Is it a bad idea to not feed grain/ration balancers?

       The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Health > Horse Nutrition

Is it a bad idea to not feed grain/ration balancers?

This is a discussion on Is it a bad idea to not feed grain/ration balancers? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Ration balnancer epsm
  • Grain balancer

LinkBack Thread Tools
    03-14-2013, 04:59 PM
Is it a bad idea to not feed grain/ration balancers?

This may seem like a silly question, but multiple people and one or two vets have talked about not feeding any grain or ration balancers. I still worry about this idea because I do not have a lot of pasture and my hay only comes from one producer. I have high quality hay that is a 60/40 (sometimes 50/50) alfalfa and grass mix. I have had it analyzed to ensure it's quality.

My horse has mild EPSM, so in terms of getting enough calories/energy she will be getting all her energy/fat via oil. Since she cannot process sugars for energy we can't feed most grains anyway. Basically, if I do not need grain to supplement for energy or calories and I switch to providing my horse with free choice high quality hay fed with a slow feeder net/feeder then do I need any ration balancer? I know that Vitamin E and Selenium are a concern for EPSM horses so I can supplement with those individually if needed.

I would only be giving my horse alfalfa pellets that can absorb her 2 cups of vegetable oil and provide a base for her joint supplement and Vitamin E/Selenium if needed.
Sponsored Links
    03-14-2013, 05:44 PM
I would follow your vet's advice.
Posted via Mobile Device
    03-14-2013, 05:57 PM
High quality hay is all they need and a mineral block. Giving her oil in liquid form or as small quantities of soy or flax, etc., will cover any fats. When I raised hay - hay, soy or flax was all my horses were fed during warmer months and they were all very healthy and had plenty, plenty of energy. However, for a normal horse w/o any other issues I do not buy into the "any grain is poison" school of thought. Quality and quantity matters in just about everything.

Since she has metabolic concerns, I think the simple hay/oil diet will do just fine. My only concern would be how much and what kind of grass is in the hay for "sugar" content. Either way, you can ensure all the nutrient bases are covered w/o adding sugar/starch w one of the many loose mineral/vitamin products on the market.
    03-14-2013, 06:24 PM
I would say it depends. Some areas are simply deficient in certain things and thus even the best hay is also such as with selenium and Vit A is always deficient in the winter when there is no green grass even on most formulated feeds. Test the hay and see what is lacking or not lacking. Then you will know what to supplement or not to supplement. IME, very few places have the perfect hay that needs nothing. There are things hay simply will not have due to aging like Vit A for example and where it was grown and how it was fertilized. Also, high iron will leech away copper and zinc even if they seem to have enough. It depends.
    03-14-2013, 06:27 PM
I don't feed my horse's grain but I used to give my older TWH senior feed before he passed away. Mine get free choice bermuda grass and they also have a salt/mineral block.
    03-14-2013, 06:38 PM
I would find out what 'deficiencies' you have in your area, like another poster said and work from there. For example:

Here in AB during the winter I give my horse a ration balancer high in Vit A, D and E. Being stalled and not getting enough sunshine is why I do that. I also feed a high fat feed when he's in hard work. Otherwise good quality hay and a mineral block suffice.
    03-15-2013, 01:27 PM
One other thought. Slow feeders are better for digestion, but EPSM horses are supposed to be turned out so they can move around a lot. If I use a slow feeder my horse will stand in one spot and eat slowly all day. Won't this defeat the purpose of turn out for an EPSM horse?
    03-15-2013, 01:30 PM
Green Broke
Mine get pasture & mineral block in the summer. In the winter they get hay and a mineral/vitamin supplement - mainly a mineral that has a few fat-soluable vitamins that tend to be lacking in hay. (A, D, E)
    03-15-2013, 02:05 PM
Several slow feeders in different spots can help, but if you are feeding hay, they are going to stand in one place anyway when they eat no matter how its delivered.
    03-15-2013, 02:16 PM
I agree that they stand still while eating with either method, but feeding flakes on the ground means they are done in an hour and then my horses usually walk around most of the day. Multiple nets could help.

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ration balancers Cowgirls Boots Horse Grooming 15 01-30-2013 07:26 PM
Ration balancers? Cowgirl140ty Horse Nutrition 24 09-18-2012 02:32 PM
Can I feed ration balancers to a Pony prone to laminitis? Chuckface Horse Nutrition 2 04-10-2012 07:59 PM
Nutrition, Ration Balancers, and Other Feed kittcatt Horse Nutrition 6 09-27-2011 03:29 PM
Ration Balancers TheRoughrider21 Horse Nutrition 6 06-07-2011 07:59 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0