Editor’s note: We at The Horse are horse owners like you. Certain equine-care products have impacted how we manage our own animals, and we want to share our experiences with you. These select products are ones we use and love every day.
A friend recently told me I have horses like most women have handbags: one for each mood that strikes me. Some days I like to get spiffed up and go to dressage clinics and USDF-recognized dressage shows. For that, I have my giant (now a retired old man) Hanoverian gelding, Marathon, and my 6-year-old off-track Thoroughbred mare, Ann (#OTTB2FEI). Other days I like to bomb down the trail at endurance rides on my Arabian-Hanoverian mare, Atty, who’s a dressage dropout but loves to eat miles in the high desert with her giant trot. And some days I just want to relax and enjoy a lope around the arena in a Western saddle on my slow-poke, peanut-rolling pleasure-bred Quarter Horse, Jack, whom I bred and is now an equine senior citizen. I think my friend was telling me I have too many horses. And some days, when I’m mucking paddocks, stuffing haynets, and dragging the arena instead of riding, I agree with her.
For that reason, I’m always looking for ways to trim horse chore time and maximize riding time without sacrificing quality of care. One solution? Simplifying my feeding program by using Triple Crown 30% Balancer.
My horses are all very different when it comes to their metabolisms. Two tend toward fat (Marathon, who gets little exercise these days, and Atty, who covers at least 25 miles a week during the summer). Jack, who is in light work, and Ann, who’s in full training, are hard keepers. I used to take great satisfaction in mixing custom meals when I had fewer horses. A little beet pulp for the skinny horse (soaking in our spare bathroom during winter months), some rice bran or flax for shine, maybe some oats or alfalfa pellets, and various supplements depending on the horse. Then two horses became three, and three became four. And it all got to be a bit much. That’s when I decided to try a ration balancer.
A ration balancer is a nutrient-dense, (typically) low-calorie, small-portion feed comprising essential vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat. As the name implies, these feeds “balance” the horse’s diet by offering nutrients hay alone might lack. If your 1,000-pound horse is an easy keeper, you can feed appropriate forage and a pound of Triple Crown 30% Ration Balancer and know he’s likely getting all he needs. Ration balancers are also cost-conscious. At $0.70 per day for a 1,000-pound horse, I started saving money when I switched from supplements to Triple Crown 30% Balancer.
I tried other ration balancers first with varied success. Some of my horses liked one while others didn’t, and their coats didn’t “bloom” the way I wanted. Another option had larger minimum portion sizes (too much for Marathon) and seemed to bother Atty’s ulcer-prone stomach.
Speaking of ulcers, I bought my OTTB about the time I started testing ration balancers. With her grade-3 gastric ulcers, revved metabolism, nervous nature, and dislike of hay, she needed more calories than a ration balancer could provide. On the recommendation of a nutritionist, I tried her on Triple Crown Senior with great results. I liked the idea of Triple Crown’s fixed-formula and corn-free rations, so I decided to special order a bag of Triple Crown 30% from my feed store.
Winner, winner, the horses finally like their dinner!
While I’ve kept Ann on Triple Crown Senior, the other three amigos gobbled up the Triple Crown 30% Balancer, and their coats began to shine. I manage their hay using slow feeders according to their individual needs. During the day they free feed off nets in turnout together. For Jack I add several pounds of forage pellets twice daily and feed him using a less aggressive slow-feeding net when he’s in his stall-run combo at night.
I appreciate the quality and versatility of Triple Crown 30% Balancer. Using one feed for three of my horses saves time, money, and storage space, and it makes feeding easier for housesitters when we go out of town. My horses’ coats and feet look great, and they like it. And that makes me a happy horse owner. Spending less time fussing over mixing my horses’ meals means less chore time and more riding time, no matter which mood strikes me.