What is the difference between a balancer and a broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement?
In general, broad spectrum powdered or liquid supplements tend to only provide vitamins and trace minerals, although some may also contain a small amount of macro minerals and essential amino acids. Balancers originated as a compound feed, formulated to be fed in small quantities and provide a concentrated source of essential vitamins and minerals, plus excellent levels of quality protein; rich in essential amino acids such as lysine. Traditionally balancers, as the name suggests, were fed alongside straights such as oats, barley and beet pulp to fill in the ‘nutritional gaps’ of these ingredients. Whilst balancers are still used in this way today, in recent times the balancer concept has evolved.
Nowadays, many balancers not only contain the vital micronutrients the horse needs, but also supply functional ingredients such as yeast, prebiotics and natural stomach acid buffers. Balancers are ideal for good-doers, including those prone to laminitis, as they provide a concentrated source of nutrients needed to balance a forage only diet, without oversupplying calories. Balancers are also an extremely useful way of ‘topping-up’ a horse’s vitamin and mineral intake; for example, if a horse is being fed less than the recommended amount of another hard feed or when appetite is restricted. Connolly’s RED MILLS produce a range of balancers – so if you are feeding straights or simply need a feed for a good-doer or performance horse we have a balancer specifically formulated to suit your horse’s individual requirements.