Securing a Hay Net on the Ground

Has anyone used the SmartPak Slow Feed Hay Bag (photo below) on the ground for their barefoot horses? I figured this might be a little safer since they’re stiff so no possibility of an empty net wrapping around my horse’s leg during the middle of the night.

However, I’m trying to figure out how I would keep it closed securely. My horse has mastered how to open velcro and I’m anxious about using any metal or plastic clips to close it in case she steps on it. I’m a little paranoid; worst case scenario of her stepping on it, she gets hurt. Best case scenario she squashes it so it has to be hacked off and replaced the next morning. Would it be best to tie it closed with baling twine so there’s nothing to break? If I do go that route, would it be overkill to remove the rings up at the top? I’ve never used a hay net on the ground before (clearly) but was interested after seeing the Hay Pillows.

Edit 1: There’s not a place in the stall to attach it at ground level
Edit2: Photo is not mine, just the SmartPak product photo!

can you install a screw eye closer to the ground to attach it?

The photo isn’t mine, it’s off of SmartPak’s website, sorry for the confusion! I currently board so I don’t think I’m allowed to install anything permanent

Hmmm. I have some “screw shut” loops that would work. If you can prep a few hay bags for her then you’re not being the PITA with the high maintenance hay bags :wink:

Go to TSC or lowes etc…there are many sizes and they would be safe for her. They are deeply grove so they don’t jam up or get difficult easily

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Are there no bars on the stall front? How are water buckets hung in the stalls or do they have auto waterers??

Thanks for the link! Do you think those are heavy duty enough that they could survive getting stepped on? I’ve never used them before. I’m hoping using this one will be at least a little easier than tying up a normal net

There are bars but the buckets are hung off of bucket hooks

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I took a 10" piece of nylon cord and attached a 2" “O” ring on each end. I use this on the butt bar side of my stock trailer to attach the hay bag from. Maybe that is an option for your stall.

I think I could definitely rig that up! I was just wondering if I could use it on the ground like a Hay Pillow but I may do that instead if the general consensus is that it’s unsafe

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I have some on my arena and driveway drag. They come in many sizes.

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I’ve used those hay bags in turnout on the ground with barefoot horses. Used a small carabineer to close. Super easy for staff, I pre fill and they throw the bag in the field. Never had an issue but my horses arent very destructive or playful, they pretty much eat the hay and then ignore the bag


I used small screw-lock carabiners to secure a similar style of hay bag that I used as a hay pillow briefly. My pony somehow managed to twist at least one enough that it was very difficult to remove from the bag. No harm to her, but I got tired of replacing carabiners pretty quick, so I quit using that setup after a week or so.

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That’s my biggest concern so sounds like it’s back to the drawing board for a less expensive Hay Pillow. Thanks for the info!

Could you use a few zip ties to keep it closed?

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I think so! Do you think they would be safe if she happened to step on them? I was thinking of using the reusable zip ties

Edit: Just found rubber reusable zip ties which should be ok if they stepped on

I did this. Tied closed in a few places with baling twine like you would shoelaces and double knotted.

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We’ve used those loose on the ground. We used a 24” bungee cord, hooked it on the webbing at one end of the open side, then spiraled it through every other mesh opening and hooked it to the mesh at the other end. That length bungee will be stretched enough to hold the hooks in place, but not enough to have much recoil if it came loose (which I can’t remember ever happening).

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I feed hay nets on the ground. They are the 2 inch or inch and a half type, not the ones with massive holes. I close them with heavy duty carabiners (3/4" by 5" zinc metal, round) not the cheap ones. Yes, the carabiners are about 5 dollars apiece. But, two years on, they have held up to daily abuse by vigorous draft horses in the mud and the snow. They are rated for a working load of around 500 lbs, and round metal so the chance of them deforming into something sharp is unlikely. I can see it happening if the horse stepped on them on concrete exactly right (that freak accident horses are so good at!), but on anything else, they are fine.
I probably would hang them in a stall or small dry lot. In fact I do, during the day when the boys are in the small dry lot. But in the bigger, almost acre lot, the football method seems popular and as safe as anything can be with horses.

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I use small hole hay nets on the ground. I use the Shires kind with the rope cord. I just tie the cord with a series of knots so all the bight is taken up and there is nothing loose to get a foot through. Then I tuck the knotted cord into the net. The nets just get thrown on the ground unsecured.

Rarely do they get the cord unknotted, and when the do it’s only the last knot or two. Not enough slack to be a safety concern.

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