Questions & Answers: Pectigus Balancer Maintenance Diet

Apr 19, 2023Sebastian Feuster

Key Facts

  • High specification gut balancer
  • Improve Equine intake from forage and fibre reducing money spent on additional concentrate
  • Provides natural acid buffering to stabilise pH levels in the gut especially with high spring sugars in grass
  • Contains collagen matrix, essential for the repair and structural integrity of the hoof
  • Helps maintain stable digestion in the hindgut by supporting a high population of beneficial bacteria
  • Supports the normal anti-inflammatory actions of the body and maintains the integrity of the basal membrane and all connective tissues
  • Pectigus is suitable for equines with laminitis or sugar issues
  • Supports the body's natural defences against antagonists found in both feed and the environment
  • 3mm pellet
  • Suitable for feeding alongside Hestevard Exagus ADVANCED

Who should Pectigus Balancer be fed to?
Pectigus should be fed to equines susceptible to the challenges associated with high fructose (sugar) levels found in seasonal grass growth. It could be argued that all equines should be fed Pectigus Balancer as grass in both the spring and during grass flushes has such varied sugar levels throughout the year.

Pectigus is an ideal feed balancer to support horses prone to laminitis, ulcers and will also aid the stabilisation of PH levels. This is due to low sugar levels combined with high fibre and protein levels. This balancer is naturally alkali which aid the buffering the acidity levels naturally occurring in the gut and also within complementary forage that is being fed.

Typical feed rate 500grams. Suitable forage should always be available to feed as saliva is a great buffering material for acid.

What is the feed rate of Pectigus Balancer Maintenance Diet?
Pectigus is fed at 100grams per 100kg of bodyweight of the horse

  • The additional feed rate from Pectigus is made up of “feed” which has a nutritional benefit to the horse:
    • Pectigus also enables horses to absorb more nutrients from forage and reduce the need to feed as much concentrate, making it therefore more cost effective.
    • Dressage/Evening/Show jumping*** – Typically Warmblood (for example Zweibrucker, Holsteiner, Andalusian, Oldenberg), Trakehner, Hanoverian, Irish Sport Horse, Friesian, Andalusian, Thoroughbreds, Holstein and the British Riding Pony**** (Typically medium-high work) horses and ponies.
    • Hacking/Riding*** – Typically Welsh Cob, Andalusian, Friesian & Connemara (Typically light-medium work; sometimes high work) horses and ponies.
    • Heavy/Draft Horses*** – Typically Suffolk Punch, Shire, Clydesdale and Cleveland Bay & Rhenish Coldblood (Typically medium-high work – pulling drays, farm work and heavy pulling) horses.
    • Harness Racing*** – Typically Standardbred, Trotters and Hackney (Typically medium-high work; sometimes light work) horses and ponies.
    • Racing*** – Arabian & Thoroughbred (Extreme work, heavy concentrate feeding in Racing. Lighter feed rates in lower work rates/retirement – lean but higher concentrate feed rate). Typically fed bespoke diets in racing.
    • A simple low feed rate balancers (~100grams) on the other hand are designed to be fed to more conditioned horses, breeds that put on weight easily and under light workloads (I.e. Ponies*** like – Exmoor, Dartmoor, New Forest, Dales, Fell, Highland and Shetland and horses like Cobs (Welsh, heavy breed cobs…) and equines in low work.

Why does Pectigus Balancer have a higher ‘Ash’ rate than other similar products? Minerals and Vitamins make up the “Ash” content of many feed ingredients. All feed stuffs contain a mineral element (i.e. Calcium, Phosphorous, Copper…). A Balancer contains additional minerals and vitamins to meet the horse’s needs, and as a result the ash level will be higher in the finished product. 

