When to Feed Ration Balancers

two horses looking over a fence representing when to feed ration balancers

Feeding horses a balanced diet is essential for their overall health and well-being. In cases where horses receive a low amount of grain or appear to be lacking something in their diet, incorporating a ration balancer can be beneficial. This article discusses the importance of feeding ration balancers and highlights key features to consider when selecting one.

Understanding Nutrient Fortification Needs

Identifying Nutrient Gaps

When reviewing a farm’s feed program, it’s important to assess whether the horses are receiving proper nutrient fortification. In some cases, horses may only be receiving a small amount of grain, leading to potential nutrient deficiencies.

One Farm’s Problem

When we looked at the tag on her feed, the problem was obvious.  Her feed was designed for to be fed at a rate of 0.5 – 0.75 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight.  This means that to provide proper fortification for a 1000 pound horse, she would need to feed 5 – 7.5 pounds per day.  By that standard, her horses that were only getting 1 lb per day were not receiving the nutrient fortification they needed for optimum health, and thus her feeling that  “they appeared to be lacking something”.  Her farm was feeding good quality hay at a rate of about 2% of each horse’s body weight, and the overall body condition of the horses was good, but we needed to balance the amino acid and vitamin/mineral fortification.

Balancing Amino Acids and Vitamins/Minerals

To address the nutrient deficiencies, incorporating a ration balancer can greatly improve the horse’s diet. Ration balancers have a low feeding rate, typically ranging from 0.25 to 1 pound per head per day. However, they provide a concentrated mix of extra vitamins, minerals, and protein essential for horses to achieve their full potential. While the protein level of a ration balancer may be around 30%, it’s important to understand that when comparing feeding rates, 1 pound of a 30% protein feed is equivalent to or slightly less than feeding a standard 12% feed at a higher rate.

Key Features of Ration Balancers

Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Organic Complexed Trace Minerals

Look for ration balancers that include probiotics and prebiotics, which enhance fiber and protein digestion while aiding mineral absorption. Additionally, organic complexed trace minerals, such as “zinc methionine complex” listed on the ingredient label, increase bioavailability, ensuring optimal utilization by the horse’s body.

Biotin, Methionine, and Guaranteed Amino Acids

A quality ration balancer should contain added biotin and methionine, important components for maintaining healthy hooves and a lustrous hair coat. It should also guarantee adequate levels of essential amino acids (such as lysine and methionine), minerals, and vitamins necessary for overall health.

Feeding a ration balancer can significantly enhance the nutritional balance of a horse’s diet. By providing concentrated levels of essential nutrients, probiotics, prebiotics, and organic complexed trace minerals, a quality ration balancer can often eliminate the need for additional supplementation. Selecting the right ration balancer ensures that horses receive the dietary essentials necessary for their optimal health and performance.

At Nutrena, we believe proper nutrition plays the biggest role for a lifetime of health and happiness for every horse. That’s why Nutrena horse feeds are specifically formulated for every life stage and activity level. 

Ready to ensure your horse is getting the optimum nutrition at feeding time, every time? Find the perfect feed formulated specifically for horse’s needs with our Feed Selector Tool.

Feed Selector tool

79 Replies to “When to Feed Ration Balancers”

  1. I am looking at Empower Balance. However I have not been able to get my feed stores Nutrena rep to cooperate in explaining this new product. How can I get some feedback about how best to integrate this product into my feedroom?

    1. Hi John,
      Sorry to hear you are having a bit of trouble. If you’d like to detail out your questions here, we’ll help you right here on the blog – I’d be willing to bet others will be happy to learn from your questions too!
      Thanks ~ Gina T.

      1. HI! Can you tell me how many calories per pound are supplied by Empower Balance? It is nearly impossible to figure my feed plan without knowing calorie content. Is there a reason Nutrena does not list the calorie content on the bags?
        Thank you for your time.

    2. I am currently feeding this to my 12 year old quarter horse been on it for a year it works real well. a 40 lb bag fed at the correct amount will last about 2 months. high in protein but very low in nsc. I also supplement with standlee timothy pellets also low in nsc. have my horse off of all ceral base grains and she is doing great. to much grains and sugars are throwing of their metabolism possibly predisposing them to cushinds desease. lost my wifes horse to that 8 months ago. does not mean every horse will get it. just trying to eliminate a potential problem. I am on 16 acres with a lot of pasture they are out all day and brought in at nite, they don’t need to eat all day and all nite

      1. Hi Gina,
        I have more of a question than a reply to your above post. I have a 24yr old Morgan Cross gelding who has had diagnosed Cushings Disease (for 2yrs he has been on Pergolide). He is currently on Nutrena Safe Choice (4#/day of feed, he is approx. 870#). I have gotten recommendations from diff. DVM’s on feeds. One recommended Safe Choice another suggested a Ration Balancer. A RB has been extremely difficult to find in my area (Lexington, SC). Now that I see that Nutrena has one, my question is which feed is best for a Cushings senior horse @ light work level? He is NOT insulin resistant @ this point nor is he overweight. He is starting to get the “hay belly” (for Cushings) and is currently on Pergolide with DVM suppervison. So which feed is best to avoid becoming overweight and getting his maximum daily nutritional intake? I am looking at the following Nutrena products, Safe Choice (he is currently on), Lite Balance or Empower Balance (ration balancer).

