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Salt Block vs Electrolyte Supplements?

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  • Salt Block vs Electrolyte Supplements?

    I stepped into friends stall for a couple minutes with my horse the other day to stand in front of her fan and my horse latched on to her himalayan salt block like she was starving for it. Horse is on smartpaks Smartlytes daily, but was thinking of getting her one of the himalayan salt blocks since she took to it so quick. What are your opinions, If I get the block does she still need the Electrolytes? I am in Georgia and horse is out 4-6 hours a day depending on weather and does sweat a lot; and she does get worked 5-6 days a week sweating a lot too!

  • #2
    We do both here.
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm

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    • #3
      Salt lick free choice 24/7/365

      Electrolytes as needed (when horse sweats a lot)
      Ahhhh, spring is here. The birds are singing, the trees are budding and the paddocks are making their annual transformation from cake mix to cookie dough.

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      • #4
        I keep both a white and red block available at all times all year long. In the summer I might add electrolytes if they are sweating a lot, but not generally. Interestingly, my horses did not care for the Himalayan salt licks but they love their plain white and red ones.

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        • #5
          I haven't tried the himalayan salt blocks, but a Cother in south FL tells me they are great. My horses have never liked any type of salt block, plain or otherwise, which is why I've not tried the himalayan salt. So I used to give them the electrolyte summer games in smartpaks. It was created for the summer olympics in Atlanta. Then I switched to a 32 ounce gatorade each day for each horse. Good enough for SEC football players, so good for horses. And it of course is 32 ounces of fluid.

          Have you tried the Seminole grass balancer block? Mine love it and eat it like candy. It has salt and lots more in it. Here in Steamy rainy GA, you need the electrolytes and lots of fluids......and the great seminole grass balancer block.

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          • #6
            Salt/mineral blocks here. Horse's know when they need some better then their caretakers.

            Electrolytes only when one has been in heavy work on a very hot day. And even then only occasionally. Electrolytes are one of the most over used and misunderstood supplements given to horses by their well intentioned caretakers. Not just my opinion but that of a number of vets. Not really a good idea to give as a matter of course. They can get what is needed by and large from other things in their diet. Not good to "play" with a horse's biochemical system.

            I looked at the Himalayan salt licks. Then I looked at the price and laughed.

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            • #7
              I have one that won't touch salt blocks - even the Himalayan ones. So, I feed salt daily. She works up a decent sweat - but being it is arid here, I do not think she sweats as much as a horse in lets say the south.

              Horse sweat contains primarily sodium, chloride, and potassium, but other electrolytes, including magnesium and calcium, are also present in smaller amounts.
              Now - I do not currently feed my horse an electrolyte.

              She does get salt (sodium chloride), and her diet is high in potassium (rice bran) and calcium (alfalfa hay) and she gets a ration balancer daily which includes magnesium. Look at your horse's diet and see if you think they need any of these added to it.

              Because of her diet - I do not feel feeding a separate electrolyte is necessary. I DO feed horses in HARD work (like training for prelim and above eventing) a separate electrolyte.

              Personally, Gatorade would not be my go to - its very high in sugars, not to mention artificial colors and flavors - and the of course some flavors have Brominated Vegetable Oil (a substance banned in Europe and japan due to health consequences). Plus Gatorade does not provide nearly enough salt for a horse.

              Originally posted by gumtree View Post
              Electrolytes are one of the most over used and misunderstood supplements given to horses by their well intentioned caretakers. Not just my opinion but that of a number of vets.
              I agree

              Originally posted by gumtree View Post
              I looked at the Himalayan salt licks. Then I looked at the price and laughed
              Eh' you can pick up a good sized one at tractor supply for $9 - they are harder then regular salt blocks, horses seem to not go through them as quickly.
              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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              • #8
                I do both. My horses always have a salt block in their stall...so whenever they are inside they have the option to lick it. My two love the himalayan blocks so I stick with that all the time, all year around. Like someone said above "24/7/365"

                During the summer months when its hot and they are competing they are on a daily supplement. Changes a bit every year but usually start it around early june and go through September maybe october. Depends on the weather/heat/humidity and the level of work they are in.

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                • #9
                  Some electrolytes, such as the "summer games" have sugar added. And btw, Gatorade has now taken out the substance mentioned. It was used to fireproof fabrics.

                  And, per Catherine Duncan, a great vet, a horse can colic from an electrolyte imbalance, even in late September when it's still hot as blue blazes and humid here in GA. Whatever works for everyone. I want my 2 drinking more water and fluids, including Gatorade, than most people require of their horses. Hay dunking is something Cloudy grew up with in Germany. Hattie learned it from him so she does it now, even though she's a Minnesota mare. Getting their own hay wet gives them more water in their systems. Since mine don't want all the salt blocks I've always tried on every horse I've had, I give them whatever will put both electrolytes and water into them, with the consent of my vet(s). And I do this year round.

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                  • #10
                    I put a tablespoon of stock salt in his feed daily - in winter to keep him drinking, in summer to replace salt and keep him drinking. It works for that.

