Electrolytes? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By BarrelRacingLvr
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 Old 07-20-2013, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 7,585
• Horses: 2

The same questions keep coming up for me whenever I read threads pertaining to electrolytes...so instead of hijacking a thread, I'll ask my questions here:

Basically, what makes electrolytes so much more "special" than just loose salt?

I feed loose salt as a top dressing for my mare's ration balancer [Triple Crown 30%] and, depending on the temperature/humidity of the day, she gets between 1tbsp and 4-5tbsp salt daily.

Do electrolytes really help? Is loose salt just fine on its own? Should I be feeding a 'real' electrolyte?
Or, since she's on an RB, would that get redundant? Are the minerals and such in an electrolyte mix super different than the minerals in an RB?
Seriously, I know nothing. Couldn't tell, could you?

I've noticed a real improvement in her ability to deal with the heat since adding salt and since she, generally, deals terribly with heat anyway...any improvement is great!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat

Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Wallaby is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 Old 07-20-2013, 07:05 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Surry, Va
Posts: 4,712
• Horses: 0
salt is just sodium cloride, horses also need magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Thats what makes elyte blends better than plain salt.
Cant remember the specifics but pretty sure the horse cant absorb the sodium without calcium.
Joe4d is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 07-20-2013, 09:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Somewhere in WA
Posts: 1,222
• Horses: 11
Electrolytes are pretty vital because salt is just that...salt. Electrolytes have ALL the other minerals the horses need and they they sweat out. When feeding just loose salt your not putting those other vitamins and minerals back in the body. And my horses have access to salt and a mineral block 24/7 but I still feed Electrolytes because they hardly lick their blocks.
NaeNae87 likes this.

Conformation is how far the horse CAN go,
Mind is how far the horse WILL go,
Training is how far it DOES go.
BarrelRacingLvr is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 07-20-2013, 10:31 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 3,246
• Horses: 2
Basically what Joe said. Horses lose more than just sodium chloride (table salt) when they sweat. Even with a salt and/or mineral block offered, horses don't lick off enough to fulfill their needs. Horses are very inefficient sweaters compared to people... And basically everything else. Horses can lose gallons of sweat daily, along with proportionally large amounts of sodium chloride, calcium, potassium...

Also, I'm fairly sure ration balancer doesn't contain sufficient electrolytes.

I have Kitty on two tablespoons of normal salt daily. She gets "real" electrolyte if I work her. Baby Girl gets an ounce of "real" electrolyte daily. Apple-a-day. I would do the same for Kitty if I could afford it -- it's preferable. But I play favorites.

If I'm feeling super cheap, I make my own ghetto homemade electrolyte:

2 parts table salt
2 parts Lite salt
1 part Dolomite (natural calcium/magnesium) Tums antacids are also used in place of the Dolomite for the calcium and protection of the stomach.

Better than normal table salt. Not as close to the content of real horse sweat as some "real" electrolytes. But heck.

Last edited by Brighteyes; 07-20-2013 at 10:34 PM.
Brighteyes is offline  
post #5 of 9 Old 07-21-2013, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: California
Posts: 377
• Horses: 1

I was always told to give sea salt as opposed to table salt due to the iodine in the table salt. I was told by one vet to just give the lose sea salt on my horse's food and I tried that but found she did much better on a commercial electrolyte powder sprinkled on her food. Just be careful that the electrolyte doesn't have a bunch of sugar in it as many do. (unless it is okay for your horse to have sugar). The electrolytes are given separate from the RB because they don't hold up mixed with other things from what I have