See, I don’t think this is equivalent to a trough with a net at all. A trough is much smaller and deeper. I would need to set up multiple to have the same footprint. The width is a necessity because I have a mare who will chase off her buddies, who need the hay more than her. Plus, a trough and net are usually set up with hay bags you have to fill. Not a huge inconvenience, but not as simple as dropping the bale in and sliding the net across.
If I built a box, it could be the size I want, but I would have to, uh, build it. That would be a lot cheaper, but not free. Plus I need the time to build it.
I agree the price is steep, but if it’s something that will last longer than wood out in the elements, it may be worth it. It costs about the same as a hay hut. I do wonder if at only 100lbs, if the horses can abuse it. I also wonder how the net and moving parts will hold up.