        Looking forward to hearing from you soon,
        Lisa H.
        Lexington, SC

        1. Hi Lisa – Thanks for contacting us, and we’d love to help you out. If you could, we’d like to know just a couple more things, and then we’ll make a recommendation for you. Let us know the following: His current BCS, how many pounds of hay a day he is eating and what kind of hay, does he have any pasture access, and then what activity level are you using him for?

          Thanks! ~ Gina T.

  2. Lisa being in SC look into Triple Crown’s 30% , also Nutrena’s Empower Balancer or lastly Purina’s Enrich32

  3. i just started to feed a Rb and im into week number 4. I feed beet pulp, alfala pellets along with the RB. 2 of my horses are losing weight. I feed a good free choice hay as well.

    What else can i add to pick up the weight on the two that are loosing.

    1. Hi Daphe, Thanks for the question. Sounds like you have a case of needing to get more calories in to those two horses. A ration balancer isn’t the solution for every horse, so that’s OK. We would recommend looking for a product that has a higher feeding rate (feeding more of a ration balancer is not a good idea, as you can get in to toxicity situations) and more calories. Alternatively, you could add something like Empower Boost, which is our high fat rice bran supplement, to their diet. For simplicity, I would suggest going away from the RB product, the beet pulp and the alfalfa pellets, and going to a single well balanced product – good options in our line would include SafeChoice or Life Design Prime. If you don’t mind all the mixing and adding, try adding the Empower Boost product to what you are doing now.
      Hope that helps – please let us know if you have more questions!
      Thanks ~ Gina T.

  4. I have a 25 year old mare that seem to have cushings I have read about empower balance and empower boost. I feed the horses enrich 32 but wonder if one of these would be better for her but don’t know witch one. Could you give me some advice.

    1. Hi Kathy, Great question. Empower Balance is a protein/vitamin/mineral product, with a very low NSC value, so it’s ideal if you have an easy-keeper with Cushings. If you have one that you need to get weight on, or have trouble keeping weight on, then adding Empower Boost – which is a high-fat rice bran supplement – is your solution. Does that help?

      Thank you! ~ Gina T.

  5. I am adopting a 5 y/o Percheron draft mare who has had kind of a rough way to go. She is slightly undersized for a draft and definitely underweight by at least 150lbs or more. She appears to be in otherwise good health and has recently been wormed. The woman I am getting her from has been feeding safe choice feed but I wonder is that the best choice for her and if she needs an additional supplement or just time to gain the weight she lost.
    thanks Shannon

    1. Hi Shannon, Thanks for taking the mare in! If she is on SafeChoice now, I’d stick with that through the transition to your place (one less thing to stress her out). Once she’s settled at your place, SafeChoice is an excellent option for her – you can use some of th tools shown if you click on the “weight control” topic on the right side of our blog page (weighing your horse without a scale, determining the right amount to feed) to make sure you are feeding her according to the directions for her current size. Feeding directions are given on size and on activity level, go ahead and bump her up to one activity level higher than she is at now, to get her up to the condition you want her in. Once she’s there, you can start scaling back on the amount of feed given, until you find the level where she maintains her condition well.
      Hope that helps, please do let us know if you have more questions! Thanks ~ Gina T.

  6. I need some help. I have 2 IR Morgan mares. One I currently have on Nutrena lite balance, the other on safe choice. I also have a large gelding who eats the safe choice. At this time, due to grass (or lack thereof) in Florida, they are all on a hay roll several hours per day.
    The mares get little to no work, and the gelding only light work. I am concerned they are not receiving sufficient nutrition as I have cut the amount of pelleted grain but everyone is FAT!! What is the best option for this combination of horses ? What RB is best? Please help my fat kids!!

    1. Hi Vickie! Thanks for the great question. Many horse owners are in similar situations. I feel confident Empower Balance will work well for your two mares and your gelding. It is designed to provide support for the nutritional needs of horses with insulin resistance or Cushing’s Syndrome, as well as those that are easy keepers.

      Empower Balance has concentrated nutrient levels allow for low feeding rate, about 1 pound per head per day. It contains high-quality protein with guaranteed amino acid levels help support muscle maintenance and development, and the organic trace mineral complexes help support increased bioavailability, the immune system and protein utilization. Not to mention we have added prebiotics and probiotics help support nutrient digestion, and the biotin to help support muscle, hair coat and hoof development!

      I know that you will be pleased with the results, and peace of mind that Empower Balance will provide for your horses. Thank you for contacting Nutrena!


  7. Question about the Empower Balance. We are in the process of switching over from Southern States feed. How do you transition? The bag doesn’t really give any specifics, only to do it over 5 to 7 days, but also says not to feed with a regular feed to avoid overdose of the vitamins, minerals etc… Could you give more specifics?


    1. Hi Gabriel!
      Good question.   You would decrease your current feed ration by 25% and add 25% of the needed daily Empower Balance ration.   In example if you are feeding your horse two pounds of grain per day and switching to 1 pound of Empower Balance per day, the total daily diet would be 1.5 pounds of grain and .25 pounds of Empower balance per day.  This might be divided into two or three feedings, depending oo your feed schedule.  Maintain this ration for two days.  Then decrease your grain ration by 50% and add 50% of the recommended Empower Balance ration.   In two  days adjust the ration to 25% of your current feed ration and 75% of the recommended Empower Balance ration.  Then in another day or two transition completely to Empower Balance.

