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How to travel with loose hay and why would I want to...

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  • EdOIA
    started a topic How to travel with loose hay and why would I want to...

    How to travel with loose hay and why would I want to...

    Hoping for some of the excellent insight I see at Chronohorse all the time! The questions are about loose hay and traveling with it.
    Background: The new owners at my barn are buying large bale hay and while that seems to work pretty well at the barn from a trailer pulled by an ATV, I've made the case that it's too hard to manage for traveling to shows and such.
    The first couple times we traveled with basically a pile of hay in the truck bed under the trailer neck... then on a tarp in the feed stall. That was a nightmare, but they didn't have any other option. Typically I am not able to park next to the stall at a show and going back to the trailer can be a truck ride away...

    So that's the first question; do folks travel with loose hay or hay from large bales? How do you do it?

    The second question is more around how many folks out there are NOT provided small bales (40-50#) that are human handle-able when they travel. So far, my barn has said that if I don't like traveling with the loose hay, or want to bag it for the trip, they are happy to sell me small bales at full post. I think I'd need 12-15 sizable hay bags to mange a 3 days show which is like $3-400 for decent ones. That price and the fact that I only use those bags at shows makes me think it's not a good way to spend money... and I don't see loose hay, or frankly, anything like this approach at any shows I've been to. It's embarrassing to drag your hay in on a big tarp!

    Further, I have a principled problem in paying for hay twice. I don't have a problem paying for the difference in cost between large bale hay and small bale hay, but it's hard to stomach paying twice; once for the hay I can't use because it's in the home barn and again for the small bales I have to take with me.

    In the end, we're not talking about a ton of money per traveling event ($6-8/bale is what they are charging me, so $24/$32 a show for my two horses and 3 days) and I don't want to make it a big thing, I think without exception, anyone I speak to about this seems to think the barn is being stupid and shortsighted (their words) by making traveling (and thus spreading the good word of the barn) for their clients harder instead of easier. So far, without saying much more than 'yeah, my barn only has large bales and loose hay for traveling'; the response is universally negative...

    What are your thoughts folks?

  • clanter
    I'm in CA and our barn's hay comes from OR
    I am in Texas and my hay comes from California.... truckers loved us

    As for traveling with hay, we like many are using "small" three string bales.... the alfalfa we buy can be in bales up to 135 pounds (we buy by the scaled weight)... when we need some to take with in the trailer I just feed a bale down to lighter more manageable weight then retie the strings.. no big deal, no change of hay being fed, no running off to get a small bail as I can size the bale to whatever size I want

    Leave a comment:

  • Scribbler
    Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post

    Why would getting small squares automatically mean changing hay? In Florida, people that feed coastal rolls can get coastal squares. In Ohio, people that feed O/A or T/A or just grass hay rolls can typically get the same as small squares. Perhaps there's some areas where this isn't the case, but I'd bet more often than not, it is the case.
    Getting the same species of hay and getting the same batch of hay are 2 different things.

    I self board and typically can fit about one and a half tons in my storage area. Right now I'm dealing with one hay dealer for Timothy. He does source from different places but when I get a load it tends to be all from the same farm and lasts me 5 months at least. It's 3 string 11O lb bails.

    If we pick up a 50 lb bale at the feed store for going camping or to a show, it would absolutely be different hay, horses might or might not eat it. Had this happen camping a few weeks ago. Yes it was Timothy, no they didn't like it thank you very much.

    If its local grass hay, even more variable, you have no idea what's in there, people will even bale reed canary grass.

    Leave a comment:

  • Xanthoria
    Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post

    Why would getting small squares automatically mean changing hay? In Florida, people that feed coastal rolls can get coastal squares. In Ohio, people that feed O/A or T/A or just grass hay rolls can typically get the same as small squares. Perhaps there's some areas where this isn't the case, but I'd bet more often than not, it is the case.
    I'm in CA and our barn's hay comes from OR - definitely tough to say if a different format hay came from the same area. And obviously, species of grass is only part of the nutritional equation, the dirt it was grown in being the other.

