Some of our horses have figured out how to outwit their slow feeders, and are once again eating their hay more quickly than is good for them. To these horses, we dedicate the "Challenge Feeders" designs.
The designs on this page are NOT RECOMMENDED for introducing the concept of slow feeding to an uninitiated horse. Rather, think of this page as the graduate level resource for a PhD Horse (Phast Hay Devourer).
My horses have been able to figure out everything that I do and their hay wasn't lasting long at all. I've gone through a vertical slowfeeder, Buffet Bags, nets with 2 inch holes, nets with one inch holes, hay bags on the ground...you name it I've tried it. And they've figured them out in no time flat!! So this is my latest attempt...It's 3' by 3' and covered in antifatigue mats with rubber mats over that...my horses paw and Orion really wore down one side of his hoof on my first slow feeder. The grid is made from dowels and right angle copper connectors. It has Shrimp netting stretched across and attached. This is attached to the bottom of the feeder as it is too light to just rest there. They spent the first 4-5 days staring at it and would only eat if I pull some hay out. Now they are eating from it regularly and it really does slow them down...finally!!! BTW the holes are only one inch.
May 24, 2009
SMHN by Brandi: Thicker Rope = Bigger Knots
Jewel eating from a SMHN Challenge Feeder clipped to a Hay Tree.
The holes measure the same size as on the Miller's/Dover/Smith Brothers
SMHN (4 cm or 1.5"), but the rope is thicker, creating larger knots.
The distance between knots is 3 cm. Miller's SMHN knots are 3.5 cm apart.
The hardware is a half-inch marine shackle bolt with a single-end snap clipped to a hitching ring. The shackle bolt goes through the one-inch bottom ring of the snap.
It takes Jewel, Ally, and Stella significantly longer to finish hay from Brandi's creation. Often, some hay is left at the bottom. But the hay bag isn't fully broken in yet, and they used to leave hay at the bottom of the Dover SMHN when *it* was new to them.
As they become more sophisticated about eating from slow feeders, it pays to increase the level of difficulty.
June 11, 2009
Update, next day: They have now finished every bite from the last three fillings of Brandi's SMHN.
See it compared to others on our SMHN Comparison Chart
________________________________________________________________________________________Miller's SMHN -- Double-Bagged
NibbleNet - Extra-Slow Feeder Prototype with 1-1/4" Openings