From Endurance to Dressage
Have I mentioned that Sydney tends to waste a lot of hay? If not, he does. Once it hits the ground, it's dirty. I don't think that's what he thinks, but whatever his rationale, very little of what hits the ground gets consumed. RM has hemmed and hawed over what we might do to reduce the waste. We've given him a DEEP feeder, we dole out his hay in smaller meals over the weekend, but aside from that, we haven't hit on a solution ... until now.
At the Horse Expo, I passed by the booth for the Freedom Feeder, something I've seen before, but never had the need for. I actually kept on walking, but after talking to a lady in another booth about saddle fitting, we started talking about feeding and she actually escorted me back to the Freedom Feeder booth to show me why she liked their product. Once I started chatting with the folks there, I threw caution, and my credit card, to the wind and plunked down the fifty bucks. Yeah, I know. Fifty bucks for a hay net?!
I followed the directions and hung it up on Sunday morning. Everything is hung with break-away carabiners and the netting is too small for a hoof to get tangled in. I wasn't 100% sure that I liked how it hung from the top so I modified it a bit so the the net wraps around the top rail and snaps back onto itself. This eliminated the hoof-grabbing holes that the first method of hanging created - sorry, no updated photo. The way it's hung, the person feeding is able to fill it from the barn aisle without removing the net, which is far more convenient than most hay bags and all other hay nets.
There's more below ...
Sydney took to it immediately. I could see right away that he was fascinated by the challenge of the "game." The alfalfa leaves do fall through the net, but since they fall immediately below the net, they don't get dragged around in the dirt. And since they're the yummiest part, it makes them less likely to be wasted.
I watched Sydney work at the bag for the better part of an hour. He didn't seem frustrated by the small bites he was able to get. If anything, the opposite was true. He seemed to enjoy the process. The manufacturer recommends feeding in the previous type of feeder as well as in the net until the horse adapts to the slower delivery method. After watching him, I didn't think Sydney would have a problem. He didn't. I removed the feeder tub mid-week.
This thing has turned out to be a miracle. Sydney is beyond relaxed. He has the calmest, most relaxed look on his face all day. RM, Other Boarder, and Neighbor Feeder have all remarked at his new attitude. And to top it off, he has already gained weight! For most horses that's a problem. For my slow-pokey, never-pig-out ponies whose flesh just barely covers their ribs, this is a great thing.
Who knew that all along the Freedom Feeder was (one of) the solution(s) that I needed? Best $50 I've ever spent!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(*) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: