Importance of a ration balancer... - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Importance of a ration balancer...

I'll include a link to the 'fact sheet' detailing one of the grains we feed. Essentially it's a soy / beet pulp mix, the old ladies get it because it's easy on their teeth, Jackson gets it a ) because we can't feed them without feeding him and b ) because he can be a tough keeper through the winter.

The old ladies are going to get it with a mix of senior feed.

The directions for use include a ration balancer and I'm going to be 100% honest and say I've NEVER fed a ration balancer. We used the same feed last year without a hitch, our picky eater (who wouldn't touch straight beet pulp or rice bran) loved it, and after losing a dangerous amount of weight gained and maintained well. Without a ration balancer.

BUT, I'd like a little more information and maybe I'm just tired, but I can't find the importance anywhere. I don't know what balancer to buy, what I need, if I need it, if it's "dangerous" to feed grain without it or if it's just an added benefit. I want to get ahead of winter and our harder keepers this year, but I have zero time. Does anyone have any help to offer? Virtual cookies if you do.

(and lets not suggest smartpak because they STILL wont send to Canada)

http://ottercoop.com/_customelements...lFactSheet.pdf
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 06:18 PM
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Here's a page that explains it: Ration Balancer Benefits

The people I know who feed beet pulp don't feed it alone, but as an add on. I'm guessing that it's recommending a ration balancer because the beet pulp on its on is probably not balanced nutritionally.

I don't feed my horse grain, instead he only gets a ration balancer (KER All Phase). Since I do give him some powdered supplements, I add some timothy hay pellets to add more 'bulk' to his feed bucket without adding calories. My horse is a slightly plump, happy man and I want to keep him that way.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-21-2013, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the link, DA! That's exactly what I was looking for.
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-28-2013, 07:35 PM
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A 'ration balancer' is a vitamin/mineral supplement which is important for a horse's health, because generally their diets will be deficient/imbalanced in a range of important nutrients.

It depends what they get in their diet as to whether/which/how much of a supplement they may need - or not - so it's important to do at least a basic diet analysis before deciding which product to fork out on. The good ones generally aren't cheap, but you feed in such low doses that they are quite economical, while the cheaper ones are generally not great, need feeding in large quantities & are often a waste of money. But it depends what the horse is getting as to what it may need. FeedXL.com is one great resource for working out what's what there.
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-29-2013, 05:33 PM
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For a normally easy keeper though would a ration balancer be better for them? Right now my spotted draft mare gets 2 quarts Purina Strategy(just switched to Purina off of Nutrena Safechoice) with 1 cup Nutrena Empower.
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-29-2013, 09:23 PM
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^^Not sure I understand the question - better than?? A 'normal easy keeper' shouldn't require any extra feed, just a good nutritional supplement to 'balance' their diet.
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-29-2013, 10:43 PM
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My horse is an easy keeper and like Loosie said, easy keepers don’t really need extra grain. My horse only gets an RB as a way to round out his supplements and make sure there are no deficits.
For peace of mind I plugged the data on all the available RBs in my area through FeedXL and the scores were right on target. I narrowed my choice down by a few minor personal preferences and reliability in terms of being able to get it fresh when I need it, which is only one bag every two months.
It's been 18 months since I made the switch and my horse is sleek, shiny, and has terrific hooves.
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