Top-dress with a Feed Balancer
Written by Nia O’Malley
Most performance feeds are formulated so that all requirements are met, however requirements will vary greatly depending on many factors: environment you’re working in, your training style, workload, surfaces you’re working on, show schedule, travel, forage quality, temperament of the horse, illness, growth stage of the horse, etc.
Why topdress with a feed balancer?
Topdressing with a feed balancer adds extra key nutrients to the diet. These key nutrients will assist the horse in utilizing the energy that is provided in the diet more efficiently, assist in overall muscle function, and improve post-exercise recovery rates, meaning that your horse works much more efficiently, recovers quicker, and is back in form for work the next day with a pep in his step.
For horses with a heavy work schedule and lengthy showing season, it would definitely be a good idea to consider topdressing with a balancer to ensure requirements for all nutrients are met. It really helps take out the guesswork if you want to add extra to the diet as everything is provided in a balanced format, so no need to worry if you are over-supplementing with one element or under-supplementing with another as would be the case if you were to supplement with individual products.
And for those horses on light daily feeding rates, topdressing with a balancer is essential as it is very likely that you are not meeting the horse’s daily nutrient requirements and you are possibly leaving your horse more predisposed to injury, poor performance and poor recovery as a result.
How much should I feed?
How much balancer to topdress with will depend on your feeding rates, but also on the balancer that you use. As a general guideline, the less feed you give the more balancer you topdress with. Most balancers have a feeding rate of 0.5-1.5lbs/day, and horses can very easily work at a high level on just balancer alone.
A balancer is a lot like a vitamin/mineral supplement for your horse but differs in the amount of protein and macro-minerals that it adds to your horse’s diet. Vitamin and mineral supplements predominantly supply micro-minerals and vitamins, with some amino acids and macro-minerals. Bar supplying calories, a balancer can provide everything that your horse needs.
Balancers in general are lo-cal, providing very few calories, but you will sometimes notice after topdressing with a balancer that your horse seems to have more energy, this is not because of increased calorie intake this is because the horse is just feeling better in himself, similar to how we feel after going on a course of vitamins and minerals!