Ration balancers?

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

Ration balancers?

This is a discussion on Ration balancers? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Ration balancers
  • Ration balancer for a yearling

Like Tree3Likes

LinkBack Thread Tools
    09-01-2012, 09:33 PM
Ration balancers?

So, Im looking into what I believe is a ration balancer for two of my horses. They both stay fat on grass alone. However, I wanna make sure they are still getting the nutrition they need. So I have no idea where to begin. As I have never had my horses where they had this abundance of pasture. So a little background...
One is 11 and one is 9. They go out on pasture at night about 12-14 hours. And are stalled during the day. They are getting a handful of alfalfa and about a 1/4 lb of feed right now. It is a 10% protien and 5% fat a day. I don't want to take them completly off till I have a balancer for them. They are worked everyday and shown every other weekend (sorting).
So for those of you with experience with these, what works the best for you? Or what would you recommend? My vet suggested a horse block, but they are pastured with my two young horses who still get feed as they are still growing. And all the blocks I have found, say to allow access only to pasture fed horses!
Posted via Mobile Device
Sponsored Links
    09-02-2012, 05:03 AM
If the pasture is that good, maybe some 12:12 minerals, salt, and if they're stalled during the day a little not-too-rich grass hay for them to busy themselves with, in addition to what you're giving them now.
    09-06-2012, 02:04 AM

The best nutritional supp is one that's appropriate to the horse considering their diet. So to be accurate about it, a pasture/hay analysis would be good. Of course, that's not always appropriate/practical, so next best suggestion is to use a program such as feedxl.com or ask a nutritionist to do a basic diet analysis & work out what's the best(don't use ones that work for a feed co, because they'll generally only recommend their co's prods).

They're probably not getting anything really nutrition-wise from the feed, given the amount, but I wonder why you're feeding them anything extra if they're already fat? Just because they're growing horses doesn't mean they need feed regardless of weight. I disagree with your vet re a block, because studies show that horses get very little of anything from a mineral lick.
    09-06-2012, 03:41 PM
This isnt a mineral block she suggested. It is a special block for horses specifically for horses on pasture. Its a balancer in block form. And my young horses are a perfect weight. So I know they will not do well on no feed at all.
Posted via Mobile Device
    09-06-2012, 07:11 PM
First, you need to consider the purpose of a ration balancer- it is to balance out a horse's diet that is primarily comprised of forage (either hay or pasture). Hay/pasture diets are almost always deficient in at least some minerals due to the mineral profile of the soil the grass is grown in. Certain minerals may be deficient in an entire region (like selenium in many areas of the US) or might be specific to that field based on its agricultural history. Unless you do an analysis of your hay/pasture, you can't be entirely sure the nutrient content.

Luckily, most vitamins and minerals have a wide margin of safety, and providing more than the 'recommended' amount for a horse usually isn't an issue. That's why ration balancers & fortified grains work well for a wide range of horses with access to very different forage. There are some exceptions, and some minerals need to be kept in a certain balance with other minerals (you'll often see people talk about the calcium-to-phosphorous ratio, for example) I second the suggestion of FeedXL to make sure you're keeping those minerals in balance.

Ration balancers are low-calorie feeds that include vitamins, minerals, and protein to supplement an otherwise forage-only diet (they can also be used to supplement grain when it's fed below the recommended levels). Most feed companies make at least one ration balancer (some make two- one for grass diets, one for alfalfa diets). You can read up on ration balancers here: Ration Balancer If you need extra calories beyond a ration balancer, rice bran, beet pulp, and alfalfa (pellets/cubes/hay) are healthy alternatives to feeding grain.

A vitamin/mineral supplement (like SmartVites) is similar, but does not include protein. Be careful of some vit/min supplements- not all of them provide balanced nutrition (a lesson I learned with my horse!)

I'm not sure what kind of block your vet was referring to, but I have yet to see any block that provides horses with a balanced or complete blend of vitamins & minerals. Horses have not been shown to self-regulate any mineral other than salt. The amount that a horse licks at a mineral block or free choice mineral mix is largely due to the horse's preference for its flavor and/or boredom. Additionally, horses tongues are not rough and it can be difficult for them to get even sufficient salt from a block, much less any other minerals.
    09-06-2012, 07:54 PM
Green Broke
My horses are on pasture 24/7 and I supplement them with Life Data Lab's Barn Bag for Performance Horses. Usually a half cup is all you need and if your horse needs more energy, add whole oats. Mine aren't doing a whole lot right now so they only get about a cup of oats with their Barn Bag.
    09-06-2012, 08:38 PM
Originally Posted by Cowgirl140ty    
This isnt a mineral block....Its a balancer in block form.
Not sure I get the difference, as that's also the point of a mineral block? Perhaps it's just better balanced than the average ones? But if it's a lick block, unless your horses actually chew fair size chunks off it daily, rather than just lick, there are studies that show they aren't much chop.

And my young horses are a perfect weight. So I know they will not do well on no feed at all.
You said they were fat on grass alone?? With how much you're giving them, it won't be making any real difference either.... unless they're minis!
    09-06-2012, 09:13 PM
My older horses are fat alone. And the horse blocks im referring to are made by dumor and are sold at tractor supply. I do plan on having my soil tested. I just gotta plan a day to go to the ag office. The closest to me is about 2 hours.
Posted via Mobile Device
    09-06-2012, 09:50 PM
Originally Posted by Cowgirl140ty    
I do plan on having my soil tested. I just
That's great that you can do that. You may want to have a look into some studies on nutritional analysis before spending your money, because it seems it's more accurate doing a pasture/hay analysis than soil.
    09-06-2012, 10:14 PM
Yea. My main focus are my horses. So I want to make sure they get the best. Especially since they are ridden pretty hard. And shown a lot. Not that cattle horses have to be pretty. But I pride myself on their clean clipped faces, shiny coats. Lol.
Posted via Mobile Device

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
will someone please fill me in on the Ration Balancers? WildAcreFarms Horse Nutrition 7 11-06-2011 09:00 AM
Nutrition, Ration Balancers, and Other Feeds kittcatt Horse Health 1 09-14-2011 03:39 AM
Ration Balancers TheRoughrider21 Horse Nutrition 6 06-07-2011 08:59 PM
Canadian Ration Balancers Equus_girl Horse Nutrition 1 09-13-2010 10:35 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:51 AM.

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