stop a horse from bolting his food

How to stop your horse from bolting his feed


  • Horses that scarf their grain meals down in a few nanoseconds are called “bolters”. You also have a “bolter” if he can take you from one end of the arena to the next county in a few nanoseconds, but this is a story for another day.

Horses that bolt their food are at risk of:



  • Colic


  • Decreased absorption of nutrients (less chewing going on!)


  • Choke and colic are definitely reasons to call the Vet ASAP, and you may not notice the decreased absorption of nutrients immediately, but over time your horse may not thrive.


Why do some horses bolt their feed?


  • Some horses are just plain gluttonous, and some are fearful that their food will be taken by their horse neighbor – even if they eat in a stall.


How to stop your horse from bolting



slow feeder for horse feeds and hay pellets

A slow feeder for grains and mashes is also a good idea!



slow feeder for horses and dogs

Part slow feeder, part carnival ring toss game.


  • Feed more meals with smaller amounts. This is also the best way to feed grain anyway.


  • Add water. I always add water to grain meals, this can help a senior horse with chewing, and it’s a great way to add some hydration. For pellets, this works well, as they expand into mush after about five minutes.



wet beet pulp in a bucket

Feed soup!


  • Create an obstacle course in his feed bucket. Some folks add smooth stones, dog toys or mineral blocks so that the horse needs to work around the obstacles to get the grain.


  • Put the grain meal into a toy that must be manipulated for food to dispense.


horse pushing a horse toy


  • Think croutons on a salad and scatter the grain over the top of his hay pile. This works best if your horse’s hay meal is contained in a large feeder.


  • If your horse is in a herd, consider separating him so he can eat without the threat of his food being stolen.


What has worked for you when feeding a horse that bolts his grain?


go shopping button for horse products

If you would like a slow feeder like the one I use, you can order it here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, and there is no extra charge to you! I truly appreciate your support!


Durvet/Equine D-Pre-Vent Feeder- Black 20X12 Inch


Shires Horse Ball Feeder Blue

Horsemen’s Pride Amazing Graze Treat Toy