How many of us get up at the crack of dawn with horses pawing, chewing, calling, pacing… anything to get us out to give them food because nature designed them to graze up to 20 hours a day?
Horses’ digestive systems never truly stop producing digestive acids. When their sensitive stomachs are empty of food they are stressed, prone to colic, ulcers, and boredom leading to destructive stall vices just to mention a few of the consequences.
Feeding two, three or even four feedings a day is unnatural for horses. We are tied to feeding them “small meals” throughout the day because we care about their sensitive digestive systems. With each meal comes an insulin spike. Have you heard an increase in the number of articles or cases of Insulin Resistance (IR)? It is similar to type 2 Diabetes in humans. Meal feeding is playing a large part in this problem. Let’s get the horses back to grazing.
And what are the horse’s eating at night while we are sleeping? Dinner out with friends, overnight outings, a full day away from the barn, those are only memories… UNTIL NOW! Freedom Feeder Extended Day Small Mesh Hay Nets allow your animals to feed naturally 24/7 through a simple “restricted free access feeding” program!
WHY CONTROLLED FREE ACCESS FEEDING?
Controlled free access feeding is based on the idea that horses are grazing animals. When horses have to work for their food it slows down their eating habits causing them to salivate more while chewing and aiding their digestion. Horses actually opt to eat through the 1.5″ mesh opening because it is more instinctual for them to use that grazing motion.
With the improved digestion and added calories in forage, you can and should change your horse’s diet from an alfalfa based “milk cow” diet, to a low calorie, high fiber grass based grazing “horse” diet, adding only as much protein as your horse needs to keep their weight up. Horses can maintain their weight on twice a day alfalfa meals but it only takes 2 hours for their stomach to empty. 4 hours after each meal, acid is pouring into an empty stomach burning the sensitive lining… no wonder they bolt at their next meal. They are trying to stop the pain! Now ask that animal to run, jump, slide and perform at their peak, with all that acid sloshing around in their stomach. Remember, they are flight animals, they eat forage until they are forced to flee, let them eat forage through their Freedom Feeder up to 15 minutes prior to working and see how much happier they are to perform.
In transitioning onto controlled free access feeding, the key is to never let the nets get near to being empty. At first they will EAT, EAT, EAT, but usually within a month even the most aggressive eaters slow down. Part of it is mental, as they have to learn and trust that they will never have to worry when they will be fed again. Once they’ve built that trust and are satiated they’ll start walking away and the food consumption balances out.
Once your horses are transitioned onto Controlled Free Access, you will notice a change in their entire demeanor. They will be more settled, content, have a new glow in their coats and eyes. They will be ready to go to work and be more focused.
For a healthier, happier horse, provide restricted free access to hay 24 hours a day. To order your Freedom Feeder hay nets, Click Here!