I used to love to look down the aisle of a barn and see hay nets hanging at the fronts of the stalls, horses lazily munching away. But I don’t anymore. What was once thought of a healthy efficient way to feed your horses and save on bedding and hay in the long run since there was very little waste, is now considered unhealthy for your horse. Hay nets and permanent structured hay racks alike, are out. Studies have shown that horses inhale dust and hay particles when eating hay this way. They need to eat with their heads down. Hay on the ground is the healthiest route. It’s is the natural route.
Dust of any sort, whether it be hay dust, sawdust, manure dust, or just plain old dirt dust, is a major issue when it comes to your horse’s health. You want to do everything you can to make sure he or she is not inhaling unhealthy amounts of it on a daily basis. Dust is inevitable, and ideally, you want a nice airy barn. In the event you need to use fans during the summer season, be careful where you place the fans. Fans on the floor stir up dust. Fans should be placed off the floor, if possible, preferably mounted on the stall fronts, with the cords out of the way of man and horse. Be careful when you sweep the aisle ways. Wet them down lightly first and use a broom and light strokes. You don’t have to get every last dust speck. Do not use a leaf blower. I shudder at the thought. There is a fine line between diligent and fanatic. Find it and don’t walk that line.