The slow feeding movement has gained great momentum over the past few years as more and more people (and horses!) discover its benefits. Feeding hay with a slow feeder causes your horse to have to take five to seven nibbles when he would normally grab one big bite of hay. This is great not only for those horses that “vacuum” up their feed, but for almost every horse out there (the exception would be older horses or picky eaters whose consumption levels should not be limited).
Horses in nature browse and graze throughout the day, a practice that best utilizes their digestive systems. Horses in stalls or pens are usually fed two or three times a day, and this taxes their digestive systems. By using a slow feeder, you extend the time it takes the horse to consume his ration (up to 50%), without using more hay, thus feeding in a more natural way. Slow feeding is also perfect for horses that worry about feed time or have vices such as weaving or cribbing. By keeping hay in front of them all day you can diminish their stress levels, and the resulting behaviors.
There are benefits for you, too! Hay will last longer, so it means less work at feeding time. The horses waste less, creating less work for you and less strain on your wallet (especially important in areas where hay is difficult to get). The savings in hay wastage will cover the cost of your new slow feeders in no time, and your horses will have something that keeps them engaged, happy and healthy!