How much salt do you feed your horse?

Mary Poppins

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I have been reading lots about equine diet recently and it seems that the recommended amount of salt that a horse requires is 2 tablespoons per day. I always thought that a horse would take what it requires from a salt lick, but it appears that this isn't the case and salt should be added to the horses feed. Any excess salt is excreted from the body and doesn't cause harm (unlike humans).

I also thought that Empson Salt was salt, but it is in fact magnesium. Horses should be fed sodium chloride which is basically table salt. This is a really interesting web page I have been reading: http://www.calmhealthyhorses.com/solution/salt.html

So who adds salt to their horses feed? Ben always had a salt lick but I started feeding him salt last week. I am building it up slowly to 2 tablespoons per day.
 

Jessey

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Jess gets a big handful, the boys about a tea spoon full of table salt in their feeds daily, they also all have access to rock salt all the time. When worked particularly hard Jess will get half table salt and half low salt as that is a better electrolyte balance after excessive sweating.

Epsom salt is one form of magnesium but not advised to be used as feed supplement as it causes a laxative effect, often used by vets when tubing for colic!
 

domane

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Ah the eternal cob-owner's dilemma..... feeding salt in summer when they don't need a feed.
 

Mary Poppins

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Ah the eternal cob-owner's dilemma..... feeding salt in summer when they don't need a feed.

I have only just started feeding Ben because I wanted to give him the salt and a balancer. I feed a very small amount of speedibeat (literally a large pinch which expands when soaked) and mix his balancer and salt in. It works really well and is low sugar and high in fibre which is just what he needs.
 

Jessey

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Ah the eternal cob-owner's dilemma..... feeding salt in summer when they don't need a feed.
Just put a bucket of loose salt out, they will eat as much as they need, doesn't even matter if it gets wet, salt water is fine too :p The reason salt blocks don't give them enough is that their tongue isn't really rough enough to get much off it with each lick, if they tried to get enough they would have to stand for hours licking.
 

Mary Poppins

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I also read somewhere that you can also add salt in a water bucket. Obviously you need to ensure there is a fresh water bucket available too, but plenty of horses will chose to drink the salt water and then rehydrate on the fresh water.
 

Trewsers

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Will there be salt in feeds like high fibre cubes? I read in this months Horse and Rider and article on salt in feed and adding it. Not something I have ever done. Is it mainly for horses that work hard and sweat a lot? Or should retired ones have access too? I have often bought salt blocks but neither mares will touch them after the initial novelty.
 

Trewsers

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Just read the link and it says they need it even standing resting in the paddock. Hmm. But it does say good quality balancers have salt in.
 

Trewsers

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Jess gets a big handful, the boys about a tea spoon full of table salt in their feeds daily, they also all have access to rock salt all the time. When worked particularly hard Jess will get half table salt and half low salt as that is a better electrolyte balance after excessive sweating.

Epsom salt is one form of magnesium but not advised to be used as feed supplement as it causes a laxative effect, often used by vets when tubing for colic!

Yes epsom salts gives humans the squits too:p
 

carthorse

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@Trewsers feeds don't tend to have salt in because it attracts water & so makes them damp & have a shorter shelf life.

With Little Un working in the hot weather I started adding a half dose (he isn't a big horse working hard enough to sweat heavily, he's a welsh cob who gets a bit damp) of electrolytes to his feed after work. Table salt doesn't have the right balance to replace the salts lost in sweat, plus he picks at his teeny feed if I put more than maybe a teaspoon in whereas electrolytes appear to be tasty. Although he wasn't showing any sign of being dehydrated he drinks deeply shortly after a feed with the electrolytes in & it may be coincidence but after having them for a couple of days his energy levels seemed higher - I was considering trying them on myself!
 
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Jessey

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With Little Un working in the hot weather I started adding a half dose (he isn't a big horse working hard enough to sweat heavily, he's a welsh cob who gets a bit damp) of electrolytes to his feed after work. Table salt doesn't have the right balance to replace the salts lost in sweat, plus he picks at his teeny feed if I put more than maybe a teaspoon in whereas electrolytes appear to be tasty. Although he wasn't showing any sign of being dehydrated he drinks deeply shortly after a feed with the electrolytes in & it may be coincidence but after having them for a couple of days his energy levels seemed higher - I was considering trying them on myself!
Watch out on commercial electrolytes, many are made palatable by using glucose as a carrier........
 

carthorse

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@Jessey , don't worry I read the ingredients & picked one that didn't have sugars :) . But I was quite shocked to see glucose or dextrose listed as the first ingredient on some!
 
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domane

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It won't surprise you to know that Jack is happy to endlessly lick his salt block through the spring and autumn grass flushes, but when I added table salt to his feed he refused to eat it! :rolleyes:
 
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Mary Poppins

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Just read the link and it says they need it even standing resting in the paddock. Hmm. But it does say good quality balancers have salt in.

Ben is only in very light work at the moment, but boy he really sweats. I clipped him out yesterday as he was so hot just standing still. According to the article, he may have been sweating that much because he was deficient in salt. Apparently overfeeding doesn't do any harm, but not feeding it can cause problems.
 
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domane

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No they can't get high blood pressure from too much salt! :p

Apparently horses that have frothy sweat need more salt.
 

chunky monkey

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I've been feeding it after i read an article on headshaking. It was thought that giving magnesium was the answer but they've found that feeding table salt is just as effective for some. It does depend on what causes the headshaking though. So if it's pollen related neither works.
Billys seems to be effected by sunlight and last year riding in the hot sun seemed to make it really bad. Well this year since feeding it's been alot better and with the sun we've had in the last 6 weeks it's been an excellent test.
Also chunky has always been a sweaty horse even with a small amount of exercise. I noted just last week when driving with his full coat that after 2 miles of trot/walk. Mainly trot he had hardly any sweat on him. Where as previous years he would be lathered after the same drive. Funny though I have offered salt blocks over the years and he would never touch them. I don't think he has anymore energy though, just less sweaty.
Ive been adding 2x25ml scoops to the sugar beet, linseed and turmeric mix which i soak for 24 hours. So effectively they get 25 ml each.
How much is a table spoon. Wondering if I'm feeding enough.
 
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chunky monkey

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Yes I think your right teaspoon is 5, desert is 10, tablespoon is 15ml. Now youve said that Jessey.
My scoop is 25, so if I heap it that will be around 30ml. I was worried about giving too much. But I'm under doing it seems.
 
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Kite_Rider

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I've never given Belle salt, she has free access to a salt lick and she does get through them quite quickly.
 
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