Should I feed my horse a balancer?

Horse feed balancers are one of the most misunderstood types of horse feed. So what is a balancer? Balancers are a low intake concentrated source of vitamins, minerals and sometimes protein designed to balance the horses diet and provide all the essential nutrients required for optimum health and performance.

Horses fed a healthy balanced diet will have improved coat condition, better quality hooves, more top line and a healthier immune system.

Reasons your horses' diet may not be balanced (and you may want to consider adding a balancer) include:

Horses at pasture 24/7 with no added concentrate feed

Horses being fed straight concentrates only (e.g. sugar beet, oats, alfalfa chaff)

Horses being fed a concentrate feed at less than the recommended quantity

The last point is really important, many horses are fed a balanced feed but are not getting the recommended quantity of feed to supply all the required vitamins and minerals. For example the recommended amount for a 500kg horse of horse and pony cubes is 3-4kg (2 round scoops) per day. For horses on a chaff based balanced ration such as Dengie Healthy Tummy the recommended daily amount is 2.5kg (5 scoops) per day. Feeding below the required amount will result in a vitamin and mineral deficiency. Adding a balancer to the ration is one way to balance the diet without giving large volumes of feed. An average 500kg horse would require approximately 500g of balancer to meet all the vitamin and mineral requirements, significantly less than other types of feeds.

Other reasons to feed a balancer include

Fussy eaters that will only tolerate a small volume of feed

To 'top dress' the feed and enhance the nutrients in horses that would benefit from additional vitamins and minerals in the diet.

To increase the amount of protein in the horses diet without adding large amounts of concentrates, for example horses that are returning to work or that need to build muscle or topline.

Balancers have a range of protein levels and depending on your reason for adding a balancer to your horses feed you can select the protein level to suit your requirements.

In my experience many horses would benefit from a feed balancer and hopefully this blog will help you decide if your horse would. Don't forget we're always on hand to offer advice and help you with your horses' nutrition. Call us on 07747771182 to speak to one of the equine vets.

Jenny xxx