      To determine the recommended daily amount follow the suggested feed rate based on your horses weight and activity level.  I hope this helps.  Welcome to the Nutrena family 🙂


  8. I have a 6 year old tb that has ulcers. He is in a high workout routine, normally 5 days a week for one to two hours. He stands at 17.1 hands and at the moment weighs in at about 1200 pounds. I feed him 10 pounds of t & a 2x a day and 2 pounds of alfafa pettets in his complete grain mix- Ultra dynamix (9lbs a day). he is also on tri amino, u-guard (2 x’s a day) and msm. My problem is this- He stuggles to keep weight on, grinds his teeth during work outs (was a lot worse when i bought him, teeth floated every 6 months) and lacks endurence. I was looking into a RB in hopes of getting him on the right track though spring and summer. We have zero grazing, he is never stalled due to discomfort standing in a stall thought the day but rather has a 36 x 36 covered “stall” during the heat of the day and turnout all night. Can you tell me what your suggestions on the RB would be for him?

    1. If you could provide me some additional information I would appreciate it.
      You mention your horse weighs about 1200 pounds, but I am curious what his body score is?  Can you see some ribs, all ribs or none at all?
      You mention he gets 10 pounds a day of t & amp, I am not sure what this is?
      Two pounds of alfalfa pellets, and 9 pounds of Ultra dynamix as well correct?  

      I need to calculate his total caloric intake at present, and then I can help determine what he may be lacking.

      Kind regards,
      Gayle M. Reveron, PAS

  9. hi ,my name is amy and I’m trying to find a place tp get nutvena empower balance
    is there a place i can buy it on line and have it sent to me
    ‘ thank you

  10. Hi,
    I have a 2 year old Lusitano gelding. I would like to take him off of grain/pellets. I will be moving him to a new barn where he can graze lush grass 2-3 hours a day and spend the rest of the time in a “short grassed” area with plenty of quality hay. But I am concerned about his vitamin and mineral intake. Is he ok with just the grass and hay? Or should I be adding to this with a ration balancer or something? He will only be able to get any balancer in the pm.

    1. Hi Rita!
      My first question is what is his body condition score – if he is at a good weight and body condition score, and maintains that condition while on pasture and forage alone, that is great. You can try Empower Balance to provide your horse the necessary vitamins and organic trace minerals for increased bioavailability. There are pre and probiotics to help with nutrient digestion, as well as added biotin for muscle, hair coat, and hoof development. Since it is highly fortified, the inclusion rate is low, and a 1,000 pound horse will only need a 1 pound per day, if the body condition is maintained on forage and pasture alone. You could easily do this with just an evening feeding.

      Thank you for contacting Nutrena!

  11. I have a 7 year old mare who has ulcers. We are treating for ulcers and we have been told to take her off of grain and anything with molasses. She is weighs around 1100lbs and is currently getting around 12lbs of equine sr and a good grass hay as well as pasture. I have been told I needed to switch to a RB, but I am concerned about her not getting enough calories. She is an all-around performance horse. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Kerri! Thansk for asking, and I am glad to hear that your horse is getting pasture time, as this is important for horses with ulcers.

      The question I have is, what is your horses current body condition score? Horses with ulcers do well on a high fat/ high fiber diet, so your choice of Senior feed was a good one. The thing is, if your mare is currently eating 12 pounds of senior feed per day, a ration balancer at 1-2 lbs per day can provide her with the necessary vitamin and mineral supplementation, as well as protein balance, but there will be a very big difference in caloric intake. You will need to adjust for this by feeding a significantly larger amount of hay – possibly more than she will want to consume.

      If you veterinarian is concerned about feeds containing molasses, we can provide you with some alternatives in the Nutrena product line such as our new SafeChoice Special Care, or Triumph Complete pellets.

      If you know her body condition score about how many pounds of hay she consumes per day currently, I can try and determine her current caloric intake for you, and make a recommendation.

      Thank you for contacting Nutrena!

  12. You mention the Empower Balance has a very low NSC value. Could you please be more specific? I’d like to know what the exact NSC value is. Thank you.

    1. Hello Robin,
      Thanks for asking! Empower Balance has an NSC value of 14%. You can find NSC values on all of our premium horse feeds on our website in the guaranteed analysis tab. It is listed as Dietary Starch and Sugar – just add those two numbers together to get to the total NSC. Empower Balance, for example, is 8% Dietary Starch and 6% Sugar.
      Please let us know if you have further questions!
      Thanks ~ Gina T.

  13. Last year I switched my incredibly hard keeper (16 yr old, 1200lb 17.1 TB) over to XTN and finally got some weight gain. But his weight gain got to a certain point and then just stalled. I recently decided to switch him to Life Design Senior and wet his pellets down to aid in easy consumption for him. I also added Empower boost to his feed. I currently have him on 6lbs of Senior and 2lbs of boost a day plus pasture 24/7. I worked him up to the max ammount of boost over a few weeks…. Is this the right ammount for him?

    Also- I had my incredibly easy keeper (8 yr old, 1500lb, 18.1 hh Percheron) on 3lbs XTN a day and switched him over to Empower Balance. His was a bit heavy so I wanted to give him what he needed but nothing more. I gradually added in the Balance and took away the XTN and he is now on 1.5lbs of Balance a day plus pasture 24/7…. Is this the right amount for him?

    Finally- I have a Friesian wealing coming to the farm in the fall. He’s already very tall and I’ve read a lot about how important it is not to feed too much and unknowingly encourage too much growth in foals. What would you recommend for him?


    1. Hi Angie!
      When Nutrena Senior is fed to a 1200 pound horse with hay or pasture the feed rate is 6 to 9 pounds per day for maintenance. By adding the 2 pounds of Empower Boost you should be providing him with calories needed to increase his body condition. I like that you are also wetting his feed to ensure the consumption.

