Horse rearing requires passion and knowledge about equines. The physiology of a horse’s body differs significantly from that of a human body and even though they require same nutrients as we do, the quantities are often different.
Apart from carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins, horses also need minerals. To make sure your pet horses are getting complete nutrition, you need to provide them essential minerals. In easy words, you need salt block for horses! The sodium present in the salt block is crucial for both active and less active horses.
As per the usual belief, the salt block is considered supplements for warm weather. But this is not true! Horses require daily supplements of 28-57 grams of salt in all seasons. This requirement may increase in warm seasons, because they tend to lose a lot of water and minerals from their body. You may find some abnormal behaviors in horses like chewing objects, licking walls or pillars etc. if they are having a deficiency of Sodium Chloride.
Usual feeds available in the market either lack the sodium and chloride completely or provide them in inadequate quantities. Therefore, it is essential that you provide your horses, salt blocks which are basically blocks of Sodium Chloride. Horses can “lick” them to get both of these essential minerals. You may find a number of brands offering salt block for horses. Many of them also provide additional nutrients. Salt blocks available in the market come with different quantities of sodium and chlorides. Depending upon the age of your horse, you can choose the amount of salt required for them. For example, older horses require less amount of salt and younger ones require more depending upon their activities.
Types of salt blocks:
Red Salt Blocks
They contain iodized table salt (same as we use for our meals!)
Blue Salt Blocks
Blue salt blocks contain iodine as well as cobalt supplements. It is mainly used when your horse need supplementation of vitamin B12 as it is supplied in a combination of cobalt.
Brown Salt Blocks
Apart from typical iodized salt, these blocks are rich in selenium, another essential nutrient for horses.
Another important point you need to keep in mind is, you must specifically choose a salt block for horses, as you can also find salt blocks for other animals like cattle, donkeys and goats. Remember that each animal needs salts in different quantities. So a salt block for goat will never be sufficient for horses! In some special situations, you may require different kinds of salt blocks. The requirement of sulfur is higher among young horses as their body is growing rapidly. In this case, you need to supplement it through salt blocks containing sulfur. The same salt block may be harmful to older horses!
After you give a salt block to your horse you need to check that if it is being consumed or not. Usually, 2.5 Kg salt block will be consumed completely if it is licked adequately by the horse. It is important that you keep the block clean to make it inviting for horse.
Horses are your precious companions. Adding salt block in their usual diet ensures you can enjoy their company for years to come!