At first glance balancers may seem like an expensive option, but the low feeding rate makes them a convenient and cost-effective solution for good doers…
A cost-effective way to provide nutrients without excess calories
Many horses maintain weight easily (if not too easily!) on forage alone. Whilst forage only diets may easily meet or exceed energy (calorie) requirements, they are unlikely to provide a balanced diet and may be lacking in key nutrients such as copper, zinc, selenium, vitamin E and lysine (an essential amino acid or ‘building block’ of protein). Balancers provide a concentrated supply of vitamins, minerals and amino acids but due to the low feeding rate (typically 500g per day for a 500kg horse), contribute negligible amounts of calories, starch and sugar to the total diet. This makes them the ideal way to ensure good doers receive a balanced diet without compromising their waistline or your bank balance.
If you are simply looking for nutrients to balance a forage-based diet, consider a balancer without added functional ingredients such as joint and digestive support. At £22.99 for a 15kg bag, SPILLERS™ Daily Balancer will last a 500kg horse 30 days and cost just £0.76 per day to feed. In comparison, the recommended ration of SPILLERS™ Horse and Pony Cubes (3kg per day for a 500kg horse) would be 5 times higher in calories and cost £1.89 per day to feed!
Balancers vs. broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplements
In most cases, balancers come in pellet form and vitamin and minerals supplements in a powder. This means a balancer can normally be fed on its own (although we generally recommend feeding a balancer alongside short chopped fibre to help extend eating time) whereas a powdered supplement needs to be mixed into a small amount of feed. Although the feeding rate for a pelleted balancer is typically higher than a powdered supplement, the recommended amount of any balancer (except stud balancers) contributes a negligible level of calories to the total diet so won’t affect your horse’s waistline. One benefit of choosing a balancer may be quality protein – the recommended amount of a pelleted balancer often provides higher levels of amino acids than products labelled as ‘vitamin and mineral supplements’.
Many balancers contain added functional ingredients such as glucosamine and MSM for joint support and pre and probiotics for digestive support. Although this will undoubtedly affect the price tag, the recommended amount of balancer is still likely to cost less than the recommended amount of compound feed. When choosing a balancer, consider which functional ingredients may be of most benefit to your horse.
For more advice on feeding a balancer contact the SPILLERS Care-Line