are frustrated. This is their way of communicating that they can’t get the hay out fast enough.
Introducing hay nets correctly and giving horses time to adapt is the best way to solve the problem of holes in the hay nets. But as with any type of training, it takes preparation, patience & time.
  • Use a larger hole size. Switch up from 3cm netting to 4cm netting, or from 4cm netting to 6cm netting. We have found that by going up a hole size, the horse stopped putting holes in the net. This observation is based on feedback from customers and our own experience over the past 12 years of making and using slow feed hay nets. Horses will often accept going back to a smaller size after a few months.
  • Try higher quality hay, finer stemmed/leafy hay that’s palatable and easier to get from the net. If the horse is having trouble getting the hay from the net because it’s a little stalky/lower quality, switch to a higher quality hay for a while. Observe and see if that makes it less frustrating. Sometimes quality hay is difficult to source, so this may not always be an option. In which case, larger hole sizes might be the answer.
  • Make sure the hay net always contains hay, so the horse is never really hungry. Giving a “hangry” horse a slow feed hay net is a sure fire way to get them to put a hole in it. So set them up for success, with easy access to alternate hay, while they adapt to using the slow feed hay net.
Want to discuss options? Reach out to us, we’re here to help.