Slowfeeding is a slow intake of forage.
So the nutrition that is closest to the natural one. On our farm inseparable in the pastures and in the boxes are hay nets!
It covers 100% of the horse’s need for slow food intake.
What is slowfeeding? Why do we support this idea?
Currently, keeping horses in stables is the most popular horse maintenance system.
In some stables horses spend 10-12 hours on the padock, in other 1-2 hours on a pasture. They spend the remaining time in the stable.
Often in stables, the concentrate feed is given 3 times a day, sometimes 2. Forage is mostly processed (muesli, granulates) which additionally shortens the time of eating. The small amount of hay is given before – sometimes half a cube and sometimes 2 slices. No matter, this amount of loose hay the horse is able to eat very quickly.
Nobody can deny that a horse is an animal of open spaces. Designed for walking for a minimum of 18 hours a day constantly searching for food.
In a natural environment, the horse traveled even 20-30 kilometers a day. From a clump of grass (not necessarily similar to the juicy grass we currently want to feed it), to a clump of grass or shrubs, weeds, herbs or a waterhole. In the meantime, he devoted himself to short naps and rest (he spent 6 hours a day without moving). Such a lifestyle has led to a series of anatomic and physiological adaptations. The digestive tract of the horse is not made to be 100% full, nor completely empty, so many owners struggle with the problems of colic and ulcers, but also cribbing!
To avoid problems, we should try to introduce the rhythm of nutrition that will be closest to the natural one.
It is extremely important that the horse does not eat full mouth. He does not do it in nature. In principle, he could eat one blade of grass at a time.
The roughage is the basis!
The horse must have constant access to roughage. To give it, the best is a hay net. Otherwise, the horse will swallow large bites of inexact chewed feed. The horse, eating with small bites, thoroughly chews food, the digestion begins at the very beginning of the digestive tract and is thoroughly mixed with saliva, the hay goes to the stomach
The amount of feed that actually IS and is waiting to be eaten is also important.
Seeing that there is no lack of food, the horse will feed more slowly and with smaller portions. He will also have time for other horse activities. Walk, play with companions, take a nap. He will bite, slowly digest and come back to eat again which is best for his health.
We know this view: a horse released from the box for pasture or a paddock on which a hay bale stands, disappears in the grass or inside a hay bale for a long time.. An hour and a half after it stops eating, stomach acid production … Stop! Gastric acid is produced constantly. It is neutralized by saliva, which gets into the stomach when the horse gets food. When the horse stops eating, the acid begins to accumulate because the production of saliva stops. Acid effects on the stomach wall result in ulcers. To prevent them, the horse should be provided with uninterrupted access to roughage. Interesting fact: the horse in natural conditions “produces” an incredible amount of saliva, about 40 liters a day!
Horses are completely dependent on their owners.
That is why we are responsible for their well-being and health. We provide them with the right amount of movement each day, veterinary care, the right feed. Let us make sure that they can eat in the most natural and healthy way for them. Hay nets are safe, hay loading can be simple (just choose a net with the appropriate diameter, for example a bag with bottom), significantly reduces the costs of horses maintenance and makes the horse care less time-consuming and labor-intensive.
No matter if we have a sport horse, recreational horse or other horse for special tasks, it does not matter what function our horse performs on a daily basis. The basic need for slow uptake of roughage is the same for everyone. Regardless of whether we keep our horse on a fenced catwalk or in a box, what we can do to make it healthier is to take time with food by feeding hay in a mesh of medium-sized mesh.