In Dec: pitifully low mileage with two trail rides. Also, beach ride!
The recommendation is to start with 2″ nets, decrease to 1.5″, if needed decrease to 1″. I borrowed a friend’s spare 1″ bag and skipped the first two. She understands hay nets and eats plenty. Week one: full bale (granted, a light one) lasted five days, along with an extra flake or two of grass/alfalfa in a smaller bag.
I do think she gets frustrated some by the small holes, but I also think she’s frustrated no one feeds her at the right times anymore! The ‘eat whenever’ idea has not gotten through yet. Instead, she eats at breakfast, and at dinner time, and at lunchtime when I came by I caught her napping.
Somehow, magically, she actually stayed down and let me come in and take pictures and pet her. I’ve seen her down in her stall maybe three times now in more than four years.
But, back to bale bags – I opted to switch for a few different reasons. I think it’s a good concept. She’s barefoot, so no shoes to get caught in the net. Only one attachment point minimizes risk. Giant bale bag is a bit of a pain to load (although rumor has it I really ought to get a slightly bigger one and then life is easier!), but only once a week or so. It should be better for the potential risk of ulcers and help with girthiness if that’s the cause.
I know folks worry their horses will overeat. That was previously a concern. At Quicksilver this past year, though? She had lots of hay choices and frequently chose to nap/hang out/generally not eat. Sure, she ate, but she didn’t eat all the things as I thought she might. She’s learned that there will always be hay at rides. So it stood to reason that she could learn there would always be hay at home, too. Indeed, she seems to have figured that one out pretty quickly.
Winter seemed like a fairly good time to switch. It’s straight grass in the bag so she’s not getting a ton of alfalfa or sugars. If she does eat a bit extra.. well, it’s not awful for a not-quite-older horse to have some reserves coming out of the cold weather. We’ll work it off in the spring if need be.
It’s early yet, but I’m cautiously optimistic and I’ll try to update on the results periodically.