Can Pectigus Balancer be fed with other balancers?
Absolutely not. Pectigus Balancer is designed to be fed as the sole balancer at any one time. The key reason being over supply of certain minerals can be particularly challenging or even detrimental (i.e. copper, selenium…). In our case you would feed either Pectigus Balancer or BozMerix Balancer and never a combination of the two. BozMerix is a simpler balancer whereas Pectigus balances but also buffers equines at risk or affected by acid (which can in turn lead to ulcer conditions, laminitis and other acid related challenges).

You can use Pectigus balancer with other supplements too however you need to just take care of the nutritional composition of other supplements. For example do not use this alongside other balancers and care should be taken alongside other multi-vitamins. For example the Hestevard Pectigus Balancer can be used alongside BozMerix or Exagus ADVANCED but we do not recommend it for use alongside our super strength multi vitamin VMZ-25 as it acts like a vitamin balancer. 

Can Pectigus Balancer be fed with other Supplements?
Yes of course, it could easily be fed in addition to Biofix-40 and other supplements in the Hestevard range  - although caution must be exercised when adding other supplements. Pectigus Balancer is a wide balancer designed to deal with a multitude of issues specifically acid based issues and correct mineral and vitamin supply for a pony/horse. Supplements tend to be specific to target set challenges with an equine where as a balancer is designed to fed daily.

We recommend boosting Pectigus Balancer at times of particular gastric stress with Hestevard Exagus ADVANCED - perfect partners to combat equine gastric stress.

What makes Pectigus Balancer unique?
It specifically adds alkali buffers which negate the acidic issues from spring grass, sugars and fermentation. Whilst also improving the absorption capabilities of the horse when it is under stress specifically through Cushing’s, Ulcers and Laminitis amongst others.

A key element of our Balancer range (Pectigus & BozMerix) is the combination of actives that work together to improve the absorption of nutrients by blocking pathogens and supporting the immune system, maintaining cell integrity and gut lining and finally aiding the absorption of key ingredients from minerals and vitamins to larger molecule feed material.

The gut lining although permeable (allows passage) is fiercely guarded because it is an area of weakness in any species digestive system. As a result, it makes life hard to absorb nutrients, although it recognises certain ingredients such as Amino Acids as required so it allows this nutrient through much easier. More complex nutrients and compromised immune systems can restrict what can be absorbed and so we need to help such systems utilise the ingredients fed, while some valuable nutrients are so big, they are not easily absorbed. Simple inorganic minerals in particular, can bind together and not even be available to the gut and so wastefully leave in excrement. Our Balancers are built to improve the usage of consumed nutrients and reduce the wasteful effects or barriers the gut puts in place to protect itself.

Other key differences include

  • Copra (coconut) meal and Full fat soya which bring additional palatability and natural amino acid spreads.
  • Toxin Binder (Bentonite) for binding up foreign toxins.
  • Linseed oil for additional Omega 3’s, prebiotics and one live yeast to scavenge oxygen and make the digestive tract more efficient.
  • Curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant and supports the anti-inflammatory action of the body.
  • Folic acid which is important to produce red blood cells especially important when dealing with laminitic challenges.
  • Apple Pectin bind with bile acids in the horse’s stomach, helping create a mucous-like barrier.
  • Lecithin is a natural phospholipid which helps reduce chances of Ulcers by stabilizing cell membranes within the stomach.
  • A blend of Seaweed Aliginates help build up mucous-like barrier in the horses stomach.
  • Additional Magnesium, essential for the nervous system and regulating movements.
  • Collagen matrix, essential for the repair and structural integrity of the hoof.
  • Arginine which is important for dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow.

What Pectigus Balancer feeding quantities/guide would you suggest for my pony/horse?

  • 100g per 100kg bodyweight, for example for a 500kg horse, feed 500g (5 measures*/Day).
    *1 Measure = 100grams

For full benefit best split into x2 Daily feeds across a day (morning and late afternoon/ early evening).

Pectigus Balancer should be fed alongside supplementary hay, grass, sometimes chaff, potentially an energy feed and most importantly of all CLEAN FRESH WATER.

Please can you advise the energy level/ DE of the Pectigus Balancer product?

