Slow Hay Feeders
The slow feeding concept benefits horses psychologically and physically. It also saves you money by decreasing hay wastage whether your horse lives indoors or out. Slow feeders reduce anxiety during feeding time, and boredom related behaviors like cribbing,wood chewing, and stall weaving. Having to work for their food keeps the horse busy, out of trouble, and their stomach is never empty. Slow feeders can reduce stomach ulcers and impaction colic. They do not cause insulin spikes like rationed feeding. These feeders closely mimic natural grazing. There is a great article about them in Equus Nov 2011.
Slow hay feeders come in many styles, small mesh hay nets (least expensive), barrel type, and hard sided box type.
This website has links to factory made slow feeders, and ideas for inexpensive Do It Yourself feeders. If you make your own, keep in mind that horses are hard on their slow feeders and strong materials are important. Small Mesh Hay Nets are best used with barefoot horses and can be thrown on the ground or hung (I prefer locking carabiners to attach). For any slow feeder, use larger holes for thin horses or for transitioning new horses to feeders. Use small holes for overweight horses.