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What Is the Best Feed Balancer for Horses in 2021?
If you own your own horse or are responsible for the upkeep and feeding of a horse, you will be no stranger to horse feed balancers.
Designed to provide a high density hit of nutrients from a small sprinkle of pellets, balancers combine high levels of vitamins, minerals and proteins with a low calorie count, ensuring that your horse is primed with sufficient energy even when the grass is a little low or their activity level is a little higher than usual.
With horses only needing a small amount of feed balancer every day, the higher cost price for a bag of balancer shouldn’t impact your daily spend on your horse – with most packs recommending a quantity of 100g of balancer for every 100kg of weight.
So, when might you need a horse feed balancer? If you follow the recommend cube compound mix according to your horse’s activity levels and weight, you shouldn’t need to supplement the feed with anything more than what you already give him.
A feed balancer is only needed when your horse isn’t getting all the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a balanced and consistent diet, either due to a lack of variety in his diet of forage, or because he is active but maintains his weight with a low energy feed.
In essence, before we move into our top ten feed balancers, the crucial thing to remember is that all of these products are designed to enhance the and ensure that your horse is getting a complete balanced diet – filled with all the vitamins and minerals needed to lead a productive and healthy life.
- The 10 Top-Rated Feed Balancers For Horses
- The Best Horse Feed Balancers
- 1. Blue Chip Feed Original Horse Feed Balancer
- 2. Protexin Equine Premium Gut Balancer
- 3. Blue Chip Feed Super Concentrated Calming Balancer
- 4. NAF Five Star Optimum Balancer
- 5. NAF Haylage Balancer
- 6. Nettex Gut Balancer for Horses
- 7. TopSpec Lite Feed Balancer
- 8. Dodson & Horrell Be Calm Horse Feed Balancer
- 9. Blue Chip Feed Super Concentrated Senior Balancer
- 10. NAF Slim
- What Is a Horse Feed Balancer?
- Balancers help to provide a more natural diet
- Which balancer should I feed my horse?
- Help to avoid deficiencies in your horse’s diet
- Pay attention to recommended daily feeding levels
- Balancers help to keep things simple
- Do Horses Need A Balancer?
- Benefits of a balancer for your horse
- Which horse feed balancer should I choose?
The 10 Top-Rated Feed Balancers For Horses
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the best horse feed balancers on the market right now, taking into account the value, quality and effectiveness of each.
The Best Horse Feed Balancers
1. Blue Chip Feed Original Horse Feed Balancer
The standard size of this original horse feed balancer is 15kg, so should happily see a 500kg horse through 30 supplementary feeds before you need to replace the bag.
Specially designed to support your horse’s natural ability to digest forage, the formula of this balancer combines a range of probiotics with vitamins, fatty acids and various supplements which contribute towards the healthy upkeep of the horse’s hooves, coat and respiratory system.
Blue Chip also exclusively uses a natural source of Vitamin E derived from fruit, rather than the synthetic version found in many feeds.
Users typically herald this product for helping their horse retain weight and condition, as well as a glossy coat fit for show.
2. Protexin Equine Premium Gut Balancer
Designed to support your horse from the inside out, this balancer does what it says on the tin – delivering probiotics, prebiotics and crucial natural yeast, worked into a grass meal base which tastes great for your horse, in order to encourage the most effective and efficient digestive function.
Particularly suitable for those horses which are suffering from an upset or unsettled stomach, customers tend to find that this specific balancer soothes their horse’s gut and helps support a normal lifestyle and eating routine.
Available in four different tub sizes, customers can either trial the Protexin product with a 400g trial portion before investing in a 7kg tub, or they can jump right in with the 7kg lasting a long time thanks to the small portion required to make a difference.
3. Blue Chip Feed Super Concentrated Calming Balancer
Another Blue Chip product, but this time something designed for less frequent and more targeted use – suitable for horses which require calming or soothing to combat an unsettled stomach that has come about as a result of stress.
This balancer is often recommended to those who have recently moved or are facing a big move with their horse, as the blend of chamomile and other natural ingredients works as a natural relaxant to help their horse acclimatise and retain a regular eating pattern.
4. NAF Five Star Optimum Balancer
A high quality all-round product for general health and wellbeing support, this particular balancer is designed to compliment a high fibre diet and protects not only the physical condition of your horse but also his digestive health and the appearance of his coat and features.
