What are Feed Balancers? Feed balancers, or ration balancers as they are sometimes referred to, are a versatile approach to feeding horses. Yet despite their usefulness, there is still so much misunderstanding of this type of horse feed. Whilst they might look like just another pelleted feed, they will provide that extra ‘punch’ to any feeding programme. We all want our horses to look and feel their very best with a happy outlook on life. Keeping their diets as close to nature as possible ie mostly forage, is the best way to achieve this.
So What Are Fibregenix Feed Balancers?
A Fibregenix balancer may seem like any other vitamin/mineral supplement for your horse. However, it provides every daily essential nutrient in a low-intake, low energy, highly concentrated source. And not just vitamins and minerals. Added extras such as specific digestive aids to promote a healthy gut and improve feed utilisation are also included. This makes a Fibregenix Feed Balancer the ultimate ‘all in one’ feed product.
These balancers are designed for when additional calories are not required. And they’re fed in much smaller amounts than standard hard feeds. Usually 100g per 100kg bodyweight (500 grams for a 500kg horse). Your standard 50-100g of a vitamin and mineral supplement just won’t match the functionality provided by a proper balancer.
So when, why and how would I feed a Feed Balancer?
Fibregenix Feed Balancers can be used in the following ways:
Fed alone as a low-calorie source of protein, vitamins, and minerals to balance forage.
Depending on forage quality, your horse should be able to get all his daily essential nutrients from pasture or hay. However, it’s widely recognised that modern forage and pasture is frequently deficient in minerals and other nutrients. Forage analysis can help you pinpoint exactly what is lacking. This is when a balancer is a great way to counteract these deficiencies. Furthermore, feeding the recommended daily amount of a balancer means no additional vitamin or mineral supplement should be required.
Fed alongside ‘Straights’.
Some owners prefer to incorporate ‘straights’ such as lupins, oats, barley etc with beet pulp, chaff, oil etc. Whilst great ingredients, they can leave a diet unbalanced in some specific areas such as macro minerals. So, a balancer is ideal for this type of feeding programme. The main components of the feed provide the calories. And the balancer is added to ‘fill in the nutritional gaps’ of these ingredients, supplying amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
Feeding less than recommended?
Concentrated balancers really come into their own if you need to feed less than the recommended quantities of a hard feed. For example, a performance muesli or pellet. Maybe you’re cutting back your horse’s feed to keep weight down or to avoid hot behaviour. In this way, balancers are ideal, providing essential nutrients for health and performance without additional energy (calories) or starch. They also give you the option of feeding smaller amounts of a lower energy hard feed. Then you can top up the nutrient, (but not energy) levels, to meet the increased demands of work or competition.
Many modern horse breeds maintain weight on limited calories, even when asked to perform hard work. Because of the concentrated nature and low feeding rate, a feed balancer can meet all the protein, vitamin, and mineral needs. And it does this without adding excessive calories or starch to the diet. Even those on stable rest/convalescing benefit from a source of essential nutrients without the calories, provided by a balancer.
Added Extras in Balancers:
Whilst feed balancers are a modern and cost-effective approach to feeding horses, you need to do your research. Not all balancers are created equal, and the best balancers should be:
- Ideally free from whole cereal and molasses.
- A specialist tailored range catering for different types of horses and ponies rather than a ‘one balancer suits all’ approach.
- High in functionality with specific digestive enhancers eg nucleotides and approved probiotics and prebiotics. These are key to ensuring digestive health and maximising nutrient yield from forage.
Take Home Message: Ultimately, the beauty of a feed balancer is the flexibility provided in customizing the nutritional management of individual horses. Keep your horse’s diet as simple as possible. This means more emphasis on fibre feeding as the healthiest approach for your horse. Keeping it simple with a Fibregenix feed balancer is an ideal means to satisfying nutritional demands even for working horses.