      Your calculation for your 1500 pound Percheron is good. I also like the fact that he too has access to pasture 24/7. With both the TB and the Percheron I would encourage you to review their weight and body condition in about 30 days. If you need to make adjustments feel free to contact us.

      As for the weanling I would recommend Safe Choice Original formula. Nutritionally balanced for growing and mature horses alike, Safe Choice Original helps make feeding a wide range of horses more convenient – without sacrificing nutrition quality or peace of mind. I would start the ration for him at 1.5 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight. Along with hay or pasture, this will provide your youngster a balanced diet. If you visit the Knowledge Center on Nutrenaworld.com, you will find a fact sheet that explains how to weigh your horse without a scale. This method has a special application for determining weanlings weights, that you may find of interest.

      It sounds like you are doing a great job with your horses diets! Feel free to contact us again if we can be of further assistance.
      Gayle M. Reveron, PAS

      1. Thanks- it’s very reassuring to hear that I’m doing things right. I read all the feeding instructions, did my feed/weight calculations and weighed their feed to ensure it was the right amount. So far so good with these changes. Seeing steady weight gain in my TB with Empower Boost and the Percheron who is on Empower Balance has slimmed down to the perfect weight and has dapples all over his behind.

      2. Ok Gayle. It’s been about 45 days now and my TB is looking great. He’s still gaining and maintaining.

        My Percheron looks perfect. He has slimmed down to the perfect weight and he looks fantastic. However, I’m concerned that he’ll start to be too thin if I continue him on just the ration balancer alone. If I want to keep him right where he is at what should I add into the equation? He’s at 1400 lbs now and he’s at 1.5lbs of Balance a day plus pasture 24/7. Hope you can give a little advice. So far this is the best my horses have ever looked so I know my feed program is working- just need a slight tweak for my big fella.

    1. Hi Robin, thanks for the question! Empower Balance will run approximately 625 ppm for iron content. If you have any other questions, let us know! Thanks ~ Gina T.

  14. I just began feeding the Nutrena Balancer and Boost to my horses; can I also safely feed it to my goats?

    1. Hello John,
      Thank you for contacting us, and we’re glad to hear you are using the Empower products! Unfortunately, we cannot recommend either product for goats – the nutrient levels are higher than a goat needs, and in some cases may be more than they can safely tolerate.
      Sincerely ~ Gina T.

    1. Hello Lacy, Thank you for your question. Yes, you can feed Empower Balance alone as a grain – with just full pasture access or free choice hay. Thanks! Gina T.

  15. I have two weanlings that I am concerned about. I am currently feeding Equine Jr, but I don’t like the high amounts of feed that it requires in order to get the full nutrition profile. They have free choice good quality grass hay all day. Would Empower Balance be appropriate for them? I would probably supplement with timothy or alfalfa pellets to make sure they were getting adequate calories. Does Empower have high enough levels of Vitamin E for weanlings AND adult horses? I would probably switch my mare to it as well. The horses are dry lotted and have no access to grazing. Thank you!

    1. Hello Lindsey, Thank you for contacting us. Great question. Yes, you can feed Empower balance to weanlings with proper amounts of forage. As an example a 500 pound weanling would need 2.5 pounds of Empower Balance per day plus a minimum of 7 pounds of hay per day would meet the vitamin and mineral needs of a weanling, as well as adding biotin and pre and pro biotics for gut health.

      For your mature horses Empower Balance will also work well with the appropriate amount of forage. I like to see 2% of the horses body weight per day in forage. Follow the recommended rate of inclusion on the bag, which for a maintenance level horse is 0.1 – 0.2 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight.

      Thank you again for your inquiry!! I feel confident you will find Empower Balance a fantastic product.
      Thank you ~ Gayle R.

  16. I was just told NOT to feed Empower Balance to my weanlings. What gives? The info was via a contact thru Nutrena? I used to use Grow n Win, put not able to get it. My weanlings look good, showing a bit of rib but I breed warmbloods. They get great grass hay, no one has a pot belly.

  17. I have a question. I’m feeding my easy keeper Empower Balance and I love it. However I was told to put him on a magnesium supplement for some issues he’s having. Is it safe to add a magnesium supplement when feeding a ration balancer? Are hoof supplements safe? How much magnesium is in Empower Balance? I’m worried about toxicity by mixing a balancer with supplements. One of the supplements suggested to me is AniMed Remission if you need something to compare to. Thank you!

    1. Hello Kat,

      Thank you for your interesting question. Empower Balance contains 0.4% magnesium. The requirement for the total diet for horses is about 0.3-0.4% magnesium. Many forages contain anywhere from 0.3 to 0.5% magnesium, so magnesium deficiency is quite rare. Horses have been fed diets with over 0.8% magnesium (total diet basis) with no ill effects. If magnesium is over-fed, the first symptom is loose stool or diarrhea. If your horse requires the higher level of magnesium for a specific condition, you should be just fine using it with Empower Balance as long as you follow the directions for all products.

      Hoof supplements generally contain a combination of biotin, zinc/zinc methionine and perhaps some other trace minerals and amino acids. Again, as long as the directions are followed, I would expect no issues combining with a balancer.

      The specific selenium supplements are the group of supplements where there is some risk in using multiple supplements. Again, the key is to follow directions for each product.
      Thank you,
      Gayle R

  18. I live in an area that is high in selenium. I am currently feeding empower boost because the level seems high in the balance formula.

