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Adding supplemental salt in addition to salt block -- who knew?

I would like to think of myself as somewhat educated, but it looks like I missed this one.

FeedXL said I was short on salt, but I have a Himalayan salt rock that he loves, so I didn’t worry about it. But then I read up that the recommended salt amount is 1 oz/day, which is almost 2 lbs per month. He isn’t eating his salt rock THAT fast… so I am adding Morton’s Iodized.

I have never given extra salt, in 25 years of owning horses. I always assumed they would eat the salt block as needed. Some completely ignored it; none ever ate 2 lbs a month. I have read on many sites that “good hay and access to salt” is enough. I have never had a problem caused by a salt deficiency – or any nutritional deficiency. On really hot days that we worked I would give electrolytes --but more like I consumed Gatorade. Not a steady diet.

So, does everyone add salt? Where do horses get salt in nature?


IME most horses won’t pay enough, or any, attention to blocks. They aren’t made for smooth-tongued horses, they are made for rougher-tongued cows. Horses need loose salt, either free choice, or force-fed, or both.

Feral horses find areas where the soil is salty enough, and utilize those when possible.


I wonder how much salt is added to pelleted feed?

I’ve been feeding an ounce of salt in my mash. Maresy can go through a 7 lb Redmond salt block in 8 weeks, though.

So how much in would you feed a large warmblood per day. A teaspoon, tablespoon, cup full?

HUH? Of salt? As noted above, the recommended amount is an ounce. That’s a weight measurement. In volume it’s fairly small.

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The cup full was supposed to be a joke. I feed a level teaspoon twice a day but am wondering if that is enough in this heat and all the sweating they are doing. I don’t own a scale that can measure one ounce.


1 TB is about a half ounce, so feed 2 TBs. Better to use non-iodized salt or get it from feed supply.


NRC guidelines say 100 mg/kg body weight, daily, for maintenance. All nutrients are on a per body weight basis, it’s not static for “horse”.

Why non-iodized? I’ve always heard iodized salt is best for horses.

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Many horses don’t need extra iodone, so while it’s not necessary to feed non-iodized, it’s fine to. If they need some help , then use iodized

Some of my barnmates feed electrolytes daily – I looked on some of the labels, and though the dose is 1 oz per day, the amount of sodium is just 35%.

Supplement manufacturers must assume salt is coming from some other portion of the diet?

I don’t see the need for electrolytes daily unless maybe the horse is in really hard work. I do sometimes give a bucket with salt and a dab of molasses, which does the same thing. Also my horse doesn’t like the electrolyte flavors.

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I feed 1 tablespoon of salt twice daily.


Fortified feeds have some level of salt.

Supplements aren’t aimed at salt intake, unless it’s specifically a salt-based product.

Electrolytes are more than just salt, they are taking into account the other - calcium, potassium, etc. They aren’t a salt-specific supplement.


Daily electrolytes are almost never recommended for horses. For one thing, as you’ve pointed out, most contain very little in the way of what horses actually need…I did the math for one group of students once and showed them that, to replace the electrolytes lost in one hour of moderately intense exercise, you’d need to administer ridiculous amounts of most commercial electrolyte products - 9 doses of one of the products we chose at random, for example!


I feed salt with the grain mix, twice a day, about a tbsp each meal. I’ve tried putting up salt blocks, a certain horse who shall remain nameless, likes to pull them off the wall instead of licking the salt and destroy the holder!
I worked for a vet who fed salt twice daily, which gave me the idea.

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I feed just one TBS once daily except for one mare who refuses to eat if there is salt in her feed. Won’t eat if there is a salt block in her feeder, sigh.

My gelding loved his salt block so I never added salt to his diet. My mare runs on the warm side and sweats quite easily and heavy. I gave her a himalian block once and she got the runs from it. Probably wouldn’t hurt for me to add a TBS. 2 x a day. I don’t trust giving her a block again as she must have gone overboard eating it

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I have always fed 1 tablespoon 2X per day to my horses. I use iodized sea salt which is dirt cheap at Costco. I did a ton of research many years ago and forget why iodized sea salt was determined best.

I avoid electrolytes on ulcer prone horses and only use if really required.

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