Looking for a Hand? (Product Giveaway!)

3 April 2012 Comments

Like most horse people, there are times when I use a haynet. And like most horse people, I hate filling up the haynet with the fire of a thousand suns dislike filling haynets. Most of my hay is loosely-baled coastal, which makes stuffing it into a haynet much like stuffing a kitten into a pet carrier. But without fuzzy kitten cuteness.

I think everyone finds a way to make their life easier. Mine was to stick the haynet in a bucket:

Please excuse the colors in the images, by the way. My hay does not actually resemble bleached straw, but it was night and the barn lighting + flash conspired against me.

The bucket works well enough for occasional hay stuffing—at least I can get it half full before I have to go back to trying to hold the net open and stuff hay into it at the same time. But still—there is stuffing. And swearing. And a general dislike of haynets. Or filling haynets, rather.

So when I had an opportunity to do a product review for Schneiders Saddlery, including the chance to list out horse tack that I thought would be interesting to my readers, I jumped on the Stable Hand.

I’d seen it advertised and I was curious about it, but I was never curious enough to actually buy it. After all, I had my bucket sitting right in my hay room. It worked well enough, and lord knows Ro can think up plenty of other things for me to spend my money on.

So Schneiders sent me the Stable Hand, and I took it out to the barn, opened it, stuck it in my haynet, and voila:

Total failure.

I stared at it for a moment, trying to understand. It’s a sheet of plastic. How complicated could it be? Surely I did not need to go find an instruction manual? I mean, I am a great tester at work because I can break anything, but this was a bit much, even for me.

After a moment, I decided it had just been so tightly rolled during shipping that it was maintaining its shape, and if I turned it around, it would unfold. Or something like that.

Now is the time to admit that I am not a handyman, by any stretch of the imagination. I manipulate words; I hire people to manipulate tools and stuff.

So, a little unrolling and re-rolling in the opposite direction later, I had the Stable Hand in the net, and it was sort of holding up the net:

At this point, I figured it would probably work at least as well as my bucket—I could get it half full and then would have to stuff the rest while holding the net open.

As it turned out, though, as I put hay into the net, I could pull the net up and the Stable Hand still kept it all open. So it was much easier to fill than my bucket method, and in no time at all I had a full net:

My next question was whether the edges of the plastic would catch on the holes when I pulled it out, but that turned out not to be an issue.

My net (ha ha—I kill myself) impression?

Assuming you get it set up right (I imagine I am the only one who could fail that part), it is easier to use than my bucket method. It is definitely easier to use than no method at all. You may have to play with the way it is rolled/how tightly it is rolled to get it to hold the net (or bag, or whatever else you are filling) open, but the plastic seems pretty flexible and like it will hold up to use over time. The edges are a little rough, but that wasn’t a problem with the hay net and wouldn’t be a problem with something like a feed bag. It might be an issue with a light-duty plastic bag, but probably not a heavy-duty bag (e.g. if you were using to help bag up trash or leaves or something).

Would I buy one? Should you buy one? If you stuff a lot of haynets, I would say yes. It really does what it says. I thought my bucket stuffing method worked ok, but the Stable Hand was definitely better than the bucket. If you don’t stuff a lot of haynets, then you might not get enough use out of it to justify the purchase price. However, I would definitely consider this as a gift for the horse person who has everything (or as a White Elephant/Chinese Gift Exchange gift)—I think it’s one of those things people may not be able to justify to themselves, but would happily use if they had their hands on it.

And you can get your hands on one for free!

While I would definitely use this Stable Hand if I kept it around, I never keep sample/review items—too much like receiving payment for the review.

And that means I am giving it away to one of you!

Simply leave a comment explaining why you need the Stable Hand. Make it funny. Make it poignant. Link to a picture of yourself covered in hay, holding an empty net—whatever floats your boat. The most convincing response will receive the Stable Hand. (Note: please make sure you put in a valid email when submitting your comment. I will need it to contact you if you are the winner—and it will be used ONLY for that purpose. It will not be passed on to Schneiders or any other third party.)

Comments can be left through Friday, April 13, and I will announce the winner on Sunday, April 15.

Tagged: Tack & Equipment


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