This one overeats, chewing at a round bale day and night while his belly grows. That one likes to pick up a mouthful, shake it around, eat two strands, and stomp on the rest. The rest rain mouthfuls of perfectly good forage onto the ground. And all the while you’re asking yourself, “This isn’t the way horses naturally eat in the wild; am I doing the right thing?” 

If your horse overeats, undereats, or wastes his food, it might be time to consider installing a hay feeder in his stall and/or pasture. And lucky for you, researchers are well at work to get feeders right. The Horse has been following their progress, and we’ve come up with 10 “feeder facts” you’ll be happy to know about. 

1. Feeding without feeders, or with inadequate feeders, can lead to health conditions such as colic, intestinal parasites, and malnutrition.

Why not just feed directly on the ground? Despite the fact that horses naturally eat off the ground all the time, placing supplemental forage there might not be in their best health interest.

Ground feeding increases a horse’s risk of developing sand colic as well as intestinal parasite infection.

Ted H. Friend, MS, PhD, faculty fellow and professor of animal behavior and well-being at Texas A&M University, says ground-feeding increases a horse’s risk of developing sand colic, which occurs whe