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.
Horses should have access to low calorie, high fiber forage at all times.
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.
But 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! Veterinarian recommended1
Freedom Feeder Extended Day Small Mesh Hay Nets allow your animals to
feed naturally 24/7 through a simple "restricted free access feeding"
Freedom Feeders Small Mesh Hay Nets allow you to create a feeding system.
Spread them out so the horses will self-exercise as they go from bag to
bag. Even in a 12x24 stall, put one at either end of the stall.
These nets can be hung on fences, box stalls, laced closed and thrown on the ground like a pillow. They are made of 1/8"(3mm) Nylon mesh woven into 1-1/2" squares. This material has 250 lb. per strand of tensil strength!
You can use any kind of hay in the
nets The broader the leaf, the slower it goes through the net.
Although we do not recommend free feeding alfalfa, it too can be fed
through the net but the leaves will fall through. If you use a mat or
tub underneath the net it will catch any small pieces and leave zero
Why Restricted Free Access Feeding?
Restricted free access feeding is based on the idea that horses are grazing animals. When given the opportunity, t
opt to eat through a 1.5" mesh opening because it is more instinctual
for them to use that grazing motion. It slows down their eating habits
causing them to salivate more while chewing and aiding their digestion.
With the improved digestion and increased amount of low calorie/high
fiber feed, you can and should change your horse's diet from an alfalfa
based "milk cow" diet, to a 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 for their
digestive acids to fully ramp up. 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.
With each meal comes an insulin spike. Have you heard an increase in
the number of articles or cases of Insulin Resistence (IR)? It 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.
Once your horses are transitioned onto Restricted 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.