What is “slow-feeding” and why is it important?
Slow-feeding is the name given to forage feeding methods that slow consumption down to mimic natural grazing.
Here at Hoofbeats Holistic, we utilize the NIBBLENET, Hay Chix Hay Bags and Big Dee's small hay nets as our slow feeders. These hay bags and nets contain 1 ½ to 2 inch openings that challenge horses to eat at a pace that more closely resembles their natural grazing instincts.
These hay nets and bags are placed throughout our environment which encourages movement from one area to another. Horses are genetically hardwired to be "trickle feeders", not the "fasters and gorgers" that traditional horse management styles treat them as. There is a vast mountain of research validating free-choice forage as the only option in maintaining healthy horses, and not one single piece of research that endorses large, infrequent meals as an appropriate way to feed horses.
So why has it become "traditional" to feed our horses incorrectly?
As most horse owners know, hay is the single most costly upkeep expense of horse ownership. Grazing is a biological fact that can't be ignored for the sake of human convenience or the increase of profits. Caring for horses is a privilege, and caring for them properly is pure joy. We believe that providing this basic biological need for the continuous uptake of forage is our absolute obligation as good equine stewards.
Providing a horse with free-choice forage should be the undeniable obligation of every horse owner and every stable owner.
We believe that no matter the cost, there is no substitute for excellence in this area.