Forage Balancers for Horses – A Nutritional Balancing Act

Updated March 1, 2023

Forage – whether hay or pasture – is the most important source of food in every horse’s diet. It’s the foundation that fuels your horse, keeps his digestive system happy and healthy, and provides the bulk of his daily required nutrition.

A horse eating out of a hay bag in the stall.

Most horses eat the same hay or graze on the same grass for weeks or even months on end. Over time, any nutritional deficiencies in that forage add up and can lead to imbalances in micronutrients. To solve for this problem, forage balancers were born.

What are Forage Balancers for Horses?

Forage balancers are vitamin and mineral supplements designed to correct common nutritional imbalances in hay or grass.

Starting from the soil, hay or grasses native to certain regions in the US can be prone to deficiencies in essential nutrients and impacted by environmental factors like a poor growing season. Forage balancers can be a smart choice for filling in those gaps and mastering the nutritional balancing act that is your horse’s diet.

How to Feed Forage Balancers

Forage balancers can be fed with or without a balanced grain and are available in pellet and powder forms. You can feed a forage balancer to your horse by simply adding it as a top dressing to their regular meals or just the portion by itself. Forage balancers won’t add significant calories to your horse’s diet, so they won't replace hay, pasture, or grain.

Identifying Imbalances and Deficiencies in Hay

Some horse owners opt to have a hay analysis done which gives specific information on calories, fat, fiber, protein, and mineral content. Armed with this information, an equine nutritionist or veterinarian can direct you to the right forage balancer that best complements your hay.

Another option is to speak with your hay provider to understand more about the type of forage you’re providing. Finally, it’s important to consider the specific type of forage you’re feeding – whether alfalfa, timothy, Bermuda, etc. – when choosing which forage balancer is most appropriate for your horse.

Additional Horse Owner Resources

For a deep dive and answers on all your forage, grain, vitamin, mineral, and supplement questions, check out our horse nutrition guide.

If you think your horse may benefit from adding a forage balancer to their diet, you can always speak to our Customer Care team for information on products that may support your horse’s needs. They’re riders just like you, with extensive equine health and supplement education who’re here to put their smarts to work for you and your horse!

SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian regarding specific questions about your horse's health. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, and is purely educational.