  19. I have a mare now in her 9th month of pregnancy. She was chubby at the time of breeding last spring, and developed laminitis and some slight rotation in her right front hoof shortly after her ultrasound confirmed pregnancy. She exhibits many of the signs of IR including cresty neck and croup area. Many visits to the vet later X-rays, custom trims, soft ride boots) and a modified diet including Chromium Magnesium, soaked grass hay, (tested) low sugar teff hay, thyrol-L, and Purina’s Wellsolve LS product plus Ultra Cruz Wellness (very much like Platinum Performance) have helped us get her on the right track. Crest and bad fat actually decreased some. So here is my dilemma: I was using some Enrich Plus ration balancer when I switched to the Teff Hay as it was a bit low in protein. I know Enrich Plus is not approved for late trimester mares…well anyhow I was using it to get the protein values, mineral and vitamin values where they needed to be for her. But recently I have had a serious quality issue with the product. (very inconsistent in color and consistency and does not smell good…smells like rancid oil or old fried foods!). My retailer is working with Purina but meanwhile I am NOT using the product and I am a bit head shy so I have been exploring my options. I also use the Enrich on my two riding horses who eat the Teff hay too (but do not have the IR issues nor pregnancy needs). I have so far had more than four BAD bags of the product. SO….I started looking into your Empower product! But I was really concerned when I saw that it has distillers grains in it…having a mare who still shows some signs of IR and has some bad fat deposits in neck and croup area. I especially noticed the bad fat deposits returning as I tapered her off of the Thyrol-L just this past month as my vet suggested taking her off of it in late pregnancy. I am worried about using a ration balancer for her with ANY grain products in it at all! I am currently feeding her Teff hay, Alfalfa pellets, Purina Wellsolve LS and Ultra Cruz Wellness and Smart Pak Chromium Magnesium. Been pulling out my hair trying to make sure she gets the protein and minerals she needs without the bad sugars and carbs. Is the Empower product something I should stay away from? Or would it be a good choice and how does it compare to the Enrich Plus by Purina? Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Lynn!
      It sounds like you are a very contentious horse owner, and I understand your concern about grains and carbohydrates in your mare’s diet.
      I understand your concern about ingredients, but real the concern should be the controlled starch factor.

      Starch is a great energy source for most horses, but excess starch can cause metabolic disturbances, such as colic or laminitis in horses. When fed properly, a controlled starch product ensures that specific starch fractions are digested throughout the intestinal tract, which provides the energy a horse needs without the risk of excess starch leaking into the hindgut.

      What makes up NSC and why is it important?
      NSC stands for ‘non-structural carbohydrates’ and is typically the combination of starch and sugar. Horses with metabolic concerns, such as Cushing’s disease, laminitis or Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM) require reduced levels of NSC to support their activity levels. Fructan is also included in NSC, but is typically found in forage products, such as grass or hay. Teff hay, which you are feeding can range from 7-16% NSC.
      Starches and sugars (NSC) are broken down in the small intestine. Sugars and some starches are digested rapidly, while other starches may digest more slowly because of the plant’s structure they are derived from. Because horses cannot tolerate large intakes of NSC in one meal, they must be controlled in the diet.

      Low Starch Feeds
      Most horses do great with a moderate level of starch in their feed however some horses have metabolic conditions, such as EMS, Insulin resistance or laminitis, which require a reduced starch level in the total diet. SafeChoice® Special Care is considered a low-starch feed with a maximum starch level of 11%. To truly provide a low starch and sugar diet, it is important to take into consideration the starch and sugar levels of the forage in the diet.

      What does the starch % mean to my horse?
      The percentage of starch only tells half the story. When comparing starch intake for horses, it is important to factor in the recommended feeding rate.

      I feel confident that Empower would be a great choice for your mare based on the following features:
      • Supports the nutritional needs of horses with metabolic disturbances, easy keepers, miniature horses, and ponies
      • Controlled starch formula helps support proper starch digestion and utlization
      • Concentrated nutrient levels allow for low feeding rates
      • High-quality protein with guaranteed amino acid levels to support muscle development and maintenance
      • Added prebiotics and probiotics aid in nutrient absorption and digestive health
      • Organic trace mineral complexes for increased bioavailability, immune system support and nutrient utilization
      • Guaranteed levels of biotin help support hair coat and hoof quality
      • A highly palatable pellet promotes consistent intake and prevents sorting of ingredients

      However, I do encourage you to have your hay tested for NSC levels, to determine the total NSC in the daily diet, and discuss these levels with your veterinarian for a range you are both comfortable with for your mare.


  20. Hi.my name is crystal I have a 6 year old paint mare that is a very hard keeper.she currently gets 8 pounds of stock and stable pellited. 4 pounds twice a day.and free choice hay.she still is on about 3 on the weight scale.she weighs about 900 pounds.I am going to start using the empower boost.is it ok to add to ration that she already gets.like half a pound twice a day

    1. Hello Crystal, Thanks for the question! Yes, you can absolutely add the Empower Boost on top of her current ration – that’s exactly how it was designed to be fed. You might find that going up to 3 lbs a day total will help her get her weight in place faster, then once she is at a proper weight you can back down until you find the amount she maintains well at. Thanks ~ Gina T.

  21. I have been feeding my two 20 year old geldings empower balance along with dumor joint suppliment for arthritis for about four months and I’m seeing loose stools all down his legs,it is not started on the other horse yet,is this common? They free fang the pasture and winter we put out round bales of burmuda hay,I sure don’t him sick with an underlying diarrhea prompted with winter coming in quick. Any advice would be apreceated!

