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does my horse need electrolytes? or salt?

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suz

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I've noticed my guy not drinking near enough water lately, so my BO suggested that he get some electrolytes added to his grain like the other horses.

I've been reading the forum and I see alot of people just use plain tablesalt (1 tsp) to the feed and that works.

I have had to give him a mix of apple juice/water to get him to drink before and I'll do it again if I have to .

However, should I start him on electrolytes or maybe just a tsp of salt with his grain am and pm? He does have a white salt block in his stall which he uses sometimes and he eats Buckeye Grow n Win ration balancer.

Just don't want to take a chance on colic from not drinking enough.

Thanks!
 

disneyhorse

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What else do you feed? My vet says that stabled horses generally don't need a salt block, and that horses out on pasture do.

My horses get a prepared grain and a vitamin supplement that both have some salt added, so I don't add any additional salt to their diet or offer blocks.

A mineral salt block might be all he needs if he just gets pasture or hay with nothing else. I wouldn't add electrolytes unless he is working hard and sweating.

I do add electrolytes to my horses' grain for the day if they work hard enough that they sweat with white lather. This indicates salt loss.

Andrea
 

suz

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What else do you feed? My vet says that stabled horses generally don't need a salt block, and that horses out on pasture do.

My horses get a prepared grain and a vitamin supplement that both have some salt added, so I don't add any additional salt to their diet or offer blocks.

A mineral salt block might be all he needs if he just gets pasture or hay with nothing else. I wouldn't add electrolytes unless he is working hard and sweating.

I do add electrolytes to my horses' grain for the day if they work hard enough that they sweat with white lather. This indicates salt loss.

Andrea
He also gets free-choice timothy hay. He is stalled most of the day with a fan on him. I have been working him a bit in the round pen about 2-3 mornings a week to exercise him. He does sweat a bit on his chest while round-penning (I hose him off afterwards), but no white lather.
 
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Marty

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Suz to answer your question, yes. I put out a white salt block, and provide electrolytes in some form that's a given. Where you are it's murder on a horse in the summer so I always provided electrolytes. I used to give a pinch of salt or prepared electrolytes from Horse Health Inc. in the feed or water but the horses were not happy about it one bit. I use Gatorade. I provide a separate bucket just for Gatorade. Sometimes they drink it willingly, other times they don't so there is waste factor there. But also it is a good idea to have your horse become accustomed to it just in case he becomes ill or coliced etc. It cannot be the cheap knock off or be dilluted or you loose its value. I always kept a few gallons in the tack room and never left home without it going to a show either. It saved the kids and horses both from heat strokeing on many occasions down there. What I do now is to use it in beet pulp. Instead of soaking beet pulp in water, I soak it in straight red Gatorade on the very hot or freezing cold days, no water added. Beet pulp is a great vehicle to be able to keep your horse hydrated.
 

Miniv

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A bit of electrolytes certainly wouldn't hurt!

I don't know if you already do this, but, every stall has a small salt block and every pasture or paddock has a large one available. Our salt blocks are the "mineral/salt" variety, but you may just need the plain ones.
 

suz

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Oh, forgot to add, he does have a white salt block in his stall that he does lick/eat.
 

Minimor

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I personally would not give electrolytes except on days where he is worked hard and works up a major sweat, and perhaps on the hottest of days if he is sweating heavily due to hot, humid weather.

Giving electrolytes routines negates their effectiveness, so I have been told by those who know these things. As I understand it, the electrolytes that the horse does not need pass right on through--he does not store them as "extra" in his body. So, you are giving these electrolytes daily, but then on the day(s) when he does need some extra, he still does not have them.
 

Candice

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If he's got a white salt block he should be ok. I'm also in Fl and this heat is bad. Last year I had a stallion that was nonstop motion so I did use electrolytes daily with him and it did make all the difference. If your guy looks good and isn't dehydrated or working hard you probably don't need the electrolytes. As Marty pointed out the soaked beet pulp is excellent for getting moisture into them. I really like the gatorade idea too by the way.

I feed purina feeds. I was using the red mineral blocks but was told by someone who would know that the red blocks aren't made by purina so they're not compatible with the feed that I'm feeding. I now use the New Balance 12:12 and sprinkle a pinch of that on their feed daily and keep the white blocks out for them.

Just the other day I was in the store and saw the sea salt rocks. They don't dissolve in the weather and I am curious about those. Anyone use those???
 

Rebecca

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I use salt every day, but in the summer I use electrolytes (usually just once a day) because mine tend to not drink enough (even when the buckets are full) and get dehydrated. I always have electrolytes around, and it can't hurt if you're worried he's not drinking.

Edited to add- Yes, only on the hottest days, not every day of summer.
 
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Marty

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I personally would not give electrolytes except on days where he is worked hard and works up a major sweat, and perhaps on the hottest of days if he is sweating heavily due to hot, humid weather.

Giving electrolytes routines negates their effectiveness, so I have been told by those who know these things. As I understand it, the electrolytes that the horse does not need pass right on through--he does not store them as "extra" in his body. So, you are giving these electrolytes daily, but then on the day(s) when he does need some extra, he still does not have them.

This is my thinking exactly. I do it on the hottest days and also the coldest days
 

Leeana

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My feed store had a nutrition clinic a while back, really the mineral blocks are all salt and not even a handful of minerals in them. There is so little difference between mineral blocks and salt blocks, you do not need to have a salt block and a mineral block present, since the mineral block is basically (almost) all salt. A mineral block is the best choice and the amount of minerals in it are hardly enough to make a difference in your horses intake.

I mix electrolytes in their water, apple flavor ..i think made by dumor, at shows and on really really hot days.

Leeana
 
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HGFarm

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I absolutely disagree with the comment that stabled horses do not need salt, but pastured horses do. We have no pasture here, it is all dry lots- thus, I would consider them stabled. My Minis eat tons of salt. Horses must have salt offered in their diet, no matter what they are eating- they just may need more or less.

I keep out a variety- plain or mineral in the 50 pound blocks and they seem to lick on the mineral blocks twice as much as the plain, but they use both. I do not add salt to the feed as I would have no idea who requires what and how much, so leave the blocks out all the time and they take what they need and when.

About 30 years ago, a neighbor had about 8 full sized horses and was having a horrible time keeping weight on them.. they just didnt look good. He finally had the vet out, as they were wormed, fed good feed, etc.... - they were not on pasture either. The first thing the vet noticed as he looked around was 'WHERE are your salt blocks?!' That was the whole problem!!

In regards to a horse not drinking enough water.. how do you know it is not getting enough for what it needs? They are all different with slightly different requirements. But, in case it isnt getting enough, I would try using a different bucket. I have some my horses just dont like to drink from.. dont know why. Also, make sure the bucket is clean and the water is fresh. Sometimes slight excercise will also increase the need to drink. If the water is very cold, and it is cold out, they may not drink what they should.. just some ideas there.
 

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