    Leave a comment:

  • mmeqcenter
    Originally posted by rothmpp View Post
    I guess I'm the outlier here. I would not want to change the hay my horse was getting just to take him to a show. To me, that's asking for intestinal trouble. But I'm a dressage rider that goes to a show once a month, not a H/J rider that spends weeks on end on the road.
    Why would getting small squares automatically mean changing hay? In Florida, people that feed coastal rolls can get coastal squares. In Ohio, people that feed O/A or T/A or just grass hay rolls can typically get the same as small squares. Perhaps there's some areas where this isn't the case, but I'd bet more often than not, it is the case.

    Leave a comment:

  • rothmpp
    I guess I'm the outlier here. I would not want to change the hay my horse was getting just to take him to a show. To me, that's asking for intestinal trouble. But I'm a dressage rider that goes to a show once a month, not a H/J rider that spends weeks on end on the road.

    We fed regular bales where my horse was boarded. The expectation when I would go to a show was that the BM was fine with me taking a bit extra over what he would get at home, but I was very diligent about feeding a flake or two at a time and would always take good care of the bales I took with me and returned what I did not use, tied up all neat. Horse is going to eat, either be it at home or at the show.

    Do you all expect to have to buy your own grain for a show as well?

    This is one of the reasons that I think I could never show H/J. The thought that I was double paying for basics would drive me insane. I get that I have a unused stall at the home barn, but the daily costs are negligible if I'm spending the month at a series of shows. Empty stall at home, no grain, no hay, no shavings, no stall cleaning, no turnout, etc... plus paying a premium at the show for EVERYTHING.

    Shavings is another story. I never expected my barn to provide those - the amount of shavings to cover a stall at a show is going to be at least triple what he'd go through in the same time frame at home, between turnout and already existing shavings in his stall.

    OP - I'd probably invest in a crapload of haynets. If your horse will tolerate the small hole nets, you'll have a ton less waste or vacuuming on unfamiliar ground if you were just feeding on the ground. It's going to take some time to prepare enough to take to a multi-day show versus just tossing a couple of bales in the truck, but if your BM is ok with you taking existing hay, it's the best for your horse, IMO.

    Bonus also being that hay in a net is going to be much easier to manage while traveling and to move around once you get to the show.

    Leave a comment:

  • Hilary
    Haychix nets. They hold a lot of hay and are really sturdy. I get my hay from my own fields in small squares. It is extremely labor-intensive. So we are considering going to large squares. One of my first thoughts was how will I go to a horse show. Then I realized that I go to horse shows about 15 days per year so why am I throwing 400 small bales of hay when I only need 15. I need the net for day trips anyway so just get two more for show days.

    Leave a comment:

  • jawa
    I use the XL square bales at home. It is WAY cheaper than buying small squares and easier to feed/portion out hay than round bales. I bought 2 extended day small hole hay nets. I can get 1 1/2 of the XL flakes into them. 1 flake generally weighs around 35 lbs. I can get 2-3 days of feeding out of one hay net depending on the weather and grazing available.

    You could easily fit 1-2 XL flakes into a bale bag. If I were you, I'd get the one with wheels attached to ease moving it. You could also get one of the Stanley tool trunks from Lowe's and use it to store extra flakes of hay. They come with wheels and have a great handle. A friend of mine uses one as her tack trunk.

    Leave a comment:

  • paintedpony
    Will the show staff deliver to your stall? Here we just book hay and shavings with stalls. Slightly more expensive than bringing your own, but way more convenient. (Providing your horse can/will eat it).

    Leave a comment:

  • 2DogsFarm
    Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post

    If you’re trying to eradicate single use plastics from your life that won’t work. Hay bags can be found used, and used many many times. Over time their cost us likely to be about the same.
    These bags are tough enough to last through several shows. I fold up the empty ones & use until they eventually get a hole or rip large enough so no longer useful... which takes quite some time.

    Leave a comment:

  • 2DogsFarm
    Originally posted by poltroon View Post
    I would personally not put hay in garbage bags - hay is poky and will make holes; plastic traps moisture and heat. Both your hay and your plastic garbage bags quickly are the worse for wear.
    poltroon The Contractor bags are a lot tougher than the ones made for household use.
    They are meant to contain rubbish like old drywall, lath framing, all sorts of "poky" stuff from demo at construction sites.
    For the limited time hay is stored in these bags at a show - even a weeklong stay - hay stays dry & edible.Stored in a tack stall it prevents fines getting all over everything too.
    A plus for me is the filled bag also acts as padding/stabilizer for the cart it sits next to in my trailer.

