Pony has recently been diagnosed IR so we've been soaking his hay. How do you handle this in the winter? We've been just throwing the hay in a clean muck bucket full of water and fishing the flakes out with our hands but this morning (39 degrees!!!) it became painfully obvious that we need a better method.
If hay bags aren't convenient for you, try finding a suitable "colander" for your hay that you can nestle into the muck bucket. A heavy duty laundry basket, or a sturdy plastic container with holes drilled in it, would probably do the trick.
You could put the hay in a hay bag then put that in the muck bucket. Then you dont have to freeze off your fingers fishing out hay.
I did this plus set up a very large 'sawhorse'(~5' high) over the muck tub that I could pull the drawstring up over and let the excess water drain back into the tub for a while. Yes, in really bitter cold weather(teens and below) the hay would freeze. I'd usually just toss that haynet into the heated tackroom (~55 degrees) in another muck tub with a towel at the bottom to soak up the excess water for a while and then feed it. Dumping the water out of the initial muck tub daily was a PITA but fortunately one of my big barn doors opened to a summer pasture and drained away from the barn so all that had to be done was to keep that door open to get rid of the excess water. After a heavy snowfall that wasn't always easy but it was doable.
I did this for about 4 yrs for 2 different horses with RAO. Unfortunately I had to treat all my hay like that or keep the RAO horse separate from the other horse for the rest of his life. I was very thankful I only had 2 horses. Once you do it a few times it's not so bad. I actually had 2 'sawhorses' set up and 2 muck tubs so I could do 2 haynets at the same time.
Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!