There are several reasons why you should look to supplement your horse or pony’s diet with a Feed Balancer, yet the concept can be hard to grasp for many horse owners as they are a relatively new concept in equine feeding and can be a confusing prospect when trying find the correct one to suit their horse or pony.
We look at five of our most commonly asked questions to try and make things clearer:
1. What is a Feed Balancer?
A feed balancer is a concentrated source of balanced levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients alongside quality proteins and energy sources that your horse needs to thrive on a daily basis. A balancer does not contribute a significant amount of calories to your horse’s diet, especially Blue Chip Balancers, which are all 100% natural and whole-cereal and molasses free, but it provides the essential dietary components that are required to ‘balance’ a forage based diet and maintain your horses health and well-being from the inside out
2. What are the main components of a feed balancer?
The main ingredients that are common to balancers include:
- Probiotics – the inclusion of a probiotic is beneficial as they are live microorganisms that contribute to the gut flora in order to increase gut efficiency as they help to create a healthy bacterial environment to facilitate maximum nutrient absorption
- Protein – a high quality source of protein should be included in order to provide all the amino acids required to facilitate the development of muscle and topline and also to provide the precursors for muscle repair after damage has occurred
- Starches and Sugars – these are required to provide energy in the feed balancer, however, levels should be controlled if your horses has suffered from or is prone to laminitis and diet feed balancers have been developed in order to keep these levels lower i.e. whole cereal and molasses free. If your horse is competing at a higher level and in heavy work, opt for a balancer with a slightly higher level of starch, but feed alongside a good source of fibre so that undigested starch cannot enter the hind gut and cause problems such as colic.
Senior balancers commonly include ingredients that benefit joint health such as Glucosamine, MSM and Hyaluronic acid to improve the regeneration of cartilage and also to keep the viscosity of synovial fluid at the correct level to allow comfortable movement of the joint within the capsule.
Include antioxidants such as Selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E to aid the ‘mopping up’ of free radicals and promote a healthy immune system. Blue Chip uses naturally sourced, fruit derived Vitamin E, which is 4-6 times more bioavailable than the Vitamin E found in most feed products.
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii3. Why are probiotics so important?
Probiotic yeasts have a thick cell well which allows them to travel through the horses’ digestive tract to the large intestine where they are utilised. They need to be fed daily in order to ensure that they are replenished to promote the growth of fibre digesting bacteria, which as a result, hel
ps your horse make the most of the feed and fibre that you input into their diet. As the probiotic yeast is a living microorganism, by including them in the diet, they contribute to the ‘gut flora’ which incl
udes different strains of bacteria, protozoa, yeasts and fungi to protect against
undesirable bacterial populations colonising, and also, they help increase the rate of flow of the digesta through the gut, which therefore increases gut motility and efficiency of nutrient absorption as a desirable environment is achieved.
Blue Chip balancers only contain the highest quality, EU approved probiotic yeasts, which form part of a double action digestive supplement that can increase fibre digestibility by up to 100% – vital for allowing your horse to gain the maximum yield from the forage that you provide him with
4. Should I use a feed balancer all year round?
Yes! It is important to feed your horse or pony their feed balancer all year round as grazing quantity and quality is always subject to change, which as a result can change the amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your horse is receiving on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important to maintain a constant daily supply of these to keep condition at its peak throughout the year.
5. Different balancers seem to have different ingredients – how do I decide which is the right one for my own horse?
In order to choose the correct balancer for your horse, you first need to assess what you want to achieve from your feeding regime. Is your horse overweight or laminitic? If so, feed a low sugar and starch Diet Balancer which has a reduced number of calories but provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals your horse or pony needs on a daily basis. Lacking condition? If so, an option would be a balancer containing oils to promote a glossy coat and a probiotic to ensure efficient gut function so optimum nutrient absorption can occur. If you feel your horse may require a calming supplement in their diet, opt for a balancer with magnesium and L-tryptophan included as these are proven to settle nervous horses and benefit digestion as a relaxed horse leads to a relaxed gut. Horses over fourteen may benefit from a Senior Balancer whilst performance horses will require a Competition Balancer – there are Balancers available for all manner of horses and ponies.
Hopefully now that the idea of feeding a balancer is much clearer to you now, you can visit www.bluechipfeed.com or call 0114 266 6200 for nutritional advice tailored to your horse or pony to help choose the correct balancer for your horse or pony
The post Feed Balancers: What’s all the fuss? We answer five of your most common questions in our first Feeding Myths Busted Feature appeared first on Blue Chip Feed | Horse Supplements & Horse Feed Balancers.