As we are seeing more and more horse owners using small holed haynets, it's time to start asking ourselves what welfare issues may be arising from this new trend?
The main reason for anyone using haynets is to try and slow down the speed in which a horse/pony consumes its contents and this is often because of issues with excess weight, or more recently to help prevent the chance of gastric ulcers (created by acids on an empty stomach) Great problem solved! Or so you would think.
Take a look at this picture and tell me what you see......
Yes that's right those teeth are all worn at the front. This is my horse Huckleberry Pie, an 8 year old traditional cob and this is the damage that had been done by feeding through a small holed haynet for a couple of years (we have only ever used a small holed nets and he's never worn a muzzle or grazed short grass)
Nowadays the mass majority of haynets are now made from strong nylon material to prevent a horse from chewing holes through them. However with spaces between the nylon becoming smaller and smaller, its almost impossible for a horse to take a bit of his hay without grabbing or rubbing the net in the process. This could lead to the unnatural wear of the teeth in many Equines.
So what's the solution? You can slow down your horses eating in a few simple ways:
A relatively new product to the market designed to help tackle this very problem is the Haygrazer Play Bag. This round bag made from durable materials is designed to slow down the consumption of hay by movement rather than small holes. Several windows around the bag allows the horse to extract hay whilst the roundness of the bag is designed to rotate, taking a horse longer to empty the bag completely.
Even the 3 times Olymipic gold medallist, Valegro, has been spotted using one. And well, if its good enough for him it certainly good enough for every horse/pony out there.
to find out more visit the website www.haygrazer.co.uk
After reading this article I hope you can take a moment to check your horses teeth and consider taking a more friendly approach to slowing down your horses fibre consumption in the future.