Here at Trickle Net HQ, we love to get feedback from customers, as we are always striving to do our best for your horses and the feedback helps us with new products and new customers. Recently we conducted a survey of 100 customers, asking the question How long did it take your horse or pony to learn how to use their Trickle Net?
We receive quite a few emails from customers who need guidance in starting their horses with Trickle Nets, so we thought it might be useful for our current customers to talk to our new customers.
We collected information from 100 customers using Trickle Nets regularly with their horses and ponies.
The first question asked: How long did it take for your horse or pony to suss out a Trickle Net? 56% confirmed their horse worked it out within minutes. The next highest percentage was within hours, with 14.7%. This is great news and confirms that the vast majority of horses twig onto the ‘grazing from a net’ method quickly.
However, we know there are horses and ponies who take much longer to get the hang of using our nets. We conducted this survey to help and support those owners, so they might realise it is worth the time and patience to train your horse on to a Trickle Net.
- 9.4% of horses in our survey took 2 weeks or longer to work out how to use the Trickle Net.
You must introduce a Trickle Net gradually. It is a feeding change, and all feeding changes must be carefully introduced. Some horses can appear quite offended when confronted with a Trickle Net. Others enjoy the challenge. Remember your horse is a grazing animal, and in his natural environment he would never stand and eat a pile of farmed hay. We have taught our horses to expect that big buffet when they come into the stable, and taking it from them now may be a change for the better, but requires some careful introduction.
We always recommend introducing a Trickle Net while still using your horses’ usual nets. The 50/50 method is ideal. Put 50% of their hay in the usual net and 50% in the Trickle Net. This way, they eat from the usual net to relieve any hunger and provide a buffer in the stomach before they have a go at working out the Trickle Net. There are other hints and tips for encouraging your horse to investigate the Trickle Net (see our FAQs), but after some time, you’ll start to see less hay left each morning.
When your horse can almost finish the Trickle Net, you can wean them off the usual net to a point where the full ration goes into the Trickle Net.
One thing is for sure, a Trickle Net will save you money on forage and improve your horse or ponies’ health. If you can persist with some weeks of trial and error, you and your horse will be healthier and happier in the long run.
Straight from the “horses mouth”….. here’s some advice directly from our customers…..
Did you introduce the Trickle Net gradually?
-Yes, alongside their normal nets.
-No, we put them in with the horses straight away.
-No, as she’s a greedy cob.
-I did and still do combine with regular nets throughout the day/night.
-I did. I used half Trickle Nets, half another brand with larger holes, and then gradually replaced all.
-Yes, in the field as a ground net when turned out, then later in the stable as a hung net. They would always choose the other option, alongside another net or lose hay but happily eat from the Trickle Net once the other option was not there. I also picked bits of hay through the holes to 'get them started' initially.
-Yes. I offered the large (9kg?) Trickle Net half full alongside a standard haylage net and a pile on the floor. After pulling some bits half out of the holes for him, he worked it out immediately and then preferred that over the other feeding methods! I think he enjoyed the challenge.
-No, because all the horses I have used them for took them immediately.
-The first two nights, no, but then I had barely eaten anything, so then I did 75% in diff hay net and slowly changed the ratio. Now week 4, both hay nets are only being eaten entirely.
-No, my horse had a fractured leg and needed 4.5 months of box rest. I bought the Trickle Net on the day of his diagnosis. I also fed hay from the floor and gave him branches etc. He self-selected from 1 thing to another and certainly didn't eat the easiest food first or leave the net till last.
-Nope, he's greedy, so he had to watch his weight. Worked brilliantly.
Do you have any further comments or advice for owners in introducing a Trickle Net to their horse or pony?
-Just be patient & they will work it out.
-We have all types and ages of horses, and they all eat from trickle nets with zero issues.
-Trust your horse; they’ll figure it out.
-Keep going with it, they will get to learn how to use it slowly.
-Don’t worry; horses know where to find food and can figure out how to get the hay. I have a range of ages/sizes/types, including babies and oldies with bad teeth and all who are okay with Trickle Nets.
-Persistence is key!! Don’t pack them too tight.
-If you can stick with the time it takes. I had one pony figure it out in minutes! My more sensitive, delicate and less greedy pony took a few hours. I have a foal happily eating from one as her mum did. It can take some encouragement to nibble when food has been easy to take in the past. Try a few healthy treats to start the process. It just tucked in the net. They will work it out, given some patience from daunted owners.
-Try it. You won’t use a normal net for a good doer ever again.
-Patience, they'll get it! All four of ours have different techniques, from huge bite to see what gets too little nibbles to pawing bales over and over, never in anger or unsettled, just working out the best way to get the hay! I absolutely love these nets, and they last so so well. Some small bale nets we've used winter after winter for around ten years in thick clay fields with no holes whatsoever.
-Don’t give in straight away. They will work it out and give them time with a small, normal-sized net added until they get the hang of it.
-Absolutely, the best boredom buster for horses.