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tell me about ration balancers

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  • #61
    No offense taken! It IS easier to micro-manage a few horses. But even I don't micro manage them. Free choice hay, the harder keeping mare gets more calories from alfalfa pellets and more boss, the 2 easier keepers get very little additional calories, all get a vit/min supplement. It's just that my type of concentrated calories comes from 2 sources - alfalfa pellets and BOSS. No different from your sources being a few different things. I vary the amounts depending on the horse, just like you.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #62
      Originally posted by sporthorsefilly View Post
      Darlyn, you and I have the same thoughts. For Centuries horses ate Oats, Barley and Corn. In the desert, Arab horses ate herbs found growing wild, and drank camel's milk. For the past 100 years horse ate oats, corn and molasses...but NOW, we have the "Nutritionist" (an unregulated term requiring no formal college training, by the way) and these "gurus" tell us to feed high fat, low carb blah, blah. Everyone jumps on board!

      I have tried Grow n Win, I've used Ultimate Finish (which I love, but it puts too much weight on a horse), used all of the Purina line, and most of the Buckeye line. I like Buckeye Growth, which is a cooked oat, barley, beet pulp + vitamins and minerals. Hey, horses grew for years and years on hay and Oats...they haven't changed, but now we have the "nutritionist."

      40 years ago, I was at a TB training center in North Carolina during the winter. They fed cooked oats, barley, beet pulp, alfalfa meal and some flax seed. All the horses looked great. But they cooked the feed all day long! No one does that now...we have the ration balancers!

      Many horses have ulcer problems (most undetected). High protein, concentrated ration balancers can really bother their digestion. But to each his own, if people think that their horses are thriving on ration balancers, then let them think that.

      People live on protein bars...why not have a quick fix for the horse too.

      Sorry, after 50+ years of feeding horses, steam cleaned whole oats and top quality timothy with a little alfalfa, work for me.
      You know, looking back through the thread...I think we are all mostly in agreeance and believe that all nutrients not just protein is important and that is one of the many reasons why RBs have become so popular and work for most. I guess as long as you know that exceptions can occur then I think we all agree that a RB is a good thing.

      So I think the only thing I truly disagree with is the above statements I quoted. Stating something has been done for centuries is not a good argument. It is a well known fact that feeding corn, and molasses based feeds which are extremely high in carbohydrates is not a good thing. Whether you want to continue doing it is up to you, but it isn't a fad diet it is for real and is based on proven facts supported by research run by educated nutritionists. Not all nutritionists are uneducated gurus as was stated. That simply is untrue. But as in most RBs oats is added to the RB when needed. Oats are not as high as many feed stuffs for carbs and their nutrient value matches well with most RBs. So feeding whole oats, timothy and alfalfa is not necessarily a bad thing as long as vitamins and minerals are supplemented where needed/individual ...so actually your argument against RBs is not supported when you consider what you are feeding. You are feeding a low carb diet. It's the molasses etc...in many of the sweet feeds that increases the carbs and calories that have contributed to many of the OCD, IR, EPSSM and even founder issues. Fat is now known to be the best way to increase calories in hard keepers...this is also not a fad, it's simply a fact. So long story short...RBs were made so that it takes the guess work out of how much vit and minerals need to be added to each horses diet. The RBs are made to fit the feeding program for most horses...so that each horse gets the approtiate amount of vitamins and minerals...and not to beat a dead horse, but again, if more calories are needed than is in the RB then adding oats, fat and/or fibre is the way to go.
      www.lazyjsporthorses.com

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      • #63
        and as it has been done so well for decades, a very good quality hay or pasture can BE the ration balancer.

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        • #64
          By definition, a ration balancer balances something you already have. The existence of ration balancers and many vitamin/mineral supplements is because the hay/grass the horse is eating isn't nutritionally balanced - too much of something, too little of something else. Hay and/or grass MANY years ago might have met the nutritional needs of the horse, but it doesn't anymore and hasn't in quite a while. Even whole foods these days aren't as nutritious as they were 100 years ago because the soils just don't have it in them anymore.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          • #65
            Ok I have to come back into this. For your information, I have a biology background, pre-vet and two masters degrees. I am a research information specialist, and horse owner for 52 years and primary care person for 50+ years.

            Now, the evolution of a species doesn't change in 10 years because of the "latest research" [of which I am obviously familiar with!]. The equine species has survived and prospered without man and certainly without ration balancers!

