What Is a Horse Feed Balancer?
The equine feeding industry has been big business for many years. Continual technological breakthroughs mean improved formulations and a wider choice of products.
This means we can select the most suitable, scientifically developed product to match our horse’s circumstances and optimise both his health and his performance.
The need for a high-fibre diet is widely acknowledged, but not all fibre sources are high quality, meaning that nutritional supplementation may be required. Since the first feed balancer was launched over 30 years ago, containing vitamins, minerals, proteins and yeast, many owners have chosen to feed this concentrated, convenient product to complement less-nutritious elements of the diet.
|Topspec Performance Lite Feed Balancer|
TopSpec Performance Lite Feed Balancer is designed for horses in hard work that do not require any extra muscle development or topline, possibly because they are receiving excellent forage.
|Horslyx Pro Digest Balancer Lick|
Horslyx Pro Digest Balancer contains a combination of ingredients to support the digestive system from the stomach to the hindgut while licking produces saliva which also supports the digestive system.
|£4.50 – £34.50||Show details||horslyx||lick|
|Blue Chip Feed Joint Care Super Concentrated Feed Balancer|
Designed to maintain great daily health in all horses and ponies.
|Blue Chip Feed Super Concentrated Ulsa-Cool Balancer|
Super concentrated feed balancer with acid regulation supplements to help maintain a healthy digestive system.
|Blue Chip Feed Super Concentrated Senior Balancer|
Super concentrated feed balancer with an added joint and Cushings supplement for older horses.
|Blue Chip Feed Super Concentrated Calming Balancer|
Super concentrated feed balancer with a triple action calming supplement for fizzy/spooky horses. Full vitamin/mineral package.
|Horslyx Respiratory Lick|
Horslyx Respiratory Balancer is designed to provide a unique two-pronged approach in supporting a healthy respiratory system.
|£4.50 – £34.50||Show details||horslyx||lick|
|Horslyx Mobility Lick|
Contains Glucosamine HCl, MSM and Omega Oils to support healthy joints.
|£16.75 – £34.50||Show details||horslyx||lick|
|Horslyx Garlic Licks|
Contains pure garlic oil to help provide a natural and effective way to help combat the problem of biting insects.
|£4.50 – £33.00||Show details||horslyx||lick|
|Horslyx Mint Lick|
A palatable, nutrient rich lick containing vitamins, minerals and trace elements to balance the deficiencies in forage and grazing with peppermint oil for a cool refreshing flavour.
|£4.50 – £33.00||Show details||horslyx||lick|
|Horslyx Original Lick|
A palatable, nutrient rich lick containing vitamins, minerals and trace elements to balance the deficiencies in forage and grazing.
|£4.50 – £184.26||Show details||horslyx||lick|
|TopSpec Stud Feed Balancer|
TopSpec Stud Feed Balancer is designed for broodmares, young stock and stallions.
|TopSpec Senior Lite Feed Balancer|
TopSpec Senior Lite Feed Balancer is designed for elderly horses that do not need extra condition.
|TopSpec Senior Balancer|
TopSpec Senior Feed Balancer is designed for elderly horses that need more condition.
|TopSpec Racing Feed Balancer|
TopSpec Racing Feed Balancer is designed to promote muscle development and function, and to provide maximum levels of vitamins, minerals and probiotics.
|TopSpec Lite Feed Balancer|
TopSpec Lite Feed Balancer is designed for good-doers in light-medium work.
|TopSpec Joint Feed Balancer|
TopSpec Joint Feed Balancer combines the benefits of TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer with a joint supplement.
|TopSpec Cool Balancer|
TopSpec Cool Balancer promotes muscle and topline development.
|TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer|
TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer promotes muscle development and topline.
TopSpec All-in-One is the granular multi-supplement we put into TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer.
|£32.95 – £98.95||Show details||topspec||powder-supplement|
Slimline provides a broad spectrum of micronutrients to balance the diet of horses and ponies who may be on a restricted feeding regime due to weight issues.
|NAF Haylage Balancer|
Comfort the unsettled horse, neutralize and absorb excess acids, soothe and settle the gut and help guard against gastric upset.
|£24.99 – £90.00||Show details||naf||powder-supplement|
|NAF Five Star Optimum Feed Balancer|
Restore and maintain five star condition, topline and health, maximise the nutritional value of the daily feed ration, and optimise the health and efficiency of the digestive system.
|Hilton Herbs Insu-Lite|
For horses and ponies struggling to maintain a healthy bodyweight
Balancers help to provide a more natural diet
The demand for feed balancers reflects a greater understanding of nutrition and gut health. The feed industry has made great strides in understanding equine physiology and the importance of providing a more natural, high-fibre diet.
Feed balancers do much to support this way of feeding by promoting good hind-gut function through the inclusion of ingredients such as yeast cultures. With many of us combining horse ownership with family and work commitments, a product that does several jobs at once can save time and money.
Feed balancers are ideal for the modern horseowner because they can provide a simple solution to so many common problems. They combine key nutrients – to promote a healthy coat and strong hooves, for example – which means you don’t need to add further supplements. In addition, the ingredients are concentrated, so a small amount offers maximum feed utilisation and fibre digestion.
Which balancer should I feed my horse?
