Apr 29 2009

Small Mesh Haynets

Published by under Feed & Nutrition

Horses are grazers. God created them to have their heads down, nose on the ground most of the day. The take a step or 2 and eat; a little at a time, most of the time. This is what they do best and it keeps their gut going at all times. It also keeps them from being bored.


Then they come to live with us humans and since we have it all figured out, they get to spend their time on dirt, most of the day in a box stall and a small turnout and we feed them, conveniently, twice a day. If they are lucky, they get to come out a few times a week for exercise and training.


Hmmm…what is wrong with this picture? Now don’t get me wrong. When I grew up in the Netherlands, I took care of some horses that spend their entire day in a box-stall except when I came after school to ride them in the dunes. I too fed them mornings and evenings, twice a day. Looking back, I feel for them. They must have been so dreadfully bored.


Luckily there is a new trend: small mesh hay nets. Really small holes. Preferably not bigger than 3 or 4 cm. You stuff them in the morning, hang several of them and basically free feed your horse. It takes them quite some time to eat from it, and they can only take small bites. It is almost like grazing. Most horses will adjust to this feast within a few weeks and not overeat at all. The all day nets are best filled with Bermuda/Orchard and Timothy. Alfalfa can be fed in small quantities but should not be free fed.


This way of feeding is excellent for their metabolism. It keeps their gut going at all times and it keeps them from boredom. Wood chewing may stop, cribbing may become less of a problem, and maybe even colicky horses do better because the food goes through continuously in smaller quantities.


If your horse is not shod, you can safely hang the nets fairly low, otherwise you need to hang them higher for safety; you don’t want your horse to get his shoe stuck.


Unfortunately, the nets are not easy to find. My friend ordered a bunch from Germany, but she may actually soon be ready for production herself! I’ll keep you posted!



Who loves happy horses…


Ps. See my website for another article on Feeding your horses here

Pps. Available now at

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One Response to “Small Mesh Haynets”

  1. […] a while ago I posted about these nets ( and now, after extensive testing and trying, we have them available on our site here. Just click […]

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