Have you ever gotten the feeling that food is always on your horse’s mind? Your instinct would be correct. Horses by evolutionary design need to graze continually to buffer their nonstop production of stomach acid. You can simulate healthy grazing behavior by using the best slow feeders for horses.
Performance and working horses can suffer from stomach ulcers when their foraging is disrupted by shows and trailering, long hours in a stall, and limited-acreage pasturing.
We evaluated several slow feeders for horses and selected 10 best-performing products based on the quality of materials, durability, expense, customer experience, and the ability to slow the horse’s feed consumption.
10. High Country Plastics SFS-JR Junior Slow Feeder Saver
Ideal for: Horses susceptible to sand colic, single horse
A slow feeder made of durable plastic, the SFS Junior has rounded corners and has a nylon-webbed grate that is secured to a metal frame. Its location on the ground allows your horse to assume a natural grazing position when feeding. The box design has a convenient clean-out slot at the bottom.
- Keeps hay from contacting the ground
- Slows feeding moderately but does not compete with the best slow feeders for horses
- Facilitates natural grazing position
- Very little hay mess
- Horses can lift canvas webbing and bend frame – happens when hay gets low
- Available metal grate more stable – However, horses are susceptible to injuring their teeth, either creating grooves or outright breaking their incisors over time.
- Slides around and has a blind spot – when horses have their heads down, the sides of the bin block their view of approaching horses.
9. Prairie Horse Slow Feed Horse Hay Net
Ideal for: Miniature horses and ponies
Prairie Horse supply makes a poly cord hay net. With two-inch openings, it is ideal to cut down on wasted hay scraps and to slow down your horse’s consumption of roughage. It has an extra-long drawstring, encouraging low hanging.
Always be conscious to remove all hanging cords and straps on your hay nets from your horse’s reach so he does not get head or legs entangled.
- If hung as intended, encourages your horse to eat in a normal grazing posture – this prevents respiratory issues as well as encourage more chewing.
- Strong and durable material
- Metal rings help keep it from untying
- Very affordable
- Holds only a flake of hay
- Material is hard to work with – tying knots is challenging
8. AJ Tack Wholesale Horse Feeding Hay Bag
Ideal for: Daintier eaters in stall, trailer, or at shows
While this bag will not slow your horse’s feeding as much as some of the mesh-style designs, it will not give your equine companion free reign to engulf her feed either. Some horses do better with less material to work their lips around. Still, others become easily frustrated by too many openings.
- Two rings for ease in hanging
- No mesh potentially reduces the contact between the material and your horse’s mouth.
- An extra-large opening at the top of the bag makes it easy to fill.
- Nylon provides more durability and is reinforced at the bottom.
- Feeding hole is large – 7 inches in diameter
7. GATSBY LEATHER COMPANY 284194 Slow hay Feeder Bag
Ideal for: Horses at shows or in trailers
Made of durable poly material with sturdy stitching, the Gatsby hay bag allows horses to extract small amounts of hay at a time. The bag has square openings and can be hung in a stall or trailer or anchored on the ground.
Webbing is on one side with a solid back. The feeder bag is designed to reduce hay wastage and dust.
- Openings small, limiting amount of hay per bite
- Long-lasting for its price
- Easy to load
- Only one strap
- D-rings difficult to maneuver
- Plastic on the back may peel
6. NEFTF Slow Feed Hay Net Bag (Full Day Horse Feeding)
Ideal for: Young horses, rambunctious horses
This is a large woven nylon mesh hay bag made to withstand abuse from playful or bored horses. It reduces wastage of forage and keeps hay off the ground, safe from horses who like to roll.
Secure your hay nets as low to the ground as possible to encourage your horse to eat roughage from a natural grazing position with head down.
