In a discussion about round bales on another forum, someone mentioned that ponies sometimes make a hole in a round bale to get at the yummy stuff inside. When they stick their heads in to eat inside the bale, they can breathe in the hay and get heaves.
This possibility scares me because I went to the barn yesterday and found my horse with his head buried deep inside the hay bale. He was standing in the feeder (tombstone feeder... the horses break the 'tombstones' off as fast as the barn owner can have the feeders repaired *sigh*). He had made a hole down the middle of the bale and had his head in it, eating what he considers the yummy stuff from the middle/bottom of the bale. I was concerned because he has already given his leg some nasty scrapes from dragging his legs along the feeder as he crawls in and out of it. Now I am also terrified of him inhaling dust/hay etc and getting a respiratory illness. He is also currently in a snit because I hauled him out of the feeder and had the nerve to tell him to eat from the outside of it.
Aaargh! Does anyone else have issues with horses doing this sort of thing (standing in feeders, injuring themselves on feeders, eating quite deep down into the middle of the bale). If so, how have you dealt with the issue? It is an especially difficult situation because he is currently being boarded, so I am not sure what I can do about it. :(
We do hope to eventually get a farm of our own, but even when we do, it seems that it is going to be a challenge to find a feeder that works. I don't think that a Bale Buddy is an option as my horse is the sort to typically tear and/or drag anything remotely resembling a tarp. The barn owner also found that they were not durable enough to survive her herd (my horse included). I like the look of the Duplessis feeder, but it does seem light enough to be something that my horse would tip over and/or destroy... especially considering that he and his buddies break sturdy metal tombstone feeders just by leaning on the bars! Any suggestions?
Goofy horse! He is way too curious, playful... and determined to get the specific bits of hay that he wants! *sigh*