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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

Product Review: Tough 1 Hay Hoop Slow Feeder

Last fall, I decided to invest in a Tough 1 Hay Hoop Slow Feeder to hang in Ellie's paddock.  I used to hang a regular hay net for Snappy in an effort to get her to eat more of her hay, but I was hoping the hay hoop would be easier (it is - mostly).  I am generally not a fan of hay nets and prefer horses to eat from the ground, but the area next to the barn is sand and Ellie is a HOOVER.  So I figured this would help with any chances of sand colic problems and keep hay in front of her longer.


The hay net is usually so full first thing in the morning that is sticks out nearly perpendicular to the wall haha
 I didn't do much research before I bought it, which is totally unlike me.  But the price seemed decent and I bought it on Black Friday as kind of an impulse purchase, so I only paid $31.  The only other hay hoops I knew about at the time where the ones my friend, Rachel, uses and I had it in my head they were super expensive (turns out they are not).

I admit, I feed a lot of hay.  Like more than the little Tough 1 hay hoop can realistically hold LOL!  And I am not crazy about the latch, mostly because it can be a pain to actually get to latch onto the wall, but I actually think that is because I stuff way too much hay into the net itself.
This is the latch, which is pretty easy to use if the hay net isn't overstuffed!
So, I ordered a new hay net to hang inside the hoop, and I am hoping this will solve my minor complaints.  Even with buying a new/different net, the price is still cheaper than the Hay Chix hay hoop, which looks like what I will purchase if this one ever breaks.  
Empty hay hoop - there is nothing wrong with this net, it is just tiny
But, honestly, Ellie has had zero issues with the Tough 1 Hay Hoop Slow Feeder and it seems like it will continue to hold up well.  Granted, she has only been using it for three months, but it is in great shape.  She will obviously eat less hay this spring/summer when we have grass again, but I am sure I will always throw a few flakes out for her, especially when weaning her onto grass this spring.  My Standardbreds have never had issues with weaning onto spring grass, but Morgans are a completely different story.  It felt like it took me a month to get Sparky out onto grass full time, between being such an easy keeper and prone to laminitis (happened once in college, in late fall, so we have no idea why she foundered, but it was enough to scare me forever haha).  


Here you can see the little pieces of wood needed to attach it to the side of the barn. 
Darn that board and batten siding haha.  Obviously attaching this to a flat wall (like in a stall) would be easier.

Comments

  1. I have these in my stalls, and fill them to the "sticking out" point, too hehe :) They're a bit difficult to latch - I've got one that doesn't want to keep the moving part "up" so it's a pain, but I've gotten pretty decent at doing the others now.

    A thought, to combine the hay chix love and the hoop... maybe buy a square bale net from hay chix and take out the string and put it on your hoop? They're huge - I don't know if you could flip it with a whole bale in it but it definitely would let you stuff it full to your heart's content. I changed my hoops over to Nibble nets from the nets they came with and ended up going back to the original nets because the nibble ones stretched and my girls were still making messes with their hay. I hadn't thought about putting nets like this outside... and I may do that next year! Much easier to fill than trying to stuff my giant, often crooked 60lb bales into the hay chix full bale nets I have (and then having to snap them in because Arya throws them in the dirt/wet).

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  2. Yes, I remember you posted your hay feeding post right after I hung this up last fall! I just bought a new Smartpak slow feeder net and will give that a shot first as a larger replacement, since it was cheap enough and supposedly is larger than the net the hay hoop came with. We shall see! Good to know the nibble nets didn't work out well! :-)

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  3. If I wasn't using my EZ feeders, I'd be using these! I love traditional hay nets but filling them is a PITA haha. The hoops seem to mitigate that!

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    1. Yes, I definitely think any type of hay hoop is MUCH easier than the traditional hay nets!!

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  4. i really like this style of hay net. charlie has a nibble net now, which is also pretty easy to fill and hang, but i could see getting something like this in the future.

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    1. I highly recommend it! Or the Hay Chix feeder, as my friend Rachel has that one and really likes it. I think the top lock part is easier on the Hay Chix.

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  5. I'm liking mine with Carmen. Believe it or not she's already ripped a part of the net. Once it's toast I will replace it with a 1.5" holes. I'm okay with the size because it's for overnight and I don't put a lot in. It's also hard to close when a hungry horse is eating from it the same time you are trying to close it.

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    1. She sounds like she has Ellie's exuberance for food haha! ;-)

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  6. I meant to add that a friend of mine took a rubber muck bucket (the large one) and cut out the bottom and fastened a net to the bottom. That way she could fill it and as the horse ate more hay would fall down.

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  7. There is a guy near me that makes something very similar to this custom and will make it as big as you want. I've been eyeing them up and may take the plunge now that I have read about someone who has had a good experience.

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    1. That sounds great because you can get the size you need/want!

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  8. I've been really happy with my hay hoop, other than that time I split my finger wide open trying to thread the barrel onto the latch with a very full load - which kept me from seeing where everything was - especially my finger. So I used some hay string to stabilize the latch in the vertical position. Much less dangerous now. :D

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    1. OUCH!! Not a bad idea to stabilize the latch like that. It can be a pain to latch shut when it is super cold and I am wearing my warmest/thickest gloves haha!

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  9. We made our hay hoops out of PVC. I made them long before my blog and I've always meant to go back and do a how to.

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    1. You should! I'd love to see what they look like and how they work!

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