    1. Hello Liddi, Thank you for contacting us, and we’re sorry to hear you are having trouble with one of your horses! There is nothing in Empower Balance that should cause an issue with stools, unless you are feeding way too much, it is specifically designed to be fed in small amounts, with a 1000 lb horse would get 1.5-2 lbs per day typically – if you were feeding 4-6 lbs like you would a traditional feed, you might have issues but loose stools still might not be the most common.

      Thus, we suggest to consult with their vet to determine the cause of loose stools, as there are many reasons why horses can get loose stools.

      1. Loose stools can be caused from trees and plants that are mildly poisonous to horses. If your horse is turned out on pasture you might want to learn about poisonous plants/trees in your area and then if there are any in your pasture.

      2. Deworming can also cause loose stools. Small strongyles can cause chronic diarrhea and they can evade detection of routine fecal analysis.

      3. Treats can also cause loose stools, for instance too many apples at a time. It sounds like your horse is suffering from more chronic loose stool, so this isn’t likely, but is still something to consider.

      After consulting with your vet, a good round of prebiotics & probiotics may be a good idea for the horse with the issues, to help restore a healthy microbial population in his gut and get him back on track.

      Thank you ~ Gina T.

  22. Thank you for the reply! The is coming out to give their shots and Coggins and I will get him to check. I did worm him about a week ago and he gets wormed every two months. He is only getting 1 pound of empower balance since I started him on it. He is not quite 1000 pounds close to 900 pounds.

  23. Hi! I have a 1200 lb TWH who is losing weight since being switched by the vet to Empower Balance 2 1/2 months ago. We are feeding him two level cups in the am and two cups in the pm which I now see is too much for his weight. He has short pasture, 24/7 turn-out and 5 flakes first cut in am and pm. He gets a 2 flakes at lunch. My horse friend told me this was the right amount and now I’m worried that too much of this stuff has compromised him somehow. Luckily it’s only been a short time. Please advise. I’m going to have the vet out next week since his ribs are beginning to show.

    I re-read the instructions on the bag and it would be much more helpful to use cups per 100 pounds of weight. The math can be confusing when your’re talking about decimal points and it’s too important to not get it right.

    1. Thank you for your question about your 1200 lb TWH that has lost some weight on Empower Balance. I appreciate your concern that calculating feeding amounts can be a challenge. We know that most people feed by volume (cups, scoops, ice cream buckets and coffee cans) and encourage people to weigh what their particular measuring device contains so that they can check the pounds of feed provided. It is also useful to weigh flakes of hay from time to time. A small digital scale or a fishing scale can be very handy and quite inexpensive. If your horse weighs 1200 pounds, he will need to be consuming about 2-2 ½% of bodyweight or 24-30 pounds per day. If you are using a standard 8 ounce measuring cup, you are feeding less than 2 pounds per day of Empower Balance, so you are not overfeeding him on this product, which is intended to primarily as a balancer to provide amino acids, vitamins and minerals and is not a high calorie (energy) source. If he is losing weight and you can see ribs, he needs more calories per day. As you are having your veterinarian out in the near future, I am confident that you will have teeth checked and de-worming if needed. If he checks out, then you might want to go to a product like SafeChoice Perform or SafeChoice Senior and increase the amount being fed gradually until he starts gaining weight. You can then hold at that level until he gets to the desired body condition where you can feel, but not see his ribs. Weight gain requires additional calories, muscle mass improvement (topline) requires calories and amino acids. Because horses vary so much and forage varies a great deal, monitoring body condition and adjusting intake is always a good solution, regardless of how the feed is measured!

      Best wishes,

  24. I have read all of the comments, going back to 2011. I am hoping someone can give advice on what I’m currently feeding my two horses? After reading some comments I’m concerned with toxicity…

    I have a 21 OTTB, who has been out of work for two years due to an injury, followed by a hoof wall separation. He’s always been a hard keeper, however when I moved him home in July he had a bad ulcer flare up & lost more weight. I put him on gastrogard & he has since put on about 125 lbs. He’s currently fed free choice hay, as well as 2lbs safechoice original + 1lbs boost, 3x day….the only supplement he’s on is farriers formula. Two days ago I replaced the boost with 1/2 balance, 1/2 boost.

    My mare is typically overweight. I was feeding 3/4lb safechoice original, and two days ago switched to 1/2lb original 1/4lb balance. She is on previcox & isox, as well as the Smartpak senior ultra.

    Both horses are out on pasture most days for 8-10 hours, and stalled the rest.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Amy,
      Thank you for your interesting questions. Based on the information above, you should not have any issues with nutrient toxicity or interference. As long as you are following the feeding directions on supplements and not using more supplements than you describe, you should be well below upper safe limits for nutrients. You made a good choice on your mare going to a Balance product. At the low feeding rate, you may want to consider going to all Balance as the SC Original feeding rate is quite low.

      Selenium, Vitamin D and Vitamin A are the most common potential nutrient toxicities, but you are well below any combinations that would put you into that area.

      Best of luck,
      Roy J.

  25. Is a ration balanced feed something that needs to be feed in addition to another feed or can it be fed just by itself?

    1. Hi Sam,
      For an easy keeper, a ration balancer like Empower Balance can be fed if they get enough energy out of forage or pasture. It offers an excellent combination of amino acids, vitamins and minerals at a designed low feeding rate. In addition to the balanced Vitamins and Minerals, we have guaranteed amino acids to support muscle maintenance and development and the pre and probiotics support nutrient absorption and digestive health. As with any forage or feeding change, please introduce gradually to avoid digestive disturbances.