Pectigus Balancer                                                                                10.3 DE*

*(31st March 2023)

Can you feed too much Pectigus Balancer?
Yes! It is a balancer and so needs to be fed at a set rate, for additional feed shortfalls beyond forage than another supplementary feed maybe required.

Is Pectigus Balancer expensive?
Pectigus Balancer is a very cost-effective balancer and buffer (for acid conditions) particularly in the early spring with high grass sugars. This is a brilliant daily feed for ulcer prone horses and excellent acidity buffer especially in comparison with other widely available low cost feed supplements.

Pectigus Balancer costs around £57 RRP*
£57 / 10kg = £5.70/kg @500kg equine at common feed rates 500grams/day which will mean a feed cost of £2.85/day.

*(April 2023)

Is Pectigus Balancer GM free?
No - soya hulls have been used which are GM. Soya hulls are renowned for their natural buffering effect as an ingredient making them an ideal fit for this balancer. Whilst we try and keep our products GM free, Soya hulls provide such an excellent ingredient for our balancers and we ensure that our products are fully traceable and ethically sourced.

Does Pectigus Balancer contain Biotin?
Yes it does!

Is Pectigus Balancer OK for competition horses?
Absolutely! It’s FEI safe and UK competition safe. It doesn’t contain any MSM, Ground Monk’s Pepper or Devil’s Claw.

Does Pectigus Balancer contain a high level of Starch?
Pectigus Balancer contains 5% Starch, this is an important source which plays a functional role in the equine absorption system. Given that feed rates are typically only 500grams/day the starch level is often only 25grams which is low overall.

Does Pectigus Balancer contain Wheat?
No it certainly does not, it does contain black oats and oat bran though.

Can Pectigus Balancer be given to a mare in foal?
Absolutely fine it is better to feed a balancer like Pectigus than to allow unnecessary pressure on the mares digestive system.

I am looking at buying a tub of Pectigus Balancer and putting my ponies all on it over the winter. Just wanted to check its safe for my old pony who has Cushing’s and has had Laminitis in the past.
Pectigus Balancer will improve the utilisation of feeds of all your horses and/or ponies and may reduce issues with Cushing’s and Laminitis. Pectigus balancer is a sensible solution in the spring specifically to reduce the chances of Laminitis further as the lush spring grazing starts to flush – this flush is high in sugar and may further stimulate conditions such as Laminitis.

Can Pectigus balancer be fed to an equine with EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome)/ Cushing’s?
Pectigus is very suitable for equines that have EMS/Cushing’s. The main issue here is insulin resistance either caused by excess fat deposits with EMS or the effect of the hormone cortisol associated with Cushing’s. Recent research has shown that the addition of Omega 3’s to the diet for horses and ponies exhibiting insulin resistance has improved insulin sensitivity and the movement of sugar from the blood into cells. Pectigus Balancer has 2.3% of Omega 3 within it. By combining this with a low-calorie, high roughage diet, this also helps with weight control, sugar intake and overall digestive health. Pectigus Balancer also contains high levels of added and natural antioxidants which are considered to help delay the onset of Cushing’s disease. It is thought that low levels of antioxidants in the blood might be a predisposing factor that results in the abnormal development in the pituitary gland in the brain of older horses and ponies.

Insulin resistance is the main problem with EMS and Cushing’s hence the contribution of the omega 3’s from the Pectigus Balancer will be highly beneficial. Recent studies has shown that horses and ponies with insulin resistance do improve their insulin sensitivity and the ability to move sugar from the blood when omega 3’s are included in the diet.

