LIZZIE DRURY MSC RNUTR
Feed balancers, as the name suggests are designed to balance a horse or pony’s ration nutritionally in terms of vitamins and minerals, protein and energy resulting from increased forage utilization. How many of us are currently feeding an ‘unbalanced’ diet? Thousands of horses and ponies survive on just forage alone; their coats may not shine and their feet may not be in the best condition but they are generally happy and healthy. How many of us feed mainly forage with just a handful of a coarse mix or cube ‘just for the vitamins and minerals?’ How many of us feed every supplement under the sun except one with vitamins and minerals? Horses and ponies tend to be tolerant of minor deficiencies in their diets and many of these deficiencies therefore go unnoticed.
WHEN SHOULD YOU USE A FEED BALANCER?
These are a few examples of when using a feed balancer may be appropriate.
- If you are feeding a forage only diet and grazing is less than ideal; In order to optimise micronutrients supply.
- You are feeding below the manufacturers feeding recommendations of a coarse mix or cube; In order to make up the shortfall that is not being provided by your mix or cube.
- You own a horse or pony that has a tendency to become overweight; To meet the micronutrient requirements without the excess calories
- Your horse becomes unmanageable when fed traditional coarse mixes or cubes; To meet micronutrient requirements and allow for more emphasis from alternative fibre sources for energy
- You are feeding a diet that is based on using straights e.g. oats, barley etc. to provide adequate levels of calcium, vitamin E and other micronutrients
- When there are specific problems such as poor coat or hoof condition; To ensure adequate levels of protected (chelated) micronutrients essential for coat and hoof condition e.g. biotin, methionine etc
- There are high demands being placed on the horse such as frequent travelling and competition; To provide essential dietary elements to horses with limited appetites or reduced fibre intakes
- When you have a horse that is on box rest or convalescing; To provide quality protein, antioxidants, pre and probiotics
How should you use a feed balancer?
Like all feeds they should be introduced gradually in to the diet over a period of 7 - 10 days and the total amount divided between the daily feeds. They can be mixed with a little low calorie chaff such as Dengie Hi-Fi to encourage chewing and saliva production. Feed balancers, such as Saracen Essential Balancer and Saracen Shape Up™, are designed to be fed in small quantities typically 100g per 100kg bodyweight per day to meet a horse or pony’s daily micronutrient requirements.
Saracen SHAPE-UP™ is a low-starch, high-fibre mix designed to provide a balanced diet at low intake levels. The ingredients within Shape-Up are utilised to support and maintain a normal, healthy metabolism particularly for those horses and ponies on restricted rations due to the need for them to lose weight. It can be used as a calorie controlled ration for those prone to laminitis, Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Cushing's in order to meet micronutrient requirements without excess sugar, calories and starch intake.
Saracen Essential Balancer is low in sugar, starch and calories, so is suitable for horses and ponies that are ‘good doers’. Dense in vitamins, minerals and quality protein sources, Essential Balancer helps to support optimum muscle tone and topline development as well as supporting optimum health and vitality. A blend of yeast cultures helps to support a healthy digestive tract.
FOR A PERSONALISED FEEDING PLAN FOR YOUR HORSE OR PONY, PLEASE COMPLETE OUR SIMPLE AND FREE FEED ADVICE FORM
OR CALL OUR FEED ADVICE LINE ON 01622 718 487 FOR IMMEDIATE ADVICE