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Hot, humid weather = electrolytes??

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  • Hot, humid weather = electrolytes??

    The humidity wave seems to have hit our area too, and this past week I've noticed a difference in how my horse performs/recovers from a ride. I've been riding in mornings or evenings when it cools off like, half a degree, and he is in good condition. We ride about 5 times a week, mixing up dressage work, jumping, conditioning, and trail rides.

    He has been sweating more (well so have I), and seems to get tired a lot quicker than usual. I know the heat is affecting both of us, since I want to do nothing but crawl into the A/C and sleep when I'm done at the barn. He has been drinking regularly, but doesn't seem to be interested in his mineral salt block. Would an electrolyte help him handle this heat better and recover more quickly? The only times I've given electrolytes were the night before he got on the trailer in IL heading here, the evening he arrived, and after our first one-day schooling show.
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  • #2
    Can't hurt!
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    • #3
      Here in the land of oppressive, unrelenting humidity, I feed them as a matter of course from May until September or even October. Toby is a champion sweater, so I find it really important for him. He needs input to compensate for ALL that output- http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...0&l=972638c427 Really...we were walking in the woods. He's very good at the sweating.
      Amanda

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      • #4
        I put maresy on them for the first time this year, and first of all she LOVES them in her feed, which never hurts, and she seems to have less dried salt on her from sweating during the day. She lives out, and with this heat they all get soaked during the day. She would get white dried salt on her hiney mostly, but on the electrolytes, not as much. Doesn't make sense, becuase she has MORE salt now, but seems to be a good thing to me.

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        • #5
          I always give electrolytes in the feed when they start to "sugarcookie" (get that buildup of dried salts). Don't put it in the water unless you offer an alternate source, as they might not drink it. I like the inexpensive apple flavored electrolytes they sell at most places.
          "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

          So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

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          • #6
            My horse is on Stress-Dex from May (unless it gots hotter before then) to about October, because thats when our eventing season ends. It certainly can't hurt.

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            • #7
              My horse gets daily electrolytes in the summer may-sept. He doesn't drink endless amounts of water anymore. He is black and sweats a lot in the summer. How much it actually helps? I have no idea. But I feel better using it in case he needs it.

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              • #8
                Coconut Water

                I have a friend who pours a container of coconut water into the water pail once weekly during hot weather...says it makes a difference

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks all. I was in the same "Can't hurt!" boat, but wanted opinions. I've been having luck with Farnam's cheaper line of supplement, vita-B1 and vita-Biotin, so I think I'll stick with their cheapy apple or cherry ones since they're readily available around here!
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                  • #10
                    For those with picky eaters, I'm having good luck with the pelleted smart lytes from smartpak. He gets no grain and gobbles these right up.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Win1 View Post
                      For those with picky eaters, I'm having good luck with the pelleted smart lytes from smartpak. He gets no grain and gobbles these right up.
                      This is definitely a good product. Toby is not a fan of the Summer Games and takes ages to finish his meal if I put them in it (if he finishes it at all). But he has no qualms with the SmartLytes at all.
                      Amanda

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                      • #12
                        I feed electrolytes daily usually starting in June and ending sometime in Oct. Everyone gets them, from riding horses to retirees. Only have one currently who's picky and he's eating Summer Games.

                        I had a BNT argue with me about this practice when he 1st moved here from "up north". Hopefully after he personally felt the full effects of our heat/humidity he's changed his tune. He passed out while riding my horse.
                        "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

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                        • #13
                          I feed a small amount of electrolytes year round. My mare is a huge sweater in the summer and I want to make sure she is drinking in the winter to keep her water intake up to par. I think it does work, she always gets a drink after any kind of workout.
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                          • #14
                            I leave a variety of salt blocks in the paddocks for the horses that are out, and the intake definitely goes up in this weather. I do try to leave it up to the horse, but will add supplemental electrolytes to the feed if I'm traveling or if they haven't got access to the blocks.
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                            • #15
                              I feed a homemade mixture of salt and lite salt year round. They get 1/2 teaspoon a.m. and p.m. -- we do live in North Florida, so the heat + humidity is miserable here, but I think some of y'all have it just as bad in the summer.

                              There was some research floating around that the sugar in lots of commercial electrolyte mixes made them not work as well, but I switched to the homemade ones for several reasons. There was a panel I attended at the USEA meeting years and years ago about feeding the event horse and started feeding it after one of the riders said they had worked out this formula with consulting vets.

                              I will say that I am less worried about the body's electrolyte balance and more so terrified of colic from inadequate water intake. I will double the salt mixture when we have a cold snap, or if I have changed a horse's environment (i.e. grass pasture to mostly on hay).

                              We also feed coastal bermuda grass hay as our main roughage source and since that is notorious for causing impaction colic if water intake falls off, I really like the salt to encourage them to keep on drinking!
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                              • #16
                                Note, smartlytes don't have sugar, good thing for my picky + IR gelding.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I love learning about this sort of thing. I spent about fifteen minutes comparing labels in the feed store yesterday and went home with the cheapest one since all the percentages and ingredients were the same.

                                  The only difference? It was apple-cinnamon flavor. My horse eats anything I put in front of him, especially since he gets canola oil on his grain. But he wouldn't *touch* it after I put the electrolytes in! GR! And of course the receipt is MIA...ugh. Instead of just going with plain ol' apple flavor...I had to be thrifty and save the extra $1.50.

                                  So to those with picky eaters? Avoid apple-cinnamon, lol!
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                                  • #18
                                    That's one reason I don't add electrolytes to their feed--I want them to EAT as well as ingest salt.

                                    If I'm at a show and I have a finicky eater I just put a couple of scoops of the electrolyte mixture that I happen to have in a dish or their empty feed tub and let them decide if they want to eat it. I do usually buy the flavored/sweetened kind and not worry about a few grams of sugar.

                                    But mostly it's salt blocks, disappearing in huge chunks this last few weeks!
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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                      That's one reason I don't add electrolytes to their feed--I want them to EAT as well as ingest salt.

                                      If I'm at a show and I have a finicky eater I just put a couple of scoops of the electrolyte mixture that I happen to have in a dish or their empty feed tub and let them decide if they want to eat it. I do usually buy the flavored/sweetened kind and not worry about a few grams of sugar.

                                      But mostly it's salt blocks, disappearing in huge chunks this last few weeks!
                                      Thankfully the feed store let me exchange it for the orange flavored one that I was initially going to get. If he would actually lick/eat his salt block I wouldn't be so worried about it. There's one little spot on the whole block that he's licked, and it hasn't changed in over three months!

                                      I keep comparing their system to ours...I was feeling like crap this week when I was drinking plain water, and CRAVING potato chips. When I started drinking Gatorade in combination with the water I felt a LOT better, and poof, headaches went away. I figured if I was feeling like crap by drinking plain water, then he was probably feeling it too.

                                      Yes. I admit I'm crazy. But I'm getting better. Thanks, mostly, to dw's brutal honesty in several of my other posts!
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                                      Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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                                      • #20
                                        Mine are weird about salt blocks--they usually have 2 or 3 different ones and will fall in love with one for a month or so, then ignore it. Sometimes if I move a block from one end of their horse porch to the other they suddenly decide it's irresistible!

                                        Where I board the ones that are in training I have two stalls and swap the two horses back and forth sometimes--whenever I do they act like the salt block in the "new" stall is the best thing EVER.
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