  26. Hi I was wondering about this feed for my mare. I use the maintenance for my gelding who is a full sized horse. My mare gets a very small amount of it in the morning for vitamins but I’m not 100% happy with doing that. However my mare is a 400 pound chubby Shetland that I would like to see loose some weight but still get vitamins. This makes feeding her anything difficult. They are out on pasture 24/7 and are given hay in the am and pm. Is this a good idea for her?

    1. Thank you for your inquiry Sam.
      You are on the right track. For those easy keeper ponies often a ration balancer like Empower Balance is the most appropriate choice when they get enough energy out of the forage or pasture. It offers an excellent combination of amino acids, vitamins and minerals at a designed low feeding rate. In addition to the balanced Vitamins and Minerals, there are guaranteed amino acids to support muscle maintenance and development and the pre and probiotics support nutrient absorption and digestive health.
      Feel free to visit and click on the Horses page and review Empower Balance, if you scroll to the bottom of that page you can calculate a suggested feeding rate based upon your horse’s body weight. As with any forage or feeding change, please introduce gradually to avoid digestive disturbances.

  27. Hi, my 15 yr old mare had laminitis last year. She had always been on grass and we moved and she had to stay on a dry lot with hay until grass came in. Once it was established I started her slowly back on it but she ended up with laminitis. It has been one year now and she is back on grass doing very well. During her episode I put her on Pro Add as a recommendation from my vet. She gets just one of the small scoops a day. I know I could switch her to the Empower Balance that my pony and mini donkeys are on but she has been doing so well on it . I know the protein is very high should I worry about that and switch her over? She is 14.3 weighs 960 and moves quite a bit all day running from pasture to the barn and back. She is just on grass now no hay.

    1. Hi Patty,
      Thank you for the interesting question. My biggest concern would be that your 15 year old mare that had laminitis not be allowed to overconsume grass that has a high non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) level, so I would try to avoid letting her consume too much really rapidly growing grass or too much grass that has been stressed and would have high NSC levels. I would also want to avoid letting her get over Body Condition Score 5. The Pro Add is a good source of amino acids, trace minerals and vitamins. Empower Topline Balance has been used successfully for horses in the same situation as your mare. The fortification levels will help balance the nutrient levels in the grass and provide the amino acids needed for quality hoof growth as well as muscle mass and hair coat. I would use the low end feeding rates and monitor both Body Condition Score and Topline Score. If she is doing really well on your current program, staying on that program is also a good option.
      Best of luck!
      Roy J.

      1. Thank you for the info, I have one other question. I was thinking of adding a product called BioMane but I am worried about them getting too much of one or all of the vitamins. I am going to finish the Pro Add and continue with the Empower for all of them.

  28. Can you feed empower boost with empower balance? I’m trying to lessen the amount of grain and money I spend on just one horse. I have a throughbred mare that is a hard keeper but at the same time most feeds make her hotter than she already is and hard to work with. I’ve tried feeding Purina ultium but the price and amount of grain to feed her to keep her weight up is a bit ridiculous and it made her hot. Before I fed her safechoice perform which does a decent job on keeping her weight without making her hot but again allot of grain to keep her weight up.

    1. Hi Scarlett,
      Thank you for your question about your TB mare that is a hard keeper. It is feasible to use both Empower Balance and Empower Boost as long as you follow feeding directions.

      Another option that you might consider is using Empower Balance to balance the diet with your hay and adding straight vegetable oil as a calories source just to add additional calories.

      It might be useful to know what kind of hay you are feeding to provide additional recommendations. Trust you have had teeth checked and verified that deworming has been effective.

      Best wishes,

      1. She gets turned out to grass pasture and when the grass is dead or short she gets a huge round Bale of costal. Her teeth were done about to years ago and had them checked not that long ago. She also gets rotation worming every other month her ribs do fine in weight but the last few years her withers and the butt bone are prominent maybe because she’s 15 I’m not really sure. She definitely looked better than she has in a long time when on safechoice perform but it still took allot and seemed to not be enough for years when I had her her mane was very long and thick and that has completely gone away I try to avoid alfalfa since it makes her hotter but she does get some pellets on really cold days granted last year Durning winter she got a 3qt scoop of alfalfa+ almost 3qt of perform and she looked like a big quarter horse. The hotter months I try to avoid alfalfa not only for her craziness but also it gets very humid and over 100 on most days so I don’t want her crazy working herself into a sweat worse than usual. Also she has high thyroid where her glands tend to swell the vet said it was pretty common in throughbreds so I add salt to her feed to decrease the size of the glands I’m not sure if that helps any on what she should be fed. I tend to add in vitacalm to take the edge off as well.

  29. I have a 14 yr old paint QH mare! 15.5 hh. She is over weight and farrier said she needs to lose about 200lbs easy! He was explaining her body comp and she is getting the crest neck and bulging at shoulders and dent in her midline. They are in no grass pasture and I have been feeding her purine strategy and about 1/2 scoop twice a day and giving hay! Should I give her a ration balancer to lose weight? Farrier said he would cut out all feed and very little hay but I’ve read that could be bad to do that to them bc it can mess up those metabolism and cause them to gain wt?? He said only give her a carrot a.m. and pm but that doesn’t sound healthy! What would u recommend to get her on a diet she is approx easy 1100-1200 ! What supplements do u recommend and how much RB would I need to give her and hay to start her losing, I fear Laminitis and EMS!! Help!!!

