Ration Balancers vs Regular Horse Feeds

Gayle shows off her horse, IM ALittle Too Kool~ who is in wonderful condition thanks to a very well balanced diet!

I recently received a call from a horse owner that said she needed to put her horse on a diet. Her 1000 pound mare is a body condition score of 7. Her vet had recommended she put the mare on a ration balancer. When she priced products at the local feed store she thought that the price of a balancer was too high. Since her mare has free access to pasture, she felt that 1 pound a day of an economy feed would be good, with a few supplements. She was wonder what supplements would be best for her mare?

I told her she was on the right track to reduce the horse’s calories, but there was an easier way to put the mare on a healthy diet. I pointed out that the feed tag on the product she was feeding had a feeding rate of 0.5 pounds of feed for every 100 pounds of body weight. So, for her mare to get the proper fortification of vitamins and minerals listed on the tag, she would need 5 pounds per day.

Cutting the ration down to only 20% of the required feed rate and adding supplements could get costly, as well as establishing an imbalance in micro and macro minerals. I suggested she consider a ration balancer. The concentrated nutrient levels allow for low feeding rates. A good quality balancer will contain prebiotics and probiotics to help support nutrient digestion. They will also feature guaranteed levels of biotin to support muscle, hair coat and hoof development. In addition they will also have guaranteed levels of amino acids to support muscle maintenance and development. Not to mention that a quality balancer will also use organic trace mineral complexes to increase bioavailability and protein utilization.

When we compared the balancer to top dressing the economy feed, the balancer was a much better value on a cost per day basis.  That’s why it’s always important to do the “cost per day” math, rather than getting fixated on the price tag on the bag, and remember to include the cost of supplements needed if a lower-quality, less expensive feed is being investigated.

5 Replies to “Ration Balancers vs Regular Horse Feeds”

  1. Any recommendations as to which ration balancers you think are the best, the ones that have all of the things you mention above? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ellen!
      I am going to recommend Empower Balance by Nutrena. Keep in mind that all tags are not created equal. Empower balance has guaranteed amino acid levels that support muscle development and maintenance.
      As with trace minerals, Empower Balance has organic trace mineral complexes to help support increased bioavailability, the immune system and protein utilization. Not to mention the added pre and probiotics.

      If you go to http://www.NutrenaWorld.com and select the dealer locator I know you will find a dealer near you.

      Thanks again for contacting us!

    1. Hi Gina,
      Thanks for the question. We would always advocate for the horse to have ad-lib, or continual, access to hay or pasture. This allows their digestive system to mimic their natural conditions more closely, and can be helpful in preventing things like ulcers. Free choice water and salt are also a good consideration. It would also be recommended to work with your veterinarian on the ulcers, and determine a plan of action.

      Best of luck!

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