Why is it important to continue feeding a balancer during the grazing season?
We bust some myths and answer some common questions raised.
“I don’t need to feed a balancer in the summer as it will make my pony/horse fat”
All Blue Chip balancers are low in calories (and all molasses free) and contain minimal levels of starch and sugar, with no added sugar.
Diet balancers and those aimed at good doers (such as Blue Chip Lami Light and our Super Concentrated range) are especially beneficial as part of a calorie-controlled plan. These balancers support overall health, which can lead to improved mobility and burning of further calories.
For those on a calorie-controlled diet, Blue Chip can work out EXACTLY how many grams of sugar and starch you would be feeding, just contact us and we can let you know. This is a preferred approach than looking solely at percentages, which can be misleading due to varying feeding rates.
“I’ll just feed a vitamin and mineral supplement in the summer”
Balancers go one better than a broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement as they contain quality protein which supplies essential amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of all body tissues, including horn, hair, muscle and bone so are very important.
These additional ingredients can be invaluable in supporting the specific needs of a laminitis prone pony/horse by supporting the structure of body tissues including the laminae.
“I don’t need to feed a balancer because we have good grass”
Grass is likely to provide most of the calories your horse will need in the spring particularly, but the mineral content of grass can fluctuate. Over time a deficiency in certain minerals could have a negative effect on your ponies/horse’s health.
“My pony/horse doesn’t need anything other than calories”
Don’t make the mistake of solely relying on calories to maintain the well-being of your pony/horse.
Spring and summer grazing will provide calories, but feeding balanced levels of vitamins, minerals and supporting ingredients such as anti-oxidants and protein, allows for the correct balance to be achieved to keep your pony/horse healthy.
It is now recognised that up to 90% of laminitis cases are caused by an underlying hormonal disease such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and/or Cushing’s Disease. (www.bhs.org.uk) Feeding a balancer (such as Blue Chip Senior) which contains chaste tree berry could help support the pituitary gland to decrease the risk of laminitis.
“Our fields are big so the ponies/horses are getting access to a varied and healthy diet.”
No matter how well your fields are looked after it will never be diverse enough or large enough to provide the correct vitamin, mineral and nutrient balance.
Condition score and weigh tape on a regular basis, to make note of gradual changes in weight, also noting where your horse is storing their fat.
Just 20 minutes exercise a day can have a benefit to your horses’ fitness and general health. This doesn’t have to be ridden, it could just be an in-hand walk, but no snacking on the way!
Grass is the highest calorie contributor to your horses diet, if you are really struggling with your horse getting overweight consider the use of a grazing muzzle, stable time off grass, and strip grazing to decrease access to grass, and/or a track system to encourage more movement.
If your pony/horse has a tendency to gain too much weight in the spring and summer don’t be afraid of letting them lose weight in the winter. This is a natural process and puts a stop to the gradual weight gain over many years, possibly leading to further health problems.
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