Last Updated on March 11, 2022 by Allison Price
Every horse needs access to quality rock or mineral blocks. But which one is the best for your horse’s health? There are many licks available. There are so many options that it can seem overwhelming. Which should you choose? Are mineral blocks with added supplements smart? Should you just get rid of the block and use a natural rock salt instead?
Let’s examine the reasons horses need salt and minerals and compare the health benefits of horse blocks and salt rock.
Why Horses Use Salt and Minerals
It’s not up for debate whether salt should be a staple of your horse’s diet. According to this University of Florida paper horse vitamin and mineral supplements, all horses need a supplemental salt source, regardless of their age or productivity level.
Salt is essential for maintaining life. Since it can’t be produced by the body it must be given to horses in some form, such as a salt lick. Dr. Juliet Getty points out salt is essential for horses’:
- Proper muscle contraction
- Healthy nerve impulses throughout your body and brain
- Blood pH and blood volume are balanced
- Hydration and water balance
- Production of stomach acid
Minerals, which are similar to salt, help horses maintain hydration and nerve conduction. They also aid in muscle contraction and nearly every other physiological function. Horses consume minerals daily, but the amounts they get from their feed and forage are often not sufficient. The University of Florida suggests that horses choose a balanced mineral supplement to ensure they don’t have excess minerals. This will prevent them from absorbing and using the other minerals effectively.
What Salt Lick is Best For My Horse?
We know that every horse requires daily salt supplementation, and many horses also suffer from mineral deficiencies. How do you find a salt supplement that is effective and contains a range of balanced minerals that your horse will enjoy? Let’s look at the various options available on the feed store shelves and see which one is best for you horse.
White Salt Block
Manufactured salt or mineral blocks can be heat-pressed licks that are suitable for horses and cattle. Simple white salt blocks are made up of sodium and chloride (salt), but not other beneficial minerals. Not all salt is equal. Learn more about what is and how it differs from natural mineral salt. )
A white block, in short, is an economical way for your horse to get salt every day, but it doesn’t contain any other beneficial minerals, electrolytes, or nutrients to increase health or trigger hydration.
- Salt (sodium chloride), for horses
- Manufactured, processed, and heat-pressed
- No additional minerals or electrolytes for horses
- Quickly dissolve more in rain and snow
Horse mineral blocks are rich in salt and other nutrientslike iron, copper and iodine. Some blocks contain targeted vitamins such as A, D and E or other ingredients that support your health.
It may seem like a big step up to choose a mineral block instead of plain salt. However, many manufactured blocks don’t provide the complete spectrum of electrolytes and balanced minerals your horse requires. Many blocks have fillers that mask the bitter taste of the blocks, such as artificial flavors, sweeteners and grains. University of Florida notes that mineral blocks with poor palatability can lead to inadequate mineral intake. However, sunlight and weather can make many vitamins inactive.
You should carefully review the ingredients of any mineral blocks you are considering to make sure they meet your requirements and that your horse is receiving adequate nutrition. You should purchase vitamins and/or minerals in a complete package with balanced ratios. You should also monitor the amount of block being used. Your horse might struggle to lick it because it is too sweetened, or may eat it like candy if it isn’t.
- Usually contains salt and around 7 and -10 additional minerals
- May contain v itamins, or other health supplements
- Many contain only a small amount of electrolytes and trace minerals.
- Horses may be less comfortable if they are not well-mannered.
- Many have sweeteners that can be used to encourage chewing or licking.
- Some are filled with unnecessary dyes or fillers.
- Rain and snow melts faster
Natural Rock Salt
The minerals that make up mineralized salt rocks come from nature. Salt rocks can also be naturally chelated or linked to organic nutrients from ancient seabeds. Studies have shown that chelated minerals are more bioavailable to animals than those from manufactured sources.
Redmond Rock, and Pakistani-mined Himalayan rocks are both natural, unrefined sea salt rocks. Each contains all the essential electrolytes horses require for hydration. There are also dozens of trace minerals that horses naturally need in the right ratios. In taste tests, horses prefer salt rocks to manufactured blocks. You can also buy them with or without a rope that you can use to tie your horse to a fence or stall.
These mined salt rocks can be a better option than manufactured plain salts or mineral blocks if you value natural balanced minerals and versatility. Which is better? It all depends on your preference and that of your horse, but here are the things that set Redmond Rock apart.
- Made in America. Redmond Rock 100% is extracted from the Jurassic Period mineral deposits in Utah. It is then packaged in the USA.
- Higher mineral content. Redmond Rock has 93% sodium and 7% natural minerals, compared to 98% sodium and 2% mineral content from Himalayan rocks.
- All-natural, solid, mined rock
- 60+ trace minerals that are naturally balanced and chelated (see Redmond Rock complete mineral analysis).
- Contain and all major electrolytes that stimulate thirst and promote hydration
- No grains, sweeteners, artificial flavors, or dyes
- Wet Weather Better Than Printed Blocks
- Redmond Rock is preferred by horses to manufactured blocks.
Horses prefer natural redmond rock salt
Many horse owners have switched to natural Redmond Rocks after getting rid of their horse block. Stephanie Hayes, a competitor, trainer and equine clinician, shares her story about why she chooses Redmond for her horses’ salt and trace minerals.
Best Choice Salt for Horses + Loose Salt
Redmond Rock, a natural mineral rock, is the best salt lick for horses. But, salt and minerals even superior mineral rocks often are not enough to meet the salt and mineral requirements of horses. Here’s why.
According to the National Research Council, an average horse of 1,100 lb at rest requires 25 grams of salt daily as a maintenance dosage. This is a minimum of 1.5 teaspoons or.75 ounces. In equine athletes that are exercising heavily, like endurance horses, the salt requirement increases substantially–potentially climbing to a whopping 200 grams. It is easy to see how hardworking horses might struggle to get enough salt by just using a lick.
Experts from Dr. Juliet Getty and the University of Florida recommend that horses be fed a daily amount of loose salt along with a free-choice mineral to meet additional needs. Redmond offers a complete line of loose salts to suit your horse’s needs all year. For natural fly control, try Redmond Rock Crushed or Crushed With Garlic. Daily Red is a rich source of vitamin and mineral mix.
Redmond Salt Sample Pack
You might consider switching to natural Redmond Rock or Crushed loose salt for your horse block. It’s easy! Click below to order a Redmond sample package and get both! Get 50% off by using the code “hydrate” during checkout We guarantee a 100% satisfaction guarantee if you and your horse do not love our products.
You can cut through the confusion caused by horse blocks. Redmond Rock is the best-resource natural salt licks, loose minerals and horse hydration.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!