Continuous Slow
Feeding Systems for Horses

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Continuous Slow Feeding

This page explains how continuously slow feeding horses using our Healthy Horse Feeders combines the undeniable health benefits for your horses with the convenience and ease of use, as well as the huge cost savings - making the Drury Healthy Horse Feeders the ultimate investment for you and your horses.

The majority of horse-feeding methods employed today are designed for the ease of the horse owner and don't address the health and well being of the actual end user – the horse. The Drury Healthy Horse Feeders are designed specifically with the health of your horse as the top priority.


Why our Healthy Horse Feeders are good for your horse(s).

Drury Healthy Horse Feeders are uniquely designed for continuously slow feeding horses as they regulate both the amount and the rate of hay a horse can eat. Our Healthy Horse Feeder's feeding method is modeled after the way horses naturally forage, promoting much healthier eating habits for your horse.

Many horse owners are not familiar with the term "bolus eating", which is an expression used to describe horses that eat hay free choice and en-masse. Feeding hay this way means that it is consumed without being properly chewed, which is vital for proper digestion. Next time you feed your horse, take the time to observe them eating in this manner. It is very similar to a child eating candy without stopping until it is all gone.

Slowing down the rate at which horses can access hay means that the crucial process of digestion is slowed down and the vital nutrients in hay can be absorbed much more efficiently. Slow feeding horses provides a continuous feeding method which means your horse will constantly be foraging, thereby stimulating their digestive system as well as their mind. Under these conditions your horse's body will work in better balance, as nature has intended. Consider free roaming horses living in the wild that spend the majority of their waking hours searching for food; history/research shows that these horses are seldom sick or have problems with their feet.

Because horses only sleep 3 to 4 hours in a 24 hour period and usually no longer than 20 minutes at a time, food tends to be their main focus. Many horse owners across the globe utilize the practice of feeding their horses 2 to 4 times per day and generally in quantities that can be consumed by the horse in an hour or two (the harmful effects of this are explained below). Equally as harmful is the commonly found large round and square bale feeding methods which usually consist of the large bales being dumped into bulk feeding devices more suited for cattle, or just dropped on the ground. These methods allows the horse to eat in a bolus manner without anything restricting the speed they eat or how much they eat. To really understand how devastating these conventional feeding methods are to your horse, you need to understand how a horse's digestive system works. The following is a snap shot of that process.

Do you know what tells a horse he's full?

The horse's receptors for feeling full are located in its CHEWING MUSCLES – NOT IT'S STOMACH. In nature a horse chews its food slowly and thoroughly, therefore never over-consuming. If he eats too fast (which is encouraged in most traditional methods of feeding) he will not feel content and full when he is supposed to which leads to over-eating. Because he is not chewing properly the horse thinks he is still hungry even though he's eaten more that he needs to which in turn can cause him to be nervous, edgy and disobedient. This is comparable to a diabetic human or the opposite a hypoglycemic person experiencing feelings of weakness, disorientation and irritability because food is not distributed evenly throughout the day.

The horse's stomach is relatively small for its size (about 8-15 liters) and food passes through in as little as 12 minutes. From the stomach the food passes on to the small intestines where it only stays for about 90 minutes. This means that 90 minutes after the stomach is empty the small intestine is empty also. This creates a problem for the horse because of the continuous production of digestive fluids, which, may 'burn' the inside of the digestive tract when there is no food there to absorb it. This is what occurs when horses are fed 2-4 times per day. The food is eaten, digested and passed through in about 2 hours leaving 5-6 hours, three times a day when your horse will have nothing in its stomach to soak up the acidic digestive fluids. The small volume of the stomach and the rapid passage of food from the stomach is the reason horses should eat almost continuously and why slow feeding horses is SO important to their health. Please think about this!

An interesting observation we have noticed is our horses manure compared to other horses fed free choice hay. Our slow feeding horses' manure shows hay that is completely chewed, whereas, manure of free choice fed horses shows hay coming through whole or in longer lengths.

With the Drury Healthy Horse Feeders, your horse cannot rush through their daily ration. Slow feeding horses using our feeders ensures that they will actually be eating just a few strands of hay at a time and will chew every single strand of hay more thoroughly which properly prepares the food for their digestive system. This affords your horse a better chance to reach his chewing level, which is so vital in order for him to feel happy and content with the amount of food he receives. Secondly, continuous feeding means you manage to balance your horse's feed around the clock, mimicking nature's way of providing a healthy pasture for your horse to graze upon.

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