                    He gets a ration balancer and is out on grass about 18 hrs a day in summer and not in very heavy work (an hour of work 4-5 days a week) and it seems to be working for him.

                    I tried him on a himalayan salt chunk when I first got him, as my previous horse loved his. This guy doesn't much care for it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sascha View Post
                      Salt lick free choice 24/7/365

                      Electrolytes as needed (when horse sweats a lot)
                      Ditto this. I save the e-lytes for when I need them-- like when the horses are sweating excessively or I want to encourage drinking.

                      As much as we stress the importance of salt (and it is vital), I've seen very few horses express true sodium deficiency.
                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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                      • #12
                        I pay somebody for horse nutritional advice. She recommends 1-2 ounces of IODIZED salt top dressed on their feed each day. If it isn't labeled iodized, it doesn't contain (added) iodine.

                        Plus a white salt block.

                        The red salt blocks contain iron which horses should not get supplementally.
                        I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

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                        • #13
                          I read (probably Dr. Deb Bennett or Dr. Eleanor Kellon or both) that salt blocks are designed for cows who have rough tongues and that horses need to have loose, white salt always available. IR horses need iodized salt. Red salt blocks also not for horses because of the iron.

                          Everybody has their own flavor of horsekeeping and we all seem to have healthy horses.

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                          • #14
                            Our barn here in Florida offers salt rocks to boarders and about 1/2 of us use them. All are fed electrolytes as part of board package.
                            Its interesting w/ the rocks - sometimes my mare goes after hers like no tomorrow, then she ignores it for a while. They seem to know when they need the salt.

                            http://www.redmondequine.com/redmond-rock-on-a-rope/

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                            • #15
                              Some of my horses seem to prefer loose salt, so I have a small bucket in their stall and they can take it as needed. I am surprised how much they choose to ingest, sometimes 1/4cup over night, then they might leave it alone for a week. I do not top dress because I read that salt is the one mineral that horses regulate on thier own.
                              Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by schimmel View Post
                                I do not top dress because I read that salt is the one mineral that horses regulate on their own.
                                I am curious about this - because I have heard the same over and over. "They will take as much as they need".

                                Yet, currently I have a horse (who I have owned since she was a foal) and she will NOT touch a salt block. I have tried all types, they all get a big NOPE from her.

                                She will even refuse the feed she otherwise gobbles up when top dressed with salt - so I have to add the salt very gradually, and I can't get any where near a table spoon - she will refuse her feed.

                                Yet, I have also had horses that when given the chance will break off pieces of salt block and chew them up!

                                There is a horse on stall rest at my barn (so not in work, not sweating). I gave my (rejected) Himalayan block to his owner - and he licked licked licked until that thing was gone in less than a week! She bought another - and I noticed that one is also getting eaten at an alarming pace.

                                I have a hard time believing that both of these horses are "self regulating" and that the stall rested horse needs massive amounts of salt, while the horse is decent amount of work (6 hours a week) doesn't need any.
                                APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                                • #17
                                  If you put a red salt brick, a white salt brick and a Redmond Rock in your horses area free choice, they will only eat the Redmond Rock.
                                  I have three geldings and that has been my experience. They lick the Redomd Rock sometimes more than other times, but always more than the red or white salt bricks.
                                  Plus made in the USA.
                                  Larry Garner
                                  Spalding Fly Predators

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Larry Garner View Post
                                    If you put a red salt brick, a white salt brick and a Redmond Rock in your horses area free choice, they will only eat the Redmond Rock.
                                    I have three geldings and that has been my experience. They lick the Redomd Rock sometimes more than other times, but always more than the red or white salt bricks.
                                    Plus made in the USA.
                                    But that, in itself, doesn't mean it's better for them.

                                    I will choose a brownie over spinach or egg whites any day.

                                    I'm guessing that my nutrition person would say the iron is too high in the Redmond salt. I don't know whether 300 ppm is significant or not; but it's more than the other trace minerals listed.
                                    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Cindyg
                                      I can't disagree with your comment about food choices, in humans.
                                      I have had horses for 50 plus years of my life, mostly in pasture type care in various regions of the country at different times.
                                      I have observed horses licking the dirt in areas that I assumed had salt or minerals.
                                      I have observed horses eating the bark off only one type tree in a wooded pasture. I have observed horses eating one type of grass to the ground while leaving other grasses growing tall in the same pasture.
                                      I have observed horses licking the rust off iron pipe fences.
                                      I am not a trained nutritionist but I have adopted the belief that given a choice a horse selects the things he needs from the foods or pasture we offer.
                                      I have used Redmond Rock for about 4 years now and have had no problems.
                                      My horses work 8 months of the year, and are in summer pasture for 4 months.
                                      Larry Garner
                                      Spalding Fly Predators

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I give both- E'lytes in feed, and free choice blocks (mineral and salt) in field, but will be switching them to the Himalayan Salt once they finish the blocks, and continue with E'lytes in feed.
                                        "That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works."

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