It states that Pectigus Balancer contains Micronized (sugar) Beet Pulp, sugar is not good for my horse? Why is Beet Pulp in this Balancer?
Sugar beet pulp is the crop that beet pulp is created from. Beet pulp is the residue after sugar is extracted.  In the UK this process largely occurs at British Sugar in East Anglia. Sugar extraction has evolved significantly in the past two decades and residues are minimal of course this benefits British Sugar because they sell sugar! What is left over from the sugar manufacturing process is high quality digestible fibres, these are excellent gut conditioners for both ruminants and hind gut fermenters such as equines. Micronized Beet Pulp is a great energy source which releases slowly to an equine making it a perfect nutritional fit for horses. Beet pulp also contains pectin fibres, again excellent for hind gut fermentation and strengthening the natural mucus layer that lines the digestive tract. This surface protection helps to prevent antagonists from entering via the gut wall into the blood stream and is very beneficial against the causes of challenges such as metabolic laminitis.

I have a 15hh horse which does not hold her weight very well. What should I feed her – should I consider Pectigus Balancer?
Pectigus Balancer would be ideal! Often one of the first signs of ulcers is a decline in condition, the loss of gloss on their coat and just not holding weight – due to the reduced ability to convert feed into energy.

We would recommend consulting your vet first and foremost – they will advise on whether a scope is necessary. You could then consider feeding:

  • 500gram/day Pectigus Balancer (based on a 500kg horse)
  • 500gram/day Equine Concentrate
  • 1kg/day Oil soaked Alfalfa (Lucerne) chaff or equivalent – maybe choose Hestevard Linseed Oil.
  • + ad-lib hay (not haylage) and monitored grazing available (restricted in spring or flushes when high sugars).

The emphasis of the diet for naturally establishing and maintaining gut health is as follows:-

  • Plenty of roughage (alfalfa & hay) for natural saliva production with chewing and neutralising stomach acid. Do not feed haylage as this can be slightly acidic.
  • Micronized beet pulp (in the Pectigus Balancer) and Soya hulls provide pectin as a soluble fibre which fortifies the natural protective mucus membrane layer that lines the gut..
  • Natural calcium from the alfalfa also buffers acid in the gut.
  • Oat oil from the black oats in the Pectigus Balancer has a component that holds the mucus protective layer in place on the gut wall.
  • Omega 3’s from the Pectigus Balanccer further supports the natural anti-inflammatory systems of the body.

I have an 8 year old Dales Pony who has previously suffered with Ulcers and can be easily stressed/Anxious? I feed him in several small feeds per day.
Dealing with an Ulcer history can be stressful and make feeding choices difficult. We are so pleased to see you understand the importance of keeping his bucket feeds small and spread over the day, this is vitally important for an equine who has had or is suffering with ulcer conditions.

You do need to be careful with grazing and what quality grass is available as grass especially in the spring and summer tends to be very high in fermentable sugars whilst variable rainfall and flushes of growth can have the same affect. The feeding rate for Pectigus Balancer is 1gm per 1kg of ideal bodyweight (i.e. If his perfect weight is 400kg, feed him 400gms of Pectigus Balancer regardless of his actual weight). 

Does the Pectigus Balancer contain protected minerals?
Yes to ensure the utilisation of key minerals specific hydroxy (protected) trace elements are used. This is important to feed the right and safe amount to an equine. This also stops the negative interaction of specific minerals including the likes of Manganese and Zinc. Hydroxy minerals work similar to Osmosis moving metals from an area of high to low concentration via anions and cations interchange. Within Pectigus Manganese, Copper, Zinc and Selenium are protected to ensure the majority of these metals/minerals reach their desired location in the gut and then individual cells.

I’ve been recommended Exagus ADVANCED as my horse was scoped and has mild ulcers. Can I still use the Pectigus Balancer?
Yes! In fact in every Pectigus Balancer, there is a leaflet which actually recommends this combination. Pectigus Balancer is a great maintenance product which includes a special gastric support blend as part of its formulation. If your horse is going through a particular gastric challenge or has been diagnosed with mild to moderate ulcers or maybe they have recently undergone a gastroscope (gastroscopy) then your vet may either have sent your horse home with a 1kg trial pack of Exagus ADVANCED, or may have included it in your discharge notes. Exagus ADVANCED is the perfect partner to Pectigus Balancer and can be added at either the loading rate or the maintenance rate for your horse – your vet will make a recommendation based on the combined feed rate in the absence of any specific advice, simply follow the guidance for Pectigus Balancer (100g per 100kg of bodyweight) and then also follow the instructions for proper use on Exagus ADVANCED.

