Have you ever wondered how much force it takes to pull hay from a haynet? Sometimes this force is great enough to lift the haynet away from the wall so could simply tucking into his hay have an affect on your horse’s long term health? New research conducted in collaboration with SPILLERS measured pull forces and neck angles in horses fed hay from a net in different situations…
Neck angle and pressure forces were measured in 6 horses when eating 3kg of hay from
- A single layered haynet for 30 minutes, divided into 1 x 15 minute ‘low hung’ session and 1 x 15 minute ‘high hung’ session
- A doubled layered haynet for 30 minutes, divided into 1 x 15 minute ‘low hung’ session and 1 x 15 minute ‘high hung’ session
- The maximum pressure recorded was 378N which is equivalent to lifting 38kg (almost two bags of feed)!
- Average pull forces were significantly higher for double layered nets vs. single layered nets
- Horses pulled significantly harder on low hung nets vs. high hung nets
- The average maximum neck angle (measured wither–poll–nose) was 90° for single layered nets vs 127° for double layered nets
What does this mean?
Interestingly, these results show that pull forces and neck angles vary depending on the type of haynet used (single vs. double layered) and the hanging position but the potential consequences of this remain unclear. More research is needed to investigate the affect of different types of forage e.g. hay vs. haylage, as well as any possible long term effects on health.
Do you have any observations about your own horse eating from a haynet? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!
Bennett-Skinner, P., Ellis, A. D. and Harris, P. Measuring Neck Angles and the Pressure Horses exert when Pulling Hay from Haynets, European Workshop on Equine Nutrition, August 2018, Uppsala, Sweden.