    Leave a comment:

  • poltroon
    I would personally not put hay in garbage bags - hay is poky and will make holes; plastic traps moisture and heat. Both your hay and your plastic garbage bags quickly are the worse for wear.

    I have sometimes put a flake or two in a discarded feed bag. Those are tougher, trap less heat and moisture, and they're already trash.

    Leave a comment:

  • TheHunterKid90
    Are you talking round bales? Or large square bales.
    At home I feed large squares of alfalfa and 2nd cutting grass off round bales. I get small bales of straight alfalfa to take to shows.
    Occasionally I have a horse or two that can’t handle straight alfalfa and needs grass hay at the horse show...I couldn’t come up with an easy way to transport a decent amount of hay for 4 or 5 days without a gigantic mess. I had a Brazilian working for me at the time and we just so happens to have what I call, a middle of a round bale left...meaning 80% gone, just the tightly rolled center....he took industrial sized plastic wrap like you would wrap a bundle of wood with and be wrapped the roll of round bale up and popped it in my trailer. Worked like a charm!
    Perhaps if you have a show schedule the barn could leave middles of the round bales to the side and you could wrap them up and take them as you need for travel?

    If they are utilizing large squares, you can pull off the number of flakes needed, simply stack them one on top of the other and then wrap in a tarp like a present and tie off with baling twine. It’s a pain but it works and much cheaper than buying small squares

    Leave a comment:

  • mydogs
    I was fortunate that my last barn let me take the hay that my horse would normally eat, but that always required the stable manager to be present to provide that to me, since they knew how much he was fed. If I wanted more (which, I did since they weren't going out in a paddock while at the show), I paid for the additional hay bales.

    I view hay the same as bedding. When I go to shows, I don't think twice about paying for the bedding at the show, even though my horse isn't at the barn using up new bedding. I just pay it.

    Leave a comment:

  • joiedevie99
    My barn provides hay for shows, but not shavings. I'd consider it a perk, not something they are required to do. I'd just buy the small squares. I take 3 bales (~120 lbs.) for a 4 day show - so I'd be hard pressed to figure out how to pack that much loose hay conveniently. I've actually never seen anyone at a show with anything other than small bales or chopped hay (Dengie). I'm sure that's partly a function of geography though.

    Leave a comment:

  • HungarianHippo
    Yeah, I don't think it's up to the barn to supply hay to you in a way that's convenient for travel. Small squares are much more expensive per lb than rounds, so it's not like it's an even trade. Just buy the squares.
    To transport across show grounds, you could get one of the huge duffles recommended above, and strap it to a dolly cart like this

    ETA: To (potentially) cut down on bale cost, you could estimate how many bales you'll need for the full showing season and buy that many from a cheaper source (and store them somewhere). Or negotiate a price with your barn where you pay upfront for all those bales.

    Advantage of this is you'd have the opportunity to start mixing in the new hay a few days before the show so it's not a hard switch added to the stress of a show.
    Last edited by HungarianHippo; Aug. 19, 2019, 04:32 PM. Reason: added info

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  • Knubbsy
    I had a trainer who only bought round bales and to distribute it to stalls and for long-haul trailering, it was peeled off the round bale and put in clean, hay-only 32-25 gallon trash cans. It was nice since they were on wheels and therefore easy to move around.

    Leave a comment:

  • 4horses
    Just buy regular bales and some extra large garbage bags. I bag my hay so it doesn't blow all over in the trailer.

    Leave a comment:

  • mmeqcenter
    Originally posted by trubandloki View Post

    This is my thought too.

    When I boarded I never expected my barn owner to provide bedding or hay for me at shows. My horse got substantially more of both (bedding and hay) at shows than he did at home.

    They are willing to let you take the hay your horse would eat at home, but you do not want that hay. So they will charge you going rate for small squares.... seems very logical.
    Agreed. I’ve always bought my own bedding to take to shows, and if the barn fed rolls or something not easy to take, I’d just buy small square bales to take.

    Leave a comment:

  • MissAriel
    We have the three string 100lb + bales, and when we go to a show we rarely need a full bale. I use the super sized FRAKTA bag from IKEA to make hauling the partial bale easier and tidier.

    you can even order from Amazon:

    Leave a comment: