Slow Down Hay Eating

I have a question about hay feeding. I have heard someone makes some sort of system that helps horses not gulp down their hay in big mouthfuls. I cannot find anything on where to get anything like that. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Thanks. DB, Texas

Dear DB,

This is a fascinating topic and developing quite the cult following! I invite you to go to http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/ for a complete list of options, tips on getting started, and loads of pictures and videos. There’s also information on creating a stimulating environment or “natural boarding” for your horse as well as managing insulin resistance. Interestingly enough, this wiki website has folks claiming the slow hay feeding approach has both caused their easykeepers to lose weight and their hardkeepers to gain weight. And I can see the value in small amounts of hay frequently for the ulcer-prone horse.

There are a number of methods to slow hay eating depending on how much you want to spend, how skilled you are at building things, how much time you have, and ultimately, how you keep your horse. The website above uses these categories:

  • Hay nets — from specially made small mesh hay nets to hockey, tennis and baseball nets
  • Hard sided hay feeders owners build themselves, most have metal grids in them
  • Plastic barrel feeders that can be handmade or purchased
  • Hay cube dispensers – also handmade or purchased
  • Round bale options (not my preferred choice)
  • Automated feeders

No matter which method you decide to try, it’s important to observe how your horse interacts with the feeding system and to make sure it’s safe.

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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One comment on “Slow Down Hay Eating
  1. Saw this feeder ar road to the horse. Makes a lot of sense. take a look.

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