The theory is that big pellets are supposed to be "safer" for horses because their large size forces the horse to chew and discourages bolting feed. McCauley Bros. brand makes a lot of their feeds in the 3/8" pellet size.
My two cents-- I think any hay pellet should be soaked, regardless of size. They're usually more hard and dense than feed pellets and don't dissolve as quickly when exposed to water or saliva.
Some of the worst chokes I've ever seen were horses eating free choice dry hay cubes, which are even larger than pellets. You'd think they'd REALLY encourage chewing, but let's face it, horses aren't always that smart when it comes to food.
Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO
If you have a bolter type horse (and by bolt, I don't mean spook but a fast eater) I would definitely soak.
I've fed the hay cubes in that size as well as the smaller pelleted hay.
If you don't have a history of choke in a horse, it probably won't be a problem. BUT...why tempt fate? I am a fan of soaking. It only takes about 20 minutes with some warm water to soften this stuff up. So my habit was to haul out some warm water, put together dinner and soak whilst doing other chores. No big deal.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
Soak them for sure. I wish we could get that big of a pelleted hay here in Georgia. When I lived in California my sister used to buy them in bulk, it was all she fed her horses. They were easy to store and there was very little waste.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."
Soak them - choke can be downright nasty and it's not worth the risk. I soak all my feed - I bring hot water to the barn every morning and night. Takes no time at all to become mushy. And it's a good way to get extra water into them!
"When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered."CANTER New England
I have never soaked pelleted feed, including hay pellets, and have never had an issue. In a boarding situation, the less work and less of a PIA feeding is, the better. That said, my mare is a slow eater and has never shown any tendencies towards choke. If you have a food bolter or one with a history of choke, soak to be on the safe side. And always soak hay cubes.
Patrick ate those giant pellets in Arizona and he was fine. I wish we could get them out here -- closest I can find is the Alfa-Green alfalfa pellets.
There was one mare that was prone to choke at the barn. She got a soup made from fines -- they also sold bags of the stuff that went into the pellet making machine, basically ground alfalfa. If you can find that, it's easier than soaking pellets to break them back down.