SUPPLYING your horse with salt is important because it is likely that he will need more salt than is provided in his feed if he is sweating heavily a couple of times a week in the ring or out on a hunt. Nutritionists recommend an average 500kg horse needs 10g of sodium and 40g of chloride per day on a cool day, doing no work.
If that work level increases to moderate, those requirements are upped to 17.8g and 53.3g respectively. If a horse is working very hard in hot weather, he may need additional salt in the form of an electrolyte paste or powder. Horses lose large amounts of the essential minerals in their sweat and if it’s not replenished, an electrolyte imbalance may develop, leading to low blood pressure or even neurological or cardiovascular problems.
Independent equine nutritionist Clare MacLeod advises that a shared salt block in a turnout space is not always sufficient: “A horse may also need table salt added to his feeds, particularly if he is a good doer on limited feed intake, or if you feed predominantly straights like sugar beet, oats, barley and chops. Regular table salt or sodium chloride is approximately 61% chloride and 39% sodium. Feeding 30g of salt a day will provide 11.7g of sodium enough to meet the maintenance needs of a 500kg horse.”
Your veterinarian or nutritionist can help you determine if your horse needs additional salt, as well as the best method for providing it.