Thu, 6 Jun 1996 11:39:50 +0000
I only agree that salt BLOCKS may not be suitable for horses. Blocks were originally designed for cattle, which have very rough tongue surfaces. Horses often can be seen biting the blocks, or chewing off the corners. This can indicate that they are not recieving enough salt. Horses should be fed free choice LOOSE white salt, which can be a commercially prepared EQUINE formulation, or you can make it yourself by mixing 2 parts Lite Salt, with one part table salt. 1 - 3 teaspoons each day on the feed works well also.
Horses have a defined appetite for sodium, which means most will self-regulate without overconsumption problems. Some horses will develop a hypernatriemia (too much sodium), but it is not very common. Sodium, potassium, and chloride are essential for good health, especially in the hot and HUMID climates. These electrolytes are regulated easily by the body in the healthy horse.
Problems may arise when the horse only has red (mineral) salt available. They eat the red salt to get the sodium, but because they are on a complete grain ration, they overconsume copper, zinc, and manganese. (I have seen TB yearlings eating 15 - 20X the Cu and Zn requirement).I will also guarantee that most hay does not fit average values , but if in doubt, sample your hay and have it analyzed for Na, K, and microminerals. I have not seen any new information, but I cannot imagine anyone telling you NOT to feed salt to your horse - endurance horses need special monitoring, they go above and beyond what most horses have to do, and thus are considered "elite". Most commercial feed contain less than 0.1% salt, which does not even meet requirements for horses in maintenance.
Allow your horse access to free choice loose white salt, and the majority will be fine, and better off when asked to "go the distance!"....
Lynn Taylor, MS, PhD
Department of Equine Science
Date: Fri, 07 Jun 1996 10:29:29 -0400 (EDT)
I`d like to add my two cents worth to Lynn Taylor`s comments (Hi, Lynn-hope you don`t mind :-)) on salt for horses:
Horses often can be seen biting the blocks, or chewing off the corners. This can indicate that they are not recieving enough salt.
Horses should be fed free choice LOOSE white salt
YES! but plain white table salt is fine-specially prepared "equine" formulations are not necessary-It`s the sodium that they need.
or you can make it yourself by mixing 2 parts Lite Salt, with one part table salt. 1 - 3 teaspoons each day on the feed works well also.
Be VERY careful with this! Lite Salt is predominantly potassium chloride. Potassium is lost in sweat BUT there is a lot of it in the feed-we have been trying to formulate a ration that is low in potassium and it`s hard to get a balanced diet that contains even less than 2x the recommended amounts. Excess potassium intake will cause cardiac problems (irregular heart beats). Lite salt also usually has a little sugar in it-horses may over eat it because they like the sugar flavor if it is offered free choice. One to three TEASPOONS is probably not enough to hurt but certainly will not provide enough sodium for a hard working horse. I usually recommend a mix of one pound regular salt (sodium Chloride) to 12 OUNCES of lite salt plus an ounce or two of calcium chloride (Tums!!) to be supplemented at that rate of one to two ounces per hour of work-Not free choice. Plain white salt, however, as Lynn said, be offered free choice at all times. There is NOT enough in hay, pasture or most grains, even the commercial grain mixes.
I totally agreed with the rest of this!
Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD, dipACVN
Cook College, Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ 08903