Despite their popularity, many of us are still confused about feed balancers. Perhaps because of their differing formulations, such as pellets or mixes, they are easily confused with horse and pony nuts or compound mixes. Of course, they are neither – while balancers can be seen as supplementary feedstuffs, they are in a category all of their own.
Balancers provide essential nutrients, but not energy. This means they are low in calories, so a feed balancer is an especially convenient and effective means of feeding horses at maintenance or in light work – resting horses, native breeds, children’s ponies and good doers, for example – where they can be used to balance a high-fibre diet.
Additional energy sources in the form of straights or compound feeds can be added alongside the balancer if the horse is in harder work.
Help to avoid deficiencies in your horse’s diet
In an ideal world, an individually tailored diet of high-quality fibre should be enough to maintain the horse in light to medium work and keep him strong and healthy. Unfortunately, soil conditions in the UK mean that vital nutrients could be deficient, while hay quality varies.
Modern horse pastures lack much of the herbage and variety of grasses of past years. Also, they are often overgrazed by horses and do not benefit from stock rotation with cattle and sheep.
Nutritionists therefore recommend supplementation to optimise equine health, in the form of a mineral lick, broad-spectrum supplement or balancer.
Pay attention to recommended daily feeding levels
Many people rely on estimation when it comes to feeding their horses and a few gram over or under the recommended daily feeding levels can soon mount up.
Although we all talk about providing a balanced diet, there will always be an element of guesswork involved in feeding horses. How many people have their hay or grazing analysed? The majority of us don’t weigh every feed or haynet, and it is impossible to know how much your horse has eaten during his day in the field.
The horseowner who feeds a compound feed plus a feed balancer, and then throws in a broad spectrum vitamin-mineral supplement or a vitamin E and selenium supplement for good measure, for example, certainly doesn’t sit down and calculate the amount of selenium his horse is getting.
It is easy to give our horses too many nutrients by feeding such a mixture of products and, with supplements, it is not always the case that more is better. While some surplus nutrients will simply be excreted from the body, others, such as selenium and vitamins A and D, can cause toxicity problems if fed in excess.
It is therefore important to understand what you are feeding when considering a combination of nutritional supplements, compound feeds and feed balancers particularly if the horse is in harder work.
It is these horses that are traditionally more likely to be on a high level of compound feed, along with a feed balancer and, potentially, an additional feed supplement. Feed companies are mindful of the potential problems that such horses face, and often formulate their feed balancers with a margin of safety in key nutritional areas.
If owners opt for the highest possible specification of feed and then use it with other ready-balanced feeds and vitamin and mineral supplements, they could push the horse’s nutritional balance over the edge, potentially causing toxicity.
Balancers help to keep things simple
It is easy to jump on the latest bandwagon or feed the most attractive product. Let’s face it, a bowl of grass nuts doesn’t look quite as tasty as a colourful, sweet-smelling mix, does it? But could it be that we sometimes feed our horses what we think they want, based on our human perception?
As horseowners, we obviously want to feel that we are doing the best for our horses and, by spending time adding various ingredients to the ration, we are often fulfilling our own need, but not necessarily that of our horse.
Feeding should be about keeping it simple, which is why feed balancers are such a wonderful concept. They offer a wide range of benefits in a single, concentrated pellet and, for the horse in light to medium work, can simply be added to the basic forage diet.
For horses in harder work, feed balancers can also be a key ingredient. Working horses tend to be on higher levels of cereal feed, as well as facing the stress of training, travelling and competing, all of which can adversely affect the digestive system.
Choosing a feed balancer containing both prebiotics and yeast cultures can help support a healthy digestive tract and enable the horse to take more out of its diet, so less hard feed can be given without compromising performance.
Balancers specifically formulated for the fit performance horse may also contain nutrients aimed at enhancing fitness and stamina, as well as speeding recovery rates after exertion.
Do Horses Need A Balancer?
So, should we abandon our current feeding regimes and rush out to buy a feed balancer?
We would always advise horseowners to keep their feeding programmes as simple as possible and stay with a regime that suits them and their horse.
Many problems arise from over feeding, It is therefore essential to take a good look at your horse as an individual and try to fulfil his basic needs for a high-fibre diet, plus high quality vitamins and minerals. Then you can always add an extra source of energy if he requires it for work or weight gain.
Benefits of a balancer for your horse
- Balancers aim to ‘balance’ the entire dietary ration by complementing less-nutritious elements.
- They are versatile, and address many common nutrition problems in one step by providing a range of essential nutrients.
- Top-specification balancers create optimum conditions for an efficient digestive system.
- Balancers are designed to enable the horse to utilise the various elements of the diet, which means owners can feed fewer concentrates. This puts less strain on the horse’s digestive tract.
- Certain vitamin and minerals can, if fed in excess, cause toxicity, while a high-quality feed balancer at the recommended inclusion rate negates the need for extra supplementation.
- Balancers aim to contribute to overall equine health.
Which horse feed balancer should I choose?
A good -quality feed balancer is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich blend, usually in pellet form. Formulations vary, but often include:
- Essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
- Digestion-enhancing ingredients (typically yeast cultures and prebiotics, which stimulate microbial growth).
- Chelated (bonded) minerals – bio-available substances that are more easily absorbed across the gut wall.
- Additional ingredients offering benefits such as respiratory support.