When to Pep Up Your Pony with Electrolytes

By Heather Toms

Salt is a mandatory ingredient of most mixed feeds. Despite that, though, I like to have a salt block permanently in my stalls. Horses crave access to salt night and day. You can identify that your horse is licking away at his salt block thanks to the lick marks that will be evident.

All of this may seem like basic horse sense, but you could be amazed at just how many horse owners, including some of the big fellows in the business, who consider their responsibility satisfied when they get a salt block in place in the stall. The responsibility doesn't really end there; you want to ensure the salt block stays clean and free from grime and cobwebs. You need to ensure your pony is actually eating the salt. Just as you'd be troubled if your horse will not take his feed, you ought to be concerned if he will not touch the salt. In such an event, try shifting the salt to your horse's feed tub. He's going to benefit himself because he's going to have to move the block around to get at his feed, and the movements will rub off salt onto the feed. Your horse is getting his salt that way.

From personal experience, I'm persuaded that horses need salt in their diet all year through and not during summer only.

Unless a horse sweats copiously, I don't include electrolytes in my horse's water or feed. There's no need. Racing horses do sweat copiously while on a race and after it, and so they have to be given electrolytes. Electrolytes must be given to ponies and horses involved in energetic sports like polo and show events. Most horses utilized for just ordinary riding of the non-strenuous kind do not sweat enough to make a case for getting electrolytes.

Try and go easy on the electrolyte quantity. Keep a watch on the sort of activity a pony is employed for and the degree of difficult work he is put through. Horses at riding coaching schools, with their relatively low level of effort, do not need electrolytes the same way as horses that work up a massive sweat running hard cross country or jumping high and continuing over an extend spell of time do. If you've got a pony that does not sweat even after a high level of exertion, watch out. You ought to be calling your vet to come over instantly.

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