Horses have evolved as hindgut fermenters, designed to forage for small meals frequently, that, in the natural setting, are spread over around 14 hours grazing each day. Modern management systems often severely restrict a horse’s opportunity to forage, especially where horses are stalled for long periods. This common scenario can result in problematic health and behavioral issues. Whereas access to long periods of foraging tends to decrease such health issues and some behavioral vices.
Some farms have high stocking rates and poor pasture which further limits foraging opportunities even for horses who ‘live out’. Because of this, it’s often a struggle to replicate the amount of time horses spend foraging in a natural setting. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have investigated whether slow-feed hay nets can help replicate the natural foraging behavior of horses. Find out whether it’s something you should try… here