How you feed your horse can be as important as what you feed them. Slow feeding has risen in popularity as the benefits become more apparent: slow feeding mimics natural equine behaviour and can curb stall boredom.
Instead of feeding your horse all of its food at once, slow feeding involves breaking up the food into smaller amount that are given to your horse throughout the day. It can be more time consuming, but there are health benefits to this method.
The Pros of Slow Feeding
The #1 pro of slow feeding is the multitude of health benefits to your horse, keeping colic, ulcers, obesity, and laminitis at bay by encouraging a healthy and active digestive tract. By slowing down feed consumption, the action replicates natural grazing and keeps stomach acidity in check.
Other benefits of slow feeding are less hay wastage, horses can’t trample or soil their hay, and a haynet allows for soaking the feed without worry of rot.
The Cons of Slow Feeding
While benefits far outweigh the cons, it’s important to keep in mind that slow feeding is a routine that can take a horse anywhere from a day to thirty to get used to. If you can both work through the initial frustration, the benefits are worth the wait.
All slow feeders should be carefully monitored for caught shoes, teeth, and that the haynet is kept adequately filled to prevent tempting your horse to chew on it. Keep your slow feeder close to the ground, and constructed of non-toxic materials.
The Best Feed For a Slow Feeder
A high-quality Timothy hay that provides plenty of fibre should be your horse’s staple diet. Avoid alfalfa and molasses, as they are high in sugar, which is difficult on a horse’s digestion and can lead to blood sugar spikes, inflammation, tied-up joints and other health problems.
While good nutrition is part of what keeps your horse in top shape, a daily maintenance treatment with the Leg Saver will improve health conditions and has proven to increase racing wins. You can read about our happy clients here, and how Leg Saver attacks inflammation for a healthier, happier horse.