My Hay Barrels

April 7, 2019

I have been using hay barrelS for quite a few years now and every so often someone will ask me about them, like today. Which was ironic because I made a new one today and took photos while doing so. Rather than linking to my old post about making them, here is a fresh new one.

But first, some info on my hay barrels.

It keeps the hay up off the ground (no hay pee piles here) and dry. Win and win.

It fits about a bale, depending on the size of the bale and the net and how low the net is attached to the barrel.

This is an easy project that does not need to be exact. I do not measure anything and just ball park and eyeball my way along.

Some of the steps can be done in different orders. So don’t over think it. Just do it.

Ingredients:

1 barrel – I usually manage to get barrels for free randomly. But even paid for they are cheap. Check Craig’s list and the recycling center near you.

1 large hay net – I prefer a slow feed type of hay net. Small nets will not work properly because the hay will not fall into them efficiently. I also use ones that have been busted up a bit and I no longer use in my trailer. I zip tie up any minor holes.

20+ zip ties – I prefer smaller ones for the barrel/net part and thicker ones for the lid. But I have used different sizes in different sizes.

Rope – a couple yards depending on how far it needs to hang.

A snap of whatever type.

A saw

A drill

Instructions:

The first step is to cut the bottom off the barrel. Throw away the end.

Next is to mark the lid. See the photo two below for the basic design.

I have found it is way easier to drill the holes into this section before cutting it out. You will need to drill 4-6 holes along the lid side and matching holes along the barrel part.

Now cut out the lid.

Drill 16+/- holes around the barrel. You will want these about a foot from the bottom of the barrel. It does not need to be exact.

You will then drill a matching set of holes about 1-2 inches above or below the other set of holes.

The final drilling is to attach the rope. I have done this a few different ways. I’ve put in screw eyes to hook the rope to. But the easier design, which is also my preferred design is to drill one large hole on one side about 1/2 foot from the top. And then two holes on the opposite side about a half foot from the top.

Next I like to attach the net. This is done with zip ties at the bottom of the barrel. Attach one end. It helps to make it even to then attach the opposite side of the hay net opening to the opposite side of the barrel bottom. Then the two other sides. So four corners. Then fill in the others as evenly as possible. Again this is not rocket science, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it done.

Next attach the lid. This is done with zip ties and essentially is putting the lid part of the barrel back into its original place.

Continue by attaching the long rope to the single large hole towards the top. I pop it through and tie a knot on the inside.

On the opposite side of the barrel at the top you will attach one end of a rope the same way as above. Then, making the rope short, attach the other end the same way so you have a small loop on the outside.

Snip off the ends of the zip ties.

Drag the barrel to its destined hanging location and throw the long rope over the branch, pole, beam, rail, etc that it will be hanging from. Hoist the barrel up so that the net is a foot or so off the ground. Attach the snap to the loop and then tie the long rope to the snap, fixing it so the barrel hangs easily at the height you want it.

*You want to try and have the net off the ground when full. But also low enough that you can load hay in the lid. For me this is a close science.

*I suggest leaving a good yard or two or even three of the long rope after the snap. Although the barrel doesn’t need to come down often, on the rare occasion it does I have found I am a bit vertically challenged with getting the rope back over the branch (beam, pole, rail, etc). Just trust me.

*I recommend cleaning the barrel well, and selecting food grade barrels if possible. I also recommend hosing the barrel out after cutting it so you remove any plastic particles and dust before putting hay into it.

*When I am filling my barrels I usually push the lip up and through the hanging ropes and that holds it open for me.

Here is a photo of one of my older hay barrels already holding hay

Thank you to my awesome husband Rich for helping me.

Final 2018/2019 Winter Practice.

April 4, 2019

This past Sunday was the last scheduled winter practice at Almeda Farm in Boyce, VA. We are sure to return in the fall or if the summer drowns is in rain like last summer.

This practice was small and laid back. I was on Simon since he left Possum’s back compromised with a bite in the saddle area. Val was on training project Izzy. And Jenny was on Hacksaw, and testing out a new tack combination.

It’s been a good winter with lots of practices and plenty of participation by different riders and ponies.

Now it is time for the season to step up!