- High tensile strength, withstands rigors of pulling
- Holes very small – 1.2″ x 1/2″
- Bag holds enough hay to feed a horse all day
- Easy to fill
- Small holes mean nylon could come into more contact with horse’s gums – check regularly for abrasions
5. Freedom Feeder Round Bale Hay Net
Ideal for: Herds in the pasture
A huge net made of DuPont nylon, this Freedom slow feeder is designed to fit over entire round bales of hay. It provides an opportunity for your horse to graze with her pasture mates. Forage for horses should be comprised of roughage equivalent to at least 1% of their body weight.
Most of it should be high in fiber and low in calories, a diet ideal for the sensitive equine digestive system.
- Durable and heat resistant
- Draw cord cinches at the bottom for your horse’s safety
- Holes are 1.8 inches in diameter, encouraging small mouthfuls
- Reduces competitive and stereotypical behaviors – free-choice feeding reduces the development of vices like cribbing and eliminates anxiety and food aggression associated with meal times
- Offers opportunity for horses to feed with head up
- Does not eliminate soiling of the hay
4. Tough-1 Slow Feed Square Bale Net
Ideal for: Shoeless horses, horses who need to lose weight
Constructed of nylon cord, the Tough-1 is perfect for a standard square or rectangular bale of hay. This is among the best slow feeders for horses when you need to keep an equine in a confined area and yet ensure he is occupied.
Post-surgical horses are often shoeless and need to be confined. the net’s two-inch openings significantly slow down hay consumption.
- Good for easy keepers
- Can fit an entire bale of hay and even more
- You can feed your horse on the ground
- Reduces hay waste
- Cannot be used for shod horses
- If you do hang it, your horse can rip the cinch that holds it
3. Shires Greedy Feeder Haynet
Ideal for: Greedy eaters or horses who bolt food or have a history of choke
Despite the finer rope size, Shires has constructed a durable and highly functional hay net designed for the especially aggressive eater. The exceptionally small holes greatly reduce hay spillage on the stall floor. It comes in a variety of sizes, fitting the needs of most horse owners.
The larger nets are easier to load. It is among the best slow feeders for horses who gulp large amounts of hay.
- One of the smallest-sized holes – 1.25 inches
- Makes horses work hard to extract hay – eliminates boredom and inactivity
- Very affordable
- Moderately durable, the material is strong
- The learning curve is high which can lead to frustration – perhaps not a good introduction to your horse’s first hay net
- High contact with the material could lead to inflammation or abrasions in your horse’s mouth
2. Kensington Slow Feed Hay Bag
Ideal for: Single horse stall or trailer
Textilene mesh makes the Kensington easy to clean and UV resistant, perfect for stall and show site environments. Excellent craftsmanship makes it durable as well. Small holes in the mesh force your horse to take small bites at a time. It has adjustable straps with the traveling horse in mind.
- Square holes 1.5″ x 1.5″
- Decreases hay waste
- Fits up to 4 flakes of hay
- Most users report strong and durable
- Slightly difficult to load it quickly
1. Derby Originals XL Go Around 4 Sided Slow Feed Hay Bale Bag
Ideal for: One or two horses
Constructed of double-layer 1200D nylon, this four-sided hay bag is durable for both stall and pasture use. It allows your horse to graze from all sides. It fits a standard two-string bale of hay, and its versatile design and premium hardware make it suitable to hang from a tree or fence post.
You can also us it as a grazing square on the ground by tucking the hanging rope into the bale.
- Four-sided patented design – people rate this as one of the best slow feeders for horses based on this feature alone.
- Fits easily over hay bale – slide over the top and tie closed
- Feeds one horse for up to five days
- Allows soaking of hay in the bag
- Hard to hang
- Some horse owners may find the holes too large for their greedy eaters
After careful analysis of the facts about material and design and opinions from customer experiences, we chose the Derby Originals XL Go Around 4 Sided Slow Feed Hay Bale Bag as the frontrunner of the best slow feeders for horses.
Despite the fact that it is most suitable for only one or two horses, we were impressed by an equine’s ability to approach it from any side to eat. We also liked the net’s versatile and quality design, its high hay capacity, and its ability to significantly slow a horse’s consumption of roughage.