            As for Oats...I do not feed 16 qts/day as they may do at the race track!

            I do not use corn as it is not easily digested (and with Biofuel coming, it will be too expensive one day).

            40 years ago EVERYONE used Calf Manna...now very few even know what it is. (Sort of a ration balancer).

            Then there have been thousands of vitamin, mineral supplements that you can spend all of your excess $$$$ on. I can recall when DRIVE (1965-?)was the biggest thing since sliced bread...where is it now????

            Generally a horse that is a pleasure horse can do well on a very good quality hay [PS I pay $6 - $7/bale for top alfalfa and $5-$7/bale for timothy...though I have been known to give $32 bale for mid-western alfalfa too!] If they are working, then adding grain (oats) may be needed...and not 16 lbs either!

            The reason that we see so many problems is that many horses are stalled and not allowed to be turned out 24/7. They are overfed, underworked, and spoiled. Then we pour in the feed...great combination for all manner of problems.

            Darlyn and I both believe it turn out! We also believe in sensible feeding practices. My horses have lots of shine and health without a ration balancer.

            40+ years ago, I had the privilege to see some of the finest horsemen, people who worked for some of the very best and richest horse owners...never saw a ration balancer or for that matter a can of vitamins!
            http://www.herselffarm.com
            Proud of my Hunter Breeding Princesses
            "Grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson (1/29/07) In Memory of Barbaro

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            • #66
              Originally posted by sporthorsefilly View Post
              Ok I have to come back into this. For your information, I have a biology background, pre-vet and two masters degrees. I am a research information specialist, and horse owner for 52 years and primary care person for 50+ years.

              Now, the evolution of a species doesn't change in 10 years because of the "latest research" [of which I am obviously familiar with!]. The equine species has survived and prospered without man and certainly without ration balancers!

              As for Oats...I do not feed 16 qts/day as they may do at the race track!

              I do not use corn as it is not easily digested (and with Biofuel coming, it will be too expensive one day).

              40 years ago EVERYONE used Calf Manna...now very few even know what it is. (Sort of a ration balancer).

              Then there have been thousands of vitamin, mineral supplements that you can spend all of your excess $$$$ on. I can recall when DRIVE (1965-?)was the biggest thing since sliced bread...where is it now????

              Generally a horse that is a pleasure horse can do well on a very good quality hay [PS I pay $6 - $7/bale for top alfalfa and $5-$7/bale for timothy...though I have been known to give $32 bale for mid-western alfalfa too!] If they are working, then adding grain (oats) may be needed...and not 16 lbs either!

              The reason that we see so many problems is that many horses are stalled and not allowed to be turned out 24/7. They are overfed, underworked, and spoiled. Then we pour in the feed...great combination for all manner of problems.

              Darlyn and I both believe it turn out! We also believe in sensible feeding practices. My horses have lots of shine and health without a ration balancer.

              40+ years ago, I had the privilege to see some of the finest horsemen, people who worked for some of the very best and richest horse owners...never saw a ration balancer or for that matter a can of vitamins!
              What is your point??? If you don't want to use a ration balancer for your particular situation then that is fine...by only argument with you is that you say that Ration Balancers are a fad that causes ulcers and that is just not so. You also stated that nutritionists were uneducated gurus which is not true and you stated that low carb high fat diets were a fad which is not true. The newest research, if you actually do keep up on, tells you that certain types of horses do best on these diets...that's simple facts. Not all people metabolize and utilize feed in the same way so why would you think that horses would be different. There are many types of horses having many varied nutritional requirements. I don't think anyone told you that oats and hay was bad and in fact I feed oats and hay, I just choose to add the RB to it and reduce my overall amount of grain and increase my horses digestibility. This works for most of my 25 head. There are a few exceptions on my farm that get a different diet because that is life, there are always exceptions. And depending on the individual on the RB and what activity level, growth stage, reproductive stage etc... as well as whether or not they are "easy" keepers or not all play into the amount of oats if any they get and whether they get 1 or 2lb RB/feeding. So other than giving your resume, I am not sure what the point is. I realize you don't want to use the RB but to say they don't work when I know from my personal experience of many years, many horses etc... that they do work for me. And if I am not mistaken, I believe th op wanted information from people who use them so....?
              www.lazyjsporthorses.com

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