N.A.G. Bags an acronym for Natural Alternative Grazers is Canada s newest innovation in feeding systems for animals who are natural grazers.
We see in studies very high ulcer rates in show and racehorses higher than in any backyard horse, and a health concern non-existent in wild horses, explains Mandy Blais, founder of N.A.G. Bags.
Horses are, by nature, grazing herbivores, with a stomach and digestive system designed for small, regular meals. In captivity, with meals fed two or three times per day, food consumption at each meal can challenge a stomach capacity of only eight to 15 litres, and the between-meal absence of stomach acid-neutralizing saliva, (which is only produced in horses when they re actually chewing food) can result in acid build up in empty stomachs.
This is the biggest concern and where we start to see health problems like ulcers, cribbing, colic symptoms and other behavioural problems, says Mandy.
And, this is where slow feeders come in. Professional equestrians, equine nutritionists and veterinarians are coming on board as supporters of the slow feeding movement sweeping the equestrian world. It s a simple, but eloquent idea: cast a net over the meal, so by design, horses eat slower, consuming their requisite nutrition over a longer period of time.
N.A.G. Bags are manufactured by Mandy herself, out of Canadian-made netting. Unlike some imported feeding netting which is round nylon cord, apt to create heat and friction on the gums and mouths of feeding grazers, N.A.G. Bags are knitted, soft to the touch, very flat and extremely strong.
Safety is very important to Mandy so she offers specific instructions on the safe use of N.A.G. Bags. For instance, they are not to be used with horned animals and some guidance on prudent placement of the bags and the feed they cover is worth the few extra minutes to ensure. Mandy, educated in agricultural sciences and forage, is knowledgeable in equestrian nutrition and will be offering a demonstration seminar at The Mane Event on correct usage of her N.A.G. Bags as well as some instruction on hay types.
I am very dedicated to seeing show horses and race farms take on this feeding practice. I have a real passion for horses and their welfare and in my years of research on equestrian health and wellness, I have rarely come across such a simple method of ensuring the health, well being and happiness of performance horses as slow feeding when it s done safely, with quality materials and with the animal s optimum comfort in mind, says Mandy.
For more information visit www.slowfeeders.com or, catch Mandy at The Mane Event.