What is a Balancer?


What is a balancer?

A balancer is often described as a complete feed; in that it is designed to provide your horse or pony with the correct levels of vitamins and minerals, as well as protein in order to deliver a fully balanced ration. 
All horses are designed to be metabolising fibre for 16 to 18 hours a day which ensures a consistent supply of fibre to the hindgut and also means the horse is producing saliva, (as a result of chewing) which is slightly alkaline in nature and helps to buffer excess stomach acid. Wild horses travel huge distances in order to seek out the best fibre sources, grazing on a wide variety of vegetation in a range of locations and soil types.

Our horses typically tend to stay in one location and in comparison to their wild counterparts, receive grass, hay, and whatever concentrate feed their owners provide. In comparison their diet and fibre sources are less varied and often do not provide the appropriate level of vitamins and minerals, or ‘micro-nutrients’. These micro-nutrient levels may be deficient due to a limited intake of varied grass species and also, micro-nutrient losses occur when fibre is preserved, for example made into hay and haylage.

A fibre-based ration can provide suitable levels of Digestible Energy (DE) or calories for your horse but the necessary micro-nutrients are typically not provided. When looking specifically at grass, there is a huge difference in nutrient levels depending on grazing quality, grass species and maturity of the plant. Typically, most grass pastures in the UK will be low in lysine, copper, zinc and selenium. Vitamin E (which is an important antioxidant and assists with managing immunity in the body) is high in grass (at certain times of the growing cycle) and may deliver maintenance requirements, however, levels in hay and haylage are significantly reduced.

If your horse is on a fibre or forage based ration a balancer is worth considering to ensure that their micro-nutrient requirements are met.

Which balancer is right for my horse?

Balancers work best when the horse receives the right balancer for it’s workload, age, and body condition.  These three variables are really important to consider when selecting what type of balancer to feed your horse. For example, for horses with a light workload a balancer with lower levels of protein is usually suitable.  Whilst those in harder work can require additional levels of protein and also higher levels of specific micro-nutrients, such as Vitamin E, in order to balance their ration.
Horses with a good body condition score, require a balancer with the correct levels of micro-nutrients but with low calorie content (low levels of starch and sugar) such as Chestnut Lite Balancer.

How much should I feed?

Most balancers are formulated to be nutrient-dense meaning the feeding rates are lower than traditional feeds. Your horse only needs to receive small quantities of a balancer to receive their required nutrients.
A balancer can be fed on it’s own or with Chestnut Chomp, Chomp Lite or beet pulp, or they can be used to ‘top-dress’ a complete feed if that feed is being fed at a quantity less than that recommended rates.

Which Chestnut Horse Feeds balancer is best for my horse?

Our Everyday Essential Balancer is a mix style balancer that consists of a blend of high quality ingredients, including micro-nutrients, fibre, protein and oil. We have specially formulated this for horses that are in medium-hard work, older horses that need a little more support or those needing concentrated levels of nutrients in their ration.  

Our Lite Balancer is also a mix style balancer consisting of a blend of high quality ingredients, including micro-nutrients, fibre, protein and oil; however, we have specifically formulated this balancer to provide lower levels of starch and sugar (calories). This is a great option for horses that are in maintenance - light work and is also suitable for good-doers, or those that require a limited calorie ration, but still need to be receiving quality micro-nutrients at the correct levels in their diet. With a combined sugar and starch level of only 7.3% our Lite Balancer is suitable for horses and ponies with clinical nutritional diseases such as laminitis, EMS or PPID / Cushing’s Disease.

How do I order?

If you are interested in either of our balancers and would like dedicated advice for your horse or pony all you need to do is complete our advice request form 

Or get in touch to find out when we are next in your area and place an order for a Bulk Bin of the Chestnut Feed of your choice.