The Scoop on Salt and horses!
Sodium chloride (salt) is one of the most important minerals for your horse’s everyday life and health. Through its roles in the nervous system, it is critical for normal nerve and muscle function. It transports key substances such as glucose and amino acids across membranes and throughout the body. Like potassium, sodium is hugely important in osmotic regulation of your horse’s body fluids. The more sodium there is in an area, the more water will be drawn to that area.
Sodium deficiency includes poor skin quality, abnormal licking of objects as they search for salt, decreased water intake, slow eating, and eventually loss of appetite and an unsteady gait. Toxicity from excess salt levels are rare provided horses have adequate supplies of fresh water.
A 1,000 lb horse requires about an ounce of salt daily - regardless of his exercise regime. This is about one and a half tablespoons! Additional electrolytes need to be given if your horse is sweating. It's often best to add this salt to his food daily, instead of using a salt block, to assure his diet is complete with salt. Many horses ignore their salt blocks, and many horses will chew and eat salt blocks wildly. Either way, it's not the right daily amount unless you are measureing and feeding it.
Thanks to Grand Meadows for sharing their nutritional information!