Why does my horse need salt and how to give it to him?

Did you know that your horse needs salt all year round?

All animals and humans do. It’s a staple of every diet, and animals rely on it as much as we do to keep their systems in balance.

Salt is an electrolyte and one of its main functions is to attract and retain as well as balance out the fluids in the cells.  We read frequently about athletes are constantly striving to balance their electrolytes, and the issue is no different with horses, especially after exercise. When they sweat they loose their electrolytes, including salt so we need to ensure that there is an adequate supply to replenish it either in their food intake or another form.

Don’t just imagine that your horse need salt just in the summer months, he needs it all year round, though in higher doses when either the weather is warm or he has been exercising and sweating.

If salt is lacking in their diet, a horse can start to have abnormal eating behaviour (he will eat or lick something avidly that has salt in it ) or will lick andeat dirt. Extreme lack of salt can eventually cause muscle un-coordination, so make sure you are giving your horse enough salt to begin with to avoid these problems

So, where do you get it from?

First of all, forget the idea of salt blocks. They are very useful and effective for rough tongues animals like cattle, but horses have difficulty in getting adequate salt from the salt blocks and will often try to bite them to release the salt. 

It’s much more effective to buy a natural trace mineral salt in loose form. Pour some ( 300-600 gms) into asmall container and bolt it to your horses stall, and he will take what he needs. It is a not advisable to put it in his daily feed as you may give the wrong dose- much better to let the horse actually regulate his own salt intake.  Don’t be alarmed if initially he takes quite a lot trying to balance his own system. Once he has found the amount he needs you will notice he goes for a couple of days taking none at all, and then ups his intake on the summer months or after strenuous exercise. 

Also consider giving your horse an electrolyte supplement.

“Electrolytes are a crucial factor to optimise muscle function, fluid balance and rehydration. With intense training and prolonged activity, exercise, training, heat and humidity, the horse's demand for rehydration is not always met through water and diet. This blend of electrolytes has been formulated to replace the essential minerals lost during exercise and performance related activities”.

Check out our very own electrolyte supplement here at Prosportive, and keep your horse in optimum health:

Good luck.  Keep us posted how you get on!

Posted on December 15, 2016 and filed under General Health, Feed Guides, Grooming Tips.