    1. Great question! Your farrier has you started down the right path with identifying her unhealthy bodyweight and abnormal fat deposition, now let’s get her diet balanced out to do something about it. Keep her off any pasture as you are, (even if the grass looks short or is just starting to grow). If you must put her on pasture, she’ll need to be outfitted with a grazing muzzle. Limit her hay to ~1.5% of her bodyweight to begin with. You’ll need to weigh it (approximately 8# AM & PM) and feed it in a small hole hay net/nibble net. This will allow her to continuously chew/eat throughout the day rather than gobble all the hay in an hour. To balance the amino acids, vitamins and trace minerals lacking in the forage, a product like Empower Topline Balance will work perfectly. Feed 1# AM & PM. As always, provide a plain salt block and free access to clean water for her. Start her off here and reassess in 30 days.

  30. Hello!

    I have a 10 y.o. Paso Fino gelding on full-time pasture turnout and free-access grass hay in the winter. He is maintaining his weight well on one of your competitor’s ration balancers and looks great, but our local supplier has closed. In the past, I noticed that the Nutrena ration balancer varied in color and consistency from bag to bag, which is concerning to me, and the reason I stopped feeding it a few years ago. Can you explain why this would be the case? I’m hesitant to put him on a product that is not consistent.

    1. Hi Beth,
      Thank you for your question regarding your 10 year old Paso Fino gelding and the use of a Nutrena ration balancer. The product you may want to consider would be our Empower Topline Balance. We appreciate your concern about variations in color. We have strict nutrient content parameters for this product design, including a number of nutrients that are not specifically stated on the tag. There may be slight appearance differences in appearance as we may have to make slight ingredient inclusion rate changes to maintain a consistent nutrient flow. As you are undoubtedly aware, the naturally occurring nutrient content of ingredients changes slightly over time/season and with different ingredient sources.

      Our goal is to provide a very consistent nutrient flow as this is what is most important to the animals being fed our products, which is the reason there may be slight appearance changes over time.

      Best of luck,
      Roy J.

  31. Hi Beth. I have an 11 yr old Missouri Fox Trotter. Her weight is good. I have been feeding purine Stradagy, but only 2lbs . Recommended amount is 4-6 lbs. I feel like she is not getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals. She is also on Florida pasture plus timmothy and alphfia hay. Should I change to a balance rationed, or can it the balance rationed be combined with a feed?

    1. Hi Barbara,
      A ration balancer sounds like a better fit for you and your mare. Along with good quality forage, the ration balancer will provide all the balanced amino acids, vitamins and minerals she needs at a similar feeding rate you are offering her today. Nutrena Empower Topline Balance would be a great option. Alternatively, you could top-dress a diet balancer such as Progressive ProAdd Ultimate (or Empower Topline Balance) to the Purina Strategy to balance the diet so you can be sure your mare is getting the right amount of balanced nutrients. We have easy to use online tools and articles to help estimate your horses body weight and determine the right feeding rate at http://toplinebalance.com/.

      Best of luck!
      Emily L.

  32. I have a 15 yr old 17H Perch/TB cross mare, approx. 1200lbs. She is an easy keeper and on Triple Crown Senior 2 pounds per day, alfalfa pellets 2 pounds per day and hay fed 4 times per day (approx. 20 pounds). She is turned out over night (230pm – 830am) and in a stall otherwise. She has had ulcers in the past which is why I out her on TCS. However I am thinking about changing her to a the topline balance along with the alfalfa pellets. She seems a little on the chunky side, can’t see her ribs but can somewhat feel them. She seemed more fit at a previous barn I had her at when she was on 2 pounds of TCS, 2 pounds of haystrecher, and on grass pasture 24/7. Would feeding her the RB at 1.5lbs per day and 2 pounds of alfalfa pellets with the hay four times a day help her lose a little weight but still be adequate for calories? She gets moderately worked 1 hour, 5-6 days per week and I do one jumper show per month at the farm she is boarded at now.

    1. Hi Erin,
      Great question. Yes, Empower Topline Balance would be the correct product to balance the remainder of her diet. We would actually recommend 2#/day for her knowing she’s in work. You’ll see her gain a great deal more lean muscle to support her topline and hindquarters as well as a huge improvement in haircoat and hoof quality.
      Best of luck!
      -Abby K.

  33. I have a just diagnosed IR 26 year old pony and I feed nutrena senior so my vet said no more . So what would you recommend?

    1. Hello Rose, Thanks for the question. It all depends on the body condition of your pony, and also whether or not she still has the ability to chew hay or pasture properly. If she is an easy keeper, and only requires a pound or two of feed per day to maintain her weight, and she can still chew hay or pasture properly, then we would suggest a ration balancer such as our Empower Topline Balance. If however, she has trouble keeping weight on and needs extra calories, you can feed either SafeChoice Special Care or the SafeChoice Senior – multiple smaller meals per day will help even out her glucose response over the course of the day, too. If she has any dental issues that prevent her from chewing enough hay or pasture to meet her needs (or develops issues in the future as she ages), then the SafeChoice Senior is actually her best bet – it will help keep her NSC intake low while providing the roughage she needs in her diet, as it can be fed as a complete feed.

  34. Love Empower Balance and so glad you started Safe Choice Senior LM. These products work best for my 13 and 17 year old Quarter Horses. Thank you!

Comments are closed.

Privacy Policy | Terms