Horse feed

Your guide to the proper salt feeding of horses

Each feed tag you read will include a disclaimer about providing your horse with clean, fresh water, and plain white salt in their diet. Water is something owners generally don’t have trouble with. Salt though tends to get left out of feeding time. Knowing why and how salt is a must-have can be the motivation to include it in the daily horse feed routine.

Choosing between salts

When it comes to picking between salts, there are some things to consider. If feeding a salt block, think about whether the horses lick it or if it gets covered in filth. Consider whether the same block lays in the feeder forever. Maybe sprinkling loose salt over their feed to guarantee consumption is better. Or, it might be worth the extra cost to provide “fancy salts” as this is what your horse prefers.

Whatever salt you opt for, you must track your horse’s intake. It will ensure they are getting the necessary amount in their diet.

Think about the amounts

Horses, similar to other animals, need chloride and sodium. Together, the two minerals create the common dietary ingredient salt. A mature, non-working horse needs 40 grams of chloride and 10 grams of sodium on a daily basis.

When an owner tasks horses with exercising at modern intensity, the level of sodium they need goes up to nearly 18 grams. As for the chloride requirement, it increases to around 53 grams per day.

Introduce humid, hot weather and the demands for both sodium and chloride become even higher. If you need top tier horse feed products, make sure you speak to us.

The roles of chloride and sodium

Salt is critical for every horse. Both chloride and sodium have essential roles inside the body. They need salt to absorb and move nutrients. Also, it is necessary for fluid balance and the maintenance of blood pressure.

Lastly, salt is needed for transmitting nerve signals. These control multiple essential functions, like muscle contraction.

When horses don’t get sufficient dietary salt, they can experience a decrease in blood volume and muscle weakness. They are also able to experience impaction colic and dehydration. They end up becoming intolerant to exercise.

Where to find salt?

You can find chloride and sodium in multiple common dietary ingredients fed to horses. Grain and hay contain small amounts of both. Yet, the degree of salt in them tends not to meet daily requirements. So, horse feed alone typically isn’t enough. To meet the requirements, horses would need to consume around one ounce of salt daily. Owners should supply salt free-choice to horses either in the form of blocks or loose salt.

It is true that horses come with an appetite for sodium that will lead to them consuming around one ounce per day of free-choice salt. Despite this, some horses aren’t going to voluntarily eat enough. For these animals, you’d need to top dress it onto their daily grain ration. This would result in an adequate intake.

Different coloured salts

Choosing between salts can be overwhelming. Blocks are available in a myriad of colours. They indicate the presence of other minerals in addition to salt. For instance, yellow blocks include sulphur. Blue have iodine and cobalt. Red has iodine and iron. Brown ones are referred to as trace mineral blocks. This indicates they have a multitude of minerals.

The additional minerals and colour schemes are primarily for cattle producers. For horses, a standard white salt block or a brown trace mineral one is often sufficient.


Lastly, horse owners may become worried about their animals consuming too much salt. Overconsumption usually isn’t a problem as long as horses have enough clean, fresh water available. Horses that consume excess salt will just drink more water, flushing it from their body.

Shop with us for horse feed

At JS Hubbuck Ltd, we have plenty of feed options available for customers. They will keep your animals healthy as well as satisfied. Our team has helped numerous people over the years, and we’d be happy to do the same for you.

So, if there is anything you need in terms of horse feed or products for other animals, please let us know. We’d be happy to help you find what you need.