Ration balancers are an excellent type of feed. They look like most other pelleted feeds you find, however they're different from other sweet feeds or fortified grains in the sense that they actually have very little or no grain products in them at all. It's mainly based on forage and vitamins. This is why a ration balancer is especially ideal for easy keepers or horses with health problems such as insulin resistance or glucose intolerance who can't have regular grain.
Ration balancers are very high in nutrients and are meant to be fed in very small amounts, usually only one or two pounds a day, versus most fortified grains which usually require four to seven pounds per day. In that sense you get more feedings from a single 50 pound bag and actually end up saving money. It can be fed alone (for easy keepers) or paired up with other feeds such as beet pulp or alfalfa pellets (for hard keepers).
When feeding the minimum requirement of a ration balancer, no other type of vitamin or mineral supplement is required. Your horse is able to get all its required daily vitamins/minerals from his balancer.
The drawbacks to ration balancers is that not all horses will eat them. They are not always particularly palatable. Also in the case of many hard keepers, a ration balancer with supplementation alone will not be enough for the horse and he will require another fortified feed. Ration balancers can also be difficult to find. Not all feed stores carry them, and even when they do, they usually aren't aware they are "ration balancers" and just consider them another "grain." Get an exact name of a ration balancer and call the feed store ahead of time to ask if they carry it.
Here is a list of a few of the popular ration balancers on the market. Grass formulas are for horses on a grass hay diet, the alfalfa formulas are horses on a diet which consists mainly of alfalfa. If you are feeding alfalfa and grass hay, but mostly grass hay, select a grass formula. If you are feeding alfalfa and grass hay, but mostly alfalfa, select an alfalfa formula.
|Name of Company||Grass Formula||Alfalfa Formula|
|Purina|| Enrich 32 |
(previously Born to Win)
| Enrich 12 |
(previously Mare Maintenence)
|Alliance Nutrition||GroSTRONG Mintrate||StaySTRONG Metabolic Mineral Pellets|
|Tiz Whiz Feeds||Thirty Plus||--|
|Buckeye Feeds||Gro N Win||Gro N Win Alfa|
|FRM Feeds||Sho Bloom||--|
|LMF Feeds||Super Supplement |
|Super Supplement |
|Triple Crown Feeds||30% Supplement||12% Supplement|
|ProAdvantage Grass Formula||ProAdvantage Alfalfa |