Friday, December 24, 2010

Reader question on a Horses Salt Needs

I received an e-mail from a lady in Pennsylvania asking about how important it is to provide your horse salt and what is the best way to do so.

Salt or sodium is an essential electrolyte that is minimally present in any of the normal feed we provide horses. The more a horse works and sweats, the more salt he will lose which if not replaced can cause an electrolyte imbalance.

Most horses will eat hay until they colic, but with salt most horses will only consume what they need. There are going to be odd horses, and I have seen one, where the horse will chew and chew on a salt block until it is disintegrated.

I always keep two or more salt blocks in the corral for the horses to lick on. I prefer a white salt block as opposed to the reddish mineral block which is rougher on the horses tongue and makes them less likely to consume any. Again, there is always the odd horse who would lick the mineral blocks. I place the 50 lb salt blocks in a rubber dish with drain holes for the water, so the block is kept off the ground (see picture above).

So I would definitely recommend adding a salt block so the horses can access free choice salt whenever he wants to. I previously wrote a post about this, you can read it here. Also, from time to time you'll need to scrap the dirt and debris off the block. And don't forget the fresh clean water!

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