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Rapid salt block consumption: is this normal? sign of a mineral deficiency other than

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  • Rapid salt block consumption: is this normal? sign of a mineral deficiency other than

    I just brought in an older OTTB (18yo gelding) who is Rapidly consuming his salt block: is this normal? or a sign of a mineral deficiency other than salt only?

    Horse appears healthy in all other ways with the exception of being REALLY itchy all over, and also showing a slight lameness to the right when lunged (I consider this one unrelated to the issue, and he is currently under chiro care).

  • #2
    I've seen this not infrequently when a horse has not had access to a salt block for some time. They really get into it for awhile.
    Usually the novelty wears off.
    In most cases, providing ample water is the only thing you need be concerned about.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


    • #3
      My TB will eat salt blocks if they are small enough he can take bites out of them. He has no interest in the ones he has to lick, though. I've come to the conclusion some horses simply enjoy eating them, and as Ghazzu said - just make sure there's plenty of water!
      If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


      • #4
        Mine have access to usually at least 2 different "flavors" of salt block, and every once in a while--seemingly at random--one or the other of the blocks will suddenly become very "popular" and be chewed rapidly. Then that sort of peters out and they go back to normal rates of consumption.

        Been seeing this happen for years and have never been able to make any pattern out of it. Other than my one gelding who just LOVES those Himalayan ones and will slurp on it for hours. The others (same feed, same environment) are indifferent to those. Most of them seem to slightly prefer plain white blocks.

        In short, if he hasn't had one for a while he may be just caught up in the novelty. Beyond that, I'd wait and see before drawing conclusions. Horses can self-regulate sodium, but it's been demonstrated in small studies that they are actually not able to self-regulate most other minerals by choosing what to ingest.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
          Other than my one gelding who just LOVES those Himalayan ones and will slurp on it for hours.
          Mine too. He spent his whole life feeling *meh* about regular salt blocks but treats the himmies like they're crack. I can't explain it, but whatever makes him happy. Other horses ignore the himmies?!
          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


          • #6
            I only buy them when they're on sale--maybe that's why he treats them like they're "special"! I don't care where you tell me they're from or what special and mysterious properties they're supposed to have--I'm not spending $10 on a hunk of salt!
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              I was mystified at how brave a bunch of deer were, coming within 20 feet of the barn and not running away though I was in plain sight, then it was pointed out to me that is where the salt block was.....


              • #8
                He'll stop when he's had enough. You don't know if he's had access to one in the past so he's making up for it now.


                • #9
                  My mare will not touch the plain white blocks. She will literally leave one in her food dish for over a year without so much as sniffing it. Then I tried a Himalayan block, and she went through a period a couple of years ago where she went nuts for them. That took about 9 months, then I moved her, she started getting lots of turnout and access to green grass (she was previously in a dry lot with hay only). She will now take a couple of licks on her Himalayan block every once and awhile, but for the most part ignores it. Whether it was a boredom thing before or some sort of deficiency from lack of green grass, who knows?
                  *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                  • #10
                    I throw the old "nubs" of 50 pound salt blocks out in the woods and the deer are there within a day chowing down. All of those silly "deer bait" products they sell and our property (and the place where I chuck the salt) is where the deer come to hang out!
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • Original Poster

                      thanks for all the replies!

                      I know in the olden days salt was used as a currency and considered rare. How lucky we are to live today when so much that we need is available in abundance.....and different flavors no less!

                      Horse is feeling MUCH better by the way.