‘As an Equine Physiologist I am constantly looking for answers to all equine nutritional needs. Developing the feed was a fundamental part of this but the search continues. Forage makes up the majority of the equine diet and I wanted to find a solution to the many issues I see in relation to this. Having done extensive research, I have chosen The Slow Forage Feeder as a key part of that solution’

Linda Bennis, Founder, TOTAL Nutrition

The Slow Forage Feeder recommended by Veterinarians, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists & Equine Dentists A Trickle Feeder which is the THE next best thing to Natural Grazing

As a grazing animal, the horse has been designed to eat with it’s head in a low position to enable a natural jaw action which correctly aligns the teeth to ensure forage is properly chewed and ground to promote a healthy digestive system. In addition, it balances the jaw and the body as a whole ensuring tension free muscles of the neck, back and joints of the hind legs.

Key Medical, Physical, and Behavioural Benefits

Colic
can occur for a variety of reasons – the feeder can help prevent this by

– keeping hay contained off the ground so that sand/dirt does not get ingested accidentally

– enabling you to introduce your horse to spring grass gradually. By using the feeder in between turnout times your horse is not suddenly having too much fresh rich grass which overwhelms the digestive system

– feeding your horse little and often, avoiding a build up of gas, and preventing the ingestion of large amounts of forage in a short period of time which can lead to fatal blockages in the digestive tract

Choke

occurs when greedy eaters bolt their food, or horses with poor teeth do not chew and moisten their food sufficiently, which can cause an obstruction/blockage in their oesophagus. This feeder can help prevent this, not only by slowing down each mouthful encouraging more chewing and saliva production but with its hay soaking feature.

Gastric Ulcers
are caused by an accumulation of unbuffered hydrochloric acid in a horse’s empty stomach, irritating the thin and sensitive membrane of the upper stomach. It is estimated that between 60-90% of all stabled horses have gastric ulcers ranging from mild to severe. Insufficient dietary fibre and stress can contribute to ulceration, resulting in a variety of symptoms such as colic, limited appetite leading to weight loss, back or neck pain, a decrease in muscle tone despite exercise, bad temperament and poor performance.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
is when the horse produces a constant, chronic, deep and hollow cough, caused by the inhalation of dust spores from the stable and hay. When these spores are inhaled they can irritate the lining of the respiratory tract and cause an allergic response in the lungs. This feeder has been designed to enable you to soak and drain your hay which causes the spores to swell preventing them from being inhaled by your horse. The containment of your hay within the feeder also prevents the inhalation of dangerous amounts of dust, pollen and mould which can occur when your horse searches through loose hay.
Laminitis
an extremely painful condition of the foot, occurring when the sensitive laminae tissues lying between the pedal bone and the hoof wall become inflamed. One of the most common causes is horses grazing on lush spring or autumn pasture, overloading their digestive tract with rich grass, leading to excess weight gain and causing an overload on the feet. Limiting turn out time during spring and autumn and feeding hay/soaked hay from the feeder in between turn out times can prevent this, whilst helping to maintain a healthy gut bacteria.
Insulin Resistance
is a physiological condition where the horse becomes resistant to insulin produced and is therefore unable to use it effectively. This condition can lead to very high blood sugar, causing problems such as laminitis. For the vast majority of horses it is simply part of their metabolism so management and care are the only real ways to help, as no cure is currently available.
Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)
affects horses from 5 to 16 years old. The underlying reason why some develop it and some don’t is unknown, but affected horses do not properly metabolise dietary carbohydrate and can exhibit exaggerated responses to both glucose and the hormone insulin, with a slow return afterwards. Horses with EMS are typically obese, with an increase in appetite which can lead to laminitis and other weight related conditions such as joint problems. The feeder can help as they are often advised to have restricted or no pasture turnout due to the carbohydrate content in the grass and their inability to metabolise it.
Alignment
when a horse has its head in the correct low position when eating, the muscles of the jaw, neck and back are relaxed, and the hind legs are placed correctly underneath their body, insuring for an even distribution of weight on all four legs. Eating from an unnatural and elevated position, such as a haynet, can cause the horse to become misaligned due to twisting of the neck, unnatural jaw action, tightening of muscles, hollowing of the back, and strain being placed on the hocks.
TMJ, Teeth & Natural Jaw Action
The TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) joins the lower jaw to the skull.

Its two primary functions are structural balance and the grinding of food. When regularly eating from an unnatural high position, as from a haynet, the natural jaw action is impaired potentially creating dental problems leading to issues in the TMJ and surrounding area due to tightened muscles. This can result in a negative impact on digestion, balance, biomechanics through to back pain and an imbalance in the organs.

The feeder is designed for the horse to eat in a naturally low head position, enabling the lower jaw to come slightly forward, perfectly aligning the teeth of the upper and lower jaw. This allows for the proper chewing and grinding of forage, ensuring an even wear pattern on the teeth and relaxation of the muscles surrounding the TMJ. Click here to see video this should link to the Haylo vs Haynet video.

Negative Stereotypic Behaviours

Stress is the number one cause behind all Negative Stereotypic Behaviours, which are abnormal, compulsive behavioural patterns displayed by the horse. These do not exist in wild horses, and have generally evolved as coping mechanisms as a result of domestication, where the horse’s natural needs are not being met, affecting their well-being. In the horses’ natural state, he will use his mouth and feet to meet his needs for eating- being designed to both eat on the move, and to search for food through movement. Restriction of adequate forage, and being confined to small environments which restrict movement, can see a development of the following:

Box walking – Repetitive walking around the stable, resulting from an increase in the need to move and search for food.

Weaving –Repetitive rocking from side to side, shifting weight from one foreleg to the other, putting unnecessary stress on tendons, ligaments and joints.

Crib biting – The horse hooks its teeth onto an object such as a fence rail or stable door. Whilst grasping the object he then drops his lower jaw and opens his throat. The horse will then arch its neck, pull backwards and take in air, making an audible grunting sound.

Stall kicking – The horse kicks the door or walls, either to hear the sound, expend energy or attract attention. Particularly noticeable around feed times.


Certain unnatural behaviours such as destructive chewing and wood biting can be caused by the horse attempting to artificially create the saliva needed to soothe the pain of the build-up of stomach