Does the Pectigus Balancer contain Amino Acids?
Yes although all foods contain a certain level of amino acids which together fall under the banner of what protein is. There are 21 amino acids used/required in an equines diet/body. The body needs these amino acids to carry out daily functions. The body can manufacture some amino acids from its feed supply but needs other amino acids to be specifically added whilst certain feed ingredients maybe contain a high supply of amino acids, Linseed expeller for instance has a good supply of Lysine. In the case of the Pectigus Balancer, we also add concentrated forms of Lysine, Methionine and Threonine. Both Threonine and Lysine are often very lacking in a typical equine diet and even more so with Lysine which is hard to balance in GM free diets where Soya is not present.

The tub isn't plastic - what is it made from and why?
Our BozMerix and Pectigus feed based balancers all come in a 10kg fibre tub. It's 100% recyclable or compostable. When its empty, simply dispose of the tub on your compost heap or you could put it to use growing vegetables, sunflowers or a million and one other ideas. 
The benefit of this tub is it is kinder to the environment than using a single use plastic tub. When you look at this balancer being used for a singler 500kg horse that equates to over 18 tubs per year - if these were made from plastic, then this would be an aweful lot of plastic tubs on your yard to dispose of and a significant environmental impact. 

At Hestevard we are making small steps to support the environment in which we live. We plan to gradually remove more an more plastic from our range and are starting this process with our balancers and products in the Signature and Elements Range. This will take time and we look forward to receiving your feedback on our new product packaging. We could do the easy thing and carry on using the plastic - but we believe there is a better way for the environment and we will ensure that Hestevard will make a positive contribution to the planet.

When you say “half a cup” and a “cup” do you know what this translates to in grams?Pectigus Balancer fed at 500grams/day (250gm x 2 feeds) based on a 500kg horse would be our usual recommendation. Each cup (included in every tub) equates to 100g and so 500grams of balancer will equate to approximately 5 cups.

Over coming weeks, we will be introducing our 100ml/100g of balancer Hestevard measure. As you know we are constantly trying to change the face of equine supplements and balancers and part of this journey is to reduce the equine industry’s dependence on single use plastic tubs and scoops. Whilst we know these have their place, the next step of our journey will be to move away from our compostable (commercially purchased) paper cups and replacing them with a Hestevard branded, sustainable 100ml measuring cup. Keep an eye on our social media and our website for news of how to order your Hestevard measuring cup.  

My horse is already on BozMerix for joint support. Can i use Pectigus Balancer and BozMerix powder together?
Yes! These two are fine for use together.


Equine = Term to describe both ponies & horses.

*Care with certain breeds specifically Arabian & Thoroughbreds which can specifically suffer from various ailments and feed rate pressures.

***“Types” of horses are different to individual breeds but could be a mixture of breeds to develop a type. Types can be broken into – Palomino, Appaloosa, Paint Horses, Knabstrup, Spotted Pony, Hunter, Cob, Hack and Polo Pony.

****The British Riding Pony = Cross between Arabian, Thoroughbred and Native Pony Bloodlines.

Przewalski (Asiatic Wild Horse) = One of the ancestors of the domesticated horse. 

Work Loads:

Light Work = ponies and horses at rest or in light work – Exercise level = 0 – 45mins/day

Medium Work = ponies and horses in medium work – Exercise level = 45mins to 1.5hours/day

Hard Work = ponies and horses in hard work – Exercise level = 1.5hours to more hours/day

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If you have a question you would like an answer to about Pectigus Balancer or any of our products, please feel free to email us at or via our Contact Us page. We’re always happy to help.

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