Torture and Torment with Tricklenets

Last winter, I definitely fed my horses way too much.  It was quite a mild, dry winter – so much so that Aero only wore his rug a handful of times, while Flurry never needed his.

They have two big apple crates (pallox is the French word, FYI) in their shelter, and I made sure that they got generous amounts of hay every day.

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During our previous winters here, they needed all that hay to keep warm.  Digesting hay is a very warming process… but this year, they didn’t need to work so hard on keeping warm, so all that energy generated by digesting the hay got turned into FAT.  By the end of the winter, I had two Big Fatties on my hands.  One of whom was quite a Fizzy Fatty with all of that unused energy whizzing around his body.  Not mentioning any names.  But he’s dun.  And fuzzy.  Hmm, a Fuzzy Fizzy Fatty.  Sounds quite cute really!  It wasn’t.

We were hitting the end of the hay around the time the grass started to grow again.  The last of the hay was dusty, and brought on Aero’s cough.  Rather than have the hassle of soaking his hay – it was also becoming clear that water shortages were likely – the two Big Fatties got turned out in the grass paddocks.  Much to their delight.

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They didn’t get MUCH fatter, thankfully.  And I managed to keep them exercised, more or less.  But I knew I had to sort something out long term.  I had to find some way of making their hay last longer.

Once they returned to their normal field, I took to hanging a haylage net (that’s a hay net with smaller holes, for the uninitiated) from a tree, while at the same time reducing the amount of hay I put in their palloxes.  They seemed to get through the hay net in no time, and I got the feeling that Aero was starting to get fat again.

Enter the TrickleNet.  I’d read about them on the internet.  They have lots of teeny holes, so the horses have to work much harder at getting the hay out.  They seemed to have good reviews, although they were expensive.  About €50 each, once I’d paid for shipping as well.  Let’s hope they work…

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Lovely clean unused tricklenets

They seem a funny shape but they hold a lot of hay.  I hung one from a tree and made sure I put a decent amount of hay in the palloxes, just in case the Boys couldn’t figure it out.  DSCF2503

I needn’t have worried…

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Slow but steady feeding… that’s the idea, anyway.

Then it rained.  (Rain is Good News!!)

The next morning I extracted the formerly lovely tricklenet from the mud, but I was pleased to see that the Boys had almost finished all the hay.

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Unlovely Unclean used Tricklenet

I think this will work, so long as I tie better knots…

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I am trying to get them to move around their field more, too.  I moved their salt and mineral blocks from the shelter to a tree further down the field, but they don’t seem to be using them.  Now, if I find there is some hay left in the net, I shake it out beside the blocks, to remind the boys that they DO actually have access to salt and minerals and are NOT neglected and unloved.

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So this is my approximation at Paddock Paradise at the moment :

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From Google Maps – Flurry and Aero’s field

There is a teeny bit of growth after the rain, so in addition to hay in the palloxes and the tricklenet, there are some green shoots to nibble on at the moment.  I will see how it goes, but if I feel the Boys are becoming too FAT sedentary again, I might make a couple of passages or zig zags that they have to go through to get from one place to another.

I do love their field 😀

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