Thanks Almeda, we look forward to coming back!

Sizzlin Spring Pairs Fun Day – March 30, 2019

April 1, 2019

Saturday Stacey hosted an unscored Pairs fun day at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Ranson, WV. It was just for fun and very laid back which was great for a solid competition setting practice. I was very much looking forward to one more competition style practice with my new pony Possum before the season opener in two weeks and I was very excited to ride with my usual Gone Rogue teammate Jon.

I woke up Saturday morning and when I pulled Possum out of the field I noticed he had a bite mark on his forehead and then I noticed a bigger one on his back. The skin was peeled up and it was right in the middle of the saddle area. I felt around it and he ducked uncomfortably away and there was some heat. From there it took me about fifteen minutes to decided a course of action. I put Possum in the trailer, I took Possum out. I grabbed Simon and put him in the trailer, then I decided to unload all the games equipment and put Possum in the trailer too. With both ponies in the trailer, I stood next to it hemming. So I checked my messages. Luckily Val had responded to my earlier message telling her what I found followed by “should I bring Simon or Possum or both?” And she suggested I just bring Simon. Thank you! I needed that. So I took Possum back out of the trailer and put him back out in the field and headed out with just Simon.

I love Simon but I prefer to not compete in games on him. He has absolutely no competitive drive whatsoever. He enjoys playing games slowly, generally with someone still getting their games skills down or learning to ride. He thrives in that situation. But when asked to be competitive he is a pain.

This Saturday was no exception. He started off like a wild man, giving little rears and leaps at the whistle, looking fierce, then loping off slowly shaking his head. He had a lot of up down movement and I felt like a shook up soda bottle. I spent a lot of time kicking, I seemed to flap my arm a lot (not sure how I think that gives him momentum) and yelling at him to go. Sometimes he went slowly. Sometimes he went even slower. Sometimes he didn’t want to break out of the trot, and a few times he moved out a little.

All in all Simon is exhausting to ride.

video of Jon and I:

For myself I did ok. Not my best but not bad either. Some of it was purely Simon. In ball and cone I put the ball down, then he stepped into the cone, I managed to save the ball back off of the cone but then he took the cone out. In bending he smashed into a pole. Just completely ignoring me. But I was the one who popped three balloons instead of two (which was a race he was actually moving out – Simon’s moving out – for). And in founders race I picked up the wrong letter (we were spelling ICK and stupidly I didn’t preplan what I was getting). It was a complete dyslexic moment for me. I was sure I needed the I but heard Linda in the lane next to me yelling “wait which letter” and I had to really think it through before I realized I needed to switch to the C.

Jon was awesome to ride with as he always is. He is so laid back and at the same time encouraging. For races like hula, I knew he wouldn’t let go of Simon until I was on, which worked well and was a race we did super well in. He also has this crazy stirrup up. I am amazed every stinking time he does it. He is also insightful. When I again told him how amazing his stirrup up is he said that it’s the hesitation that puts you in jeopardy. So when you go to get on, have a second of “ah my pony is moving” that second is what looses your timing. Such a good point. We did not miss any hand offs and had a good time riding together.

I wish I had been on Possum but it was still a really fun day.

Spring – Let’s get fit!

March 30, 2019

This is the first winter that Simon has not been kept in shape. With such poor riding conditions preventing me from riding at home because it was either too wet or it was actively raining, and a new pony to get trained up, Simon sat out.

This week I managed to hit up some trails for a quick two hour ride after work. I went up to the VEPCO 240 fire road off Little Dry River Rd and parked at Kritchie Mountain trail and road back that way. I was about 10 minutes in when I heard a car horn from the direction I parked. I kept going but it wouldn’t leave my mind so I turned around and went back. Nothing was out of the ordinary and my mind eased.

I decided to head along the fire road instead, popping out into the electric tower trails and just enjoying the views and nice weather.

This was Daisy’s first ride out in a while as well. I kept it short and slower for her as much as I did for Simon and myself. We are all out of condition.

It was a nice ride.

Gone Rogue Team Practice

March 26, 2019

We had a team practice this past Sunday. All five of us.

I’m just going to say, bring on the season!

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