By Melissa Auman, Founder and President of Freedom Feeder®
Slow feeding has been shown to benefit performance horses in many different ways:
Performance horses are under a lot of stress. Stress can be caused by high volumes of concentrate feeds; by transportation; new, high energy environment and noises they are unfamiliar with; and the rigors of training and competition. Stress can cause gastric ulcers, stall vices and lack of concentration due to discomfort.
Equine Nutritionist, Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D says “a steady, constant supply of forage keeps your horse’s digestive system healthy, but it’s especially important in ulcer prevention. The horse’s stomach secretes acid all the time. Chewing creates saliva, a natural antacid.” Slow feeding reduces ulcers by requiring horse to take smaller bites and chew more creating more saliva and keeping forage available for your horse for longer periods or even better, 24/7.
Slow feeding, like having a “pasture in a net®” mimics grazing, the act of which is calming. When fed this way all the time, it provides a familiarity from home.
Slow Feeding keeps the horse busy longer, prepares your horse’s digestive system for performance and helps them to concentrate on their job, not digestive upset. Slow Feeding eliminates the need for feed aggression or to get attention to be fed by weaving, pawing, head tossing or kicking the stall which are exacerbated by stress and lack of forage.
An aside to free choice slow feeding at shows means that your horse is already fed. You can concentrate on preparing for your performance instead of making sure your horse is fed and happy.
Not all slow feeders are created equal. Get one that is soft yet durable, easy fill, enough capacity for at least 24 hours, has an outstanding warranty and is made in the USA. That’s a Freedom Feeder® Slow Feed “Pasture in a Net®”. Available through www.FreedomFeeder.com and many retail outlets.