Some timely advice to pass onto your customers.
Balancers are a particularly relevant food source to discuss at present, considering the recent encouragement to start riding our horses once more, writes Dr Courtney Miller BS BVetMed MRCVS, Dodson & Horrell, head of technical department.
As we come out of this variable period, when many of us will have altered our management and feeding routines in a hurry, a balancer might be the perfect option to consider… they truly are that versatile. But why?
If we talk human equivalents, balancers would sit somewhere between a multi-vitamin and a meal replacement shake.
That makes them generally concentrated, low calorie sources of the daily vitamins and minerals your horse or pony needs to balance their other dietary components (grass, hay, haylage). Probably most importantly, they can also offer peace of mind.
Tweaking the feeding regime
Many of us like to have the ability to tweak our feeding regimes a little bit to suit ever changing scenarios throughout the year, and balancers award us that freedom.
Because they can often operate as the failsafe source of the nutrients your horse or pony needs every day, they subsequently open the opportunity to add in other components when desired.
These other components may include an oily short chop fibre fed before riding out in summer to support digestion and coat shine, to a concentrated conditioning feed provided in autumn to give that last oomph before winter, to a warming mash provided alongside a balancer in colder weather.
Remember that dietary changes in horses should be made slowly and progressively where possible. If you do like to experiment and adjust your feeding to suit your horse’s needs, consider reaching out to company provided helpline services which can provide nutritional advice to best guide and support your decisions.
So why are balancers so relevant now? They are generally not just low calorie, but also low starch and sugar as well, making them extra suitable when you are searching for a perfect option to support well-being and cool headedness before saddling up for the first time again.
This low starch and sugar content in combination with balanced vitamins and minerals also makes many of them appropriate for a broad range of horses and ponies, often including those who are prone to gastrointestinal disturbances and/or laminitis (consult with both your vet and your chosen feed company when picking a food suitable for a horse or pony with a clinical condition).
Finally, current research and development has created many cost-effective options, often able to eliminate the need to additionally supplement, dependent on your focus areas.
As an example, if you’re looking to prevent excess condition gain this summer, Dodson & Horrell Go Lite Balancer is low in calories, starch and sugar, whilst including a clever blend of herbs and supplements to support healthy hoof growth, skin health, circulation, total antioxidant capacity, and a healthy hindgut environment.
A 30-day supply for a 500kg horse it will come in at less than 60p per day at RRP.
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