Preparing a Haynet
How to Give Hay to a Grass Kept Horse or Pony
The natural feeding position of a horse and pony is on the ground, but when feeding hay in the field this can be wasteful. The horse will pick out the best pieces, trampling and spoiling the rest. However, if there are a number of horses turned out together, to prevent squabbles, this is the only way to feed hay.
A haynet or hayrack is probably the most economical way of feeding hay as any left will not get wasted. Haynets have the advantage of being easily weighed. In wet weather the ground will get poached wherever horses are fed and a haynet/rack is easily moved to a different part of the field.
CAUTIONARY NOTE: Haynets are made of nylon and unbreakable, if the horse gets caught in the net, even if the retaining piece of string breaks that is holding up the net, the horse may still be caught and unable to free himself.
Feeding the Individual
When using a haynet/rack it should be placed well clear of the ground, at about the 'head level' of the horse or pony concerned; remember an empty haynet hangs a lot lower than when full. There is a risk that the horse will get his foot caught if the net is too low, or if the net is placed too high they risk getting seeds and dust in their eyes.
If you have a horse and pony together, tie up both nets at the same height, slightly low for the horse and a little high for the pony, as there is no guarantee they will eat from the net that you have tied up specifically for them. Place the nets at least 6m (20ft) apart so that neither can kick the other nor prevent it from eating the hay provided.