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Supplement Discussion: Florida Heat

My gelding has been here for two months from the Netherlands. It goes without saying, this Florida heat is quite the change for him. What’s everyone’s thoughts on electrolyte supplements? I’ve always felt like supplements in general can sometimes do more harm than good when given in excess.

With that said, this heat is unbearable here in Orlando and only getting worse. I feel like his energy levels have been much lower during our rides and he drinks water like there’s no tomorrow. Does anyone feel like they’ve had good results with the electrolytes? If so, which ones? I’m also wondering if putting him on some might give him the runs or tummy trouble. I don’t want to stir up any issues unnecessarily. He’s a young healthy 5 year old otherwise.


What is your veterinarian recommending?

I am in coastal South Carolina and my vet recommends a scoop of electrolyte powder added to the twice daily ration balancer my horses receive.

She did not specify a brand. I am using Apple Elite Electrolyte Powder by Farnham.

I live in Houston so similar climate. My vet does not recommend daily electrolytes. However, make sure to give your horse salt every day. I do 1 to 2 tablespoons during the summer.

Her reasoning was if you are doing them everyday, you have nothing else to add for high stress events.


Isn’t salt (NaCl) an electrolyte? My vet’s opinion is that horses are unlikely to to get enough daily salt from electively licking a salt/mineral block, and that salt, both NaCl and KCl in a physiologic balance should be added to their feed.


I put an ounce of salt in the wet mash year round and have a salt block in the stall. My mare can power through a 7 lb Himalayan salt block in 2 months with an ounce a day in her feed. So that’s like a pound a week of salt.

Horses don’t get sick from salt like humans do.

If I feel.she isn’t drinking enough in winter especially she gets an 8 gallon bucket of warm molasses tea with added salt.

My first suggestion would be just adding salt to mash and perhaps a pan of loose salt free choice as well as a block.

My horse dislikes the fake candy fruit flavor of electrolytes but loves salt and molasses tea (it tastes a bit like that harsh Dutch licorice!).

The idea of electrolytes are that they are meant to be more palatable than salt, but for us they are less palatable. So salt is both cheap and tasty.

Also make sure your overall diet is hitting the right numbers for minerals.


I add electrolytes, Apple a Day, and loose salt to my horses’ rations. The only exception is when one of them is on TC Gold products that already have added electrolytes.

My homebred has anhidrosis, controlled w supps. Imo, if your horse is showing signs of heat stress now then the time to start anhidrosis supps is now. Don’t wait until he stops sweating.

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That’s a big climate change. Since he’s struggling considerably, I’d consider giving him the summer off, or very short, easy rides (i.e. a ton of walking) so he can acclimate.
Electrolytes are beneficial any time a horse may not be drinking enough water and/or sweating a lot. In Florida, this is basically 75% of the year, if not all year.

Yes, NaCl is an electrolyte.

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Yes. Chemically - An electrolyte is a medium containing ions that is electrically conducting through the movement of those ions, but not conducting electrons. This includes most soluble salts, acids, and bases dissolved in a polar solvent, such as water. (source - Wikipedia)

So anything that dissolves in water or another polar solvent to produce enough ions to conduct a charge is an electrolyte as is anything that melts and conducts electricity via movement of ions.

Some things that chemists classify as electrolytes are not going to be found in preparations sold for human or other animal consumption because they are toxic or simply ineffective as physiological electrolytes.

Fun fact. While you can apparently kill someone sitting in a bathtub filled with tap water by throwing a (possibly old style) space heater in the water, it allegedly won’t work if the tub is filled with deionized water. There are enough dissolved ions in tap water to conduct a charge and electrocute someone. Or so my freshman chem teacher told us.


Another Apple a Day person here. I’m Im the Great Lakes region so we do get a reprieve from hot/humid temps and the season isn’t as long, !however! my fjord deals with heat stress and it physically translates to Fecal water syndrome.

He does sweat, but on the advice here, I decided to start him on One AC which is an anhydrosis supplement. He’s been on it for a month now and we’ve had some warm days and so far he’s been dry. We will see once we’re consistently in the 80’s and the humidity sets in.

He also has two water buckets in his stall and a Himalayan salt lick. Almost every time I take him out to work, he will drink some water and lick his salt.

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What you can learn on COTH! :rofl:


My horse also has a touch of anhydrois. I start One A/C when the temps start rising. So for here, it is March.


Yes it is, but I think the items marketed as electrolytes have additional things in them.

My vet agrees. He is getting the salt with his grain and also has a salt block.

To clarify, he gets salt year round, but the amount is reduced during the winter.

