Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
"And just because feeding horses infrequent meals rather than little & often doesn't always cause colic, doesn't mean that it is 'safe' & problem free, that it is not a contributor or cause of colic or other gut problems. I think the common evidence far & away outweighs any claims of infrequent feeding to be healthy & problem free."
In the majority of studies I've been able to find, the infrequent feeding usually involves feeding grain or concentrates, which would have a different impact than feeding some form of hay. However, the large number of healthy, long-lived horses in southern Arizona, virtually all of which have no access to pasture and most of which eat some amount of alfalfa, certainly DOES indicate that eating alfalfa or not having pasture is not harmful to horses.
Like most mammals, horses adapt. And in fact, most horses are the result of my years of selective breeding, including the ability to live on infrequent meals. In southern Arizona, it is very rare for a horse to have access to pasture. That they live fine - ie, healthy and long - is a pretty significant data point in figuring out if horses gain significant health benefits from pasture grazing.
Humans arguably did not evolve to eat 3 meals a day. There is nothing even remotely natural about the American diet, yet we are living much longer and staying in reasonable health much longer than our ancestors.
"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."