Concentrates or grain is the traditional method of providing vitamins/minerals to the horse. The downside to these products is that you have to feed the recommended amount on the bag if your horse is to receive the recommended amount of nutrients. This means you may need to feed 5-10 pounds of additional feed, depending on the product you feed. These products are often high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, which increase the risk of colic, ulcers, and founder for your horse.
A better way to supply your horse with needed nutrition, without the extra sugar/grains, is by feeding a vitamin/mineral supplement. There are 3 types of supplements: ration balancers, top dress supplements, and free-choice supplements. You can also use a feed balancing program like Feed XL to ensure your horse is getting what they need.
Ration balancers are fed just like a traditional feed. You simply look at the back of the bag to identify the correct amount. Make sure you weigh your “scoop” before you feed so you know you are actually feeding the correct amount! Usually ration balancers have a 1/2-4 pound feeding rate depending on the product.
Top Dress Products:
Top dress supplements are added to a small amount of feed. The benefit is you have more control over the amount and type of carrier/extra calories (beet pulp, hay pellets, stance equine coolstance, renew gold, etc.).
Free-choice supplements are simply left in a bucket or tub for the horse to eat when they choose. This is ideal for pastured horses.