If I were bathing in deionized water and someone came at me with a plugged in toaster, I’d likely pee in the bath water and die.



I am in Ocala, jsut north of Orlando. My guys get Apple A Day because it has no sugar. Many electrolyte supplements have sugar in them.
Lots of my friends give their horses sugar-free gatoraid after a ride. It comes powdered. My horse liked the Orange.
Many folks turn out at night and leave in the barn with fans on in the day.
COnsider a misting system - yes even in the humidity, the ultra-fine droplets evaporate and cool the air. I put one of the “patio curtain misters” on a fence, when I had a mare who really suffered in the heat. Helped a lot.
ALso, here is a cool new “treat” developed by a dressage rider nurse and her vet, here in Ocala. My guy gets one after I ride. He immediately goes to his water and drinks.https://www.funkyunicorntreats.com/

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I’m in South Georgia where its equally hot, and the humidity is felt even more because we rarely have any breeze to speak of. I give my horse 1 tbsp kosher salt AM and PM, but I RARELY give electrolytes unless he has gotten completely lathered up. When I do, I use Apple A Day, but at just a partial dose. I find that it causes my horse to have diarrhea and stomach upset, but he has lots of GI issues anyway, so maybe that’s just him.


I hope it continues to help him!

Florida person here - my older Lusitano is a lover of salt blocks, all year long. No supplements, and he does fine. PSG level work 3x per week under the ring cover and one day in our big field. Younger gelding, working to GP, part lusi,part hanoverian will NOT TOUCH a salt block so he gets it added to food. Both have been in heat for multiple years.
OP its going to take a while for his body to adjust, just like people who move here from cooler climates. IMO go with salt as its cheap and easy; but also maybe keep electrolytes on hand if he has a particularly big day for whatever reason. I know a number of people who keep the powdered Gatorade on hand. Do a lot of walk work - not long rein but a true working walk, some lateral work etc; keep trot/canter sets short for a while. Make his brain work harder than his body, lol. He’s young you have time… You dont mention if you have a covered arena; I’d be sunk w/out one…

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They can acctually. Excessive salt can unbalance the whole e-lyte balance, it causes excess drinking, which means excess peeing which removes extra removal of minerals.

Not really, and there’s a reason many of them are in paste form so you can force-feed them :wink: That said, many of the generally available ones aimed at daily supplementation usually have things mixed in, whether sucrose or some flavoring. Other than salt, minerals aren’t terribly tasty.

For the OP - he probably just can’t handle much or any work this Summer. It takes time to adapt not just to heat, but humidity is a real struggle

I WOULD make sure he’s getting a solid 1tbsp salt per 500lb body weight, and then make sure he’s got free choice loose salt (and free choice may be only when he’s in a stall, which is fine). He’s not likely to be able to do enough work to warrant a separate e-lyte.

I have a horse that over sweats, especially in the humidity. Other horses in the barn will be completely dry, and here’s my fatty patty, sweating just standing. Since she is also bald faced, blue eyed, and lots of chrome, I do things a little differently with her.

  1. Reverse turnout. Out at night with fly gear, and in during the heat of the day… 12-5p
  2. Keeping the barn well ventilated. Don’t be afraid to use a big fan in the aisle to push hot air out. I also keep a fan on her stall. If it’s 78f+ the fan is on if she’s in.
  3. Clean ample supply of water. You can feed all the supplements and stuff that you want, but hydration ultimately comes from water. Soak feed, hay even. Any way you can get water into them when it’s hot is a good idea.
  4. Supplemental electrolytes only if the horse is worked. I will give supplemental electrolytes on the days we ride and she sweats. My supp of choice is Uckele’s Pro Lyte Pellets . Super palatable, in pellet form (no more messy powders or pastes), low sugar, and formulated to compliment most forage sources. Even my most picky horses ate this with no issues.
  5. Loose salt in daily rations! Generally, a 1000lb horse at rest on a cool day, needs 28g of Sodium. That equates to about 2 tablespoons of loose iodized salt per day. Horses need iodine as well, and this is a great way for them to get it. If your horse is on any kelp based supplements, non iodized salt should be considered. Any salt they will eat is good salt, table salt is just the cheapest. You can read more about salt here, an article written by Claire Thunes, a PhD in Equine Nutrition.
  6. Any work my horse does is done in the morning, when it’s the coolest, and they’ve had a cooler night to recover from the previous days heat. Once I made the switch to riding in the mornings, I had much happier horses!

I would give your boy some time to adjust, and adjust his diet so he is getting what he needs. 60 days It could take an entire summer season, but at the end of the day, that’s time well spent letting him adjust.