There’s a (fairly) new and exciting product on the market for horse owners – ration balancers.
A ration balancer is pretty much what it sounds like, a balancer to a horse’s ration (diet). In an earlier blog about nutrition, I outlined that horses’ bodies are made to live on grass/hay and water alone – not the commercial grains that we all know they LOVE (just listen to all the squealing and nickering during feeding time!) However, some horses, mainly young, old, those in heavy work and hard keepers – need more nutrition and nutrients than a horse that does great on grass/hay alone. This is where sweet feeds come in – and there are tons of them to choose from – but most have the same ingredients – corn, oats, molasses, and have a similar protein and fat content and designed to provide overall nutrition with a focus on one thing – CALORIES.
Calories = Energy.
Ration balancers are a little different. They are forage based, have an extremely high protein content (approx 30% vs. grain which is 8%-14%) and provide all the necessary minerals and amino acids that a horse needs. Because the protein content is so high, the amount needed to feed is WAY less, and therefore these feeds are overall more economical. The benefits outlined above make ration balancers a great choice for easy keepers, and even horses that are in heavy work that tend to get a tad crazy or “hot” on grains. There is virtually no sugar or starch in a balancer, which is also great for their feet and to ward off orthopedic issues. They don’t however, provide much in the way of calories, and therefore may not be the best choice for hard keepers or geriatric horses.
**Thanks to understanding-horse-nutrition.com for the great info!!!
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