The NAF balancer provides a five star blend of vitamins and minerals needed for a well rounded conditional support, all packed into a good value price.
Essentially, this balancer is clear in its statement that the product is suitable for all breeds of horse, meaning that owners can feed the balancer to their hors safe in the knowledge that there will be no side effects.
In terms of customer reviews, users tend to find that this balancer protects the weight of their horse even if the horse is subject to dropping weight and they don’t want to overfeed the horse.
5. NAF Haylage Balancer
Designed for horses who are fed a steady diet of roughage, this balancer helps slow down the passage of partially digested food so that your horse does not become bloated through an incomplete digestion.
Optimising the digestion rate of forage as it passes through the body, this NAF balancer is pricier than the former NAF product but is uniquely designed to not only provide additional vitamins and minerals to an existing diet, but also gain the full nutritional value of all other food products.
Customers herald this product for its effectiveness in the face of a new style of hay or grass that their horse feeds on throughout the year, stating that it is good value and highly effective all year round.
6. Nettex Gut Balancer for Horses
One of our pricier feed balancers, the Nettex product comes in a 1.5kg container or a 750g smaller trial size – combining probiotics and prebiotics to deliver an effective digestible aid which helps calm anxious horses.
The formula is also specially designed to reduce the effect of muscle fatigue and maximise performance, by increasing the amount of oxygen that is carried in the blood.
In terms of physical benefits, the Nettex balancer helps combat conditions which lead to weight loss and discomfort, and also helps restore the condition and overall health of a horse who has undergone or suffered with stress.
Reviewed by users as effective and good value, the high price tag shouldn’t deter you from trialling this balancer for a horse showing symptoms of unrest.
7. TopSpec Lite Feed Balancer
Boasting great value for a 15kg bag of balancer feed, the TopSpec balancer is designed for horses with a light to medium activity rate, combining the low calorie make-up of the product with a boost of wellness supplement and specialist hoof supplement.
The high fibre properties of the balancer alongside the low calorie build means that this balancer is ideal for horses on a diet, provided the user takes care to utilise the right capacity per feed.
On average, a 15kg bad should last an average horse around 30 days, meaning you will need to stock up on a new bag every month.
8. Dodson & Horrell Be Calm Horse Feed Balancer
As indicated by its title, this feed balancer is carefully designed to promote a calm and consistent temperament, through its balance of natural herbs and ingredients which include Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Rosemary among others.
Naturally low in both sugar and starch, this balancer is particularly popular with those whose horses suffer from regular indigestion, or who are facing a period of change where the temperament of the horse may be tested.
It is worth noting that in the case of Dodson & Horrell, over-excitement is also classed as a symptom for requiring a calming feed balancer, with the Be Calm blend recommended either on its own during intense periods or alongside a regular hard feed for consistent monitoring.
Existing customers love the price and value of the Dodson & Horrell brand and say that the brand always delivers natural products which really work and prove effective for their horse.
9. Blue Chip Feed Super Concentrated Senior Balancer
One of the leading feed balancers for older horses, this Blue Chip blend is super concentrated meaning that it should be served sparingly as a supplement rather than a food source.
Designed for horses aged 14 and upwards, the main focus of the Senior Balancer is to promote healthy joints and help an older horse keep his condition and stable health even as he moves less and engages in less activity.
This blend is free from molasses and contains a natural chaste tree berry combination which aids its natural ability to support your horse both inside and out.
Users tend to revel in the way that this senior balancer product supports their horse in his older years, sharing the benefits of the product across the coat, hooves and general temperament of their horse.
10. NAF Slim
The ultimate slimming world product for horses, the NAF Slim is uniquely designed to support the health and wellbeing of horses which are overweight, have fat pads, or are on a restricted grazing feed but still need the full range of vitamins and minerals for a healthy lifestyle.
With metabolism boosting marine extracts combined with the range of vitamins required to support a full range of movement and activity, this product is safe to use alongside existing feed regimes and helps to build normal glucose levels in the blood.
Designed to be fed to your horse on a daily basis, the primary selling point of the NAF Slim is that it delivers all your horse needs, in a mix which won’t promote weight gain – helping them build and retain great condition without missing out on vital nutrients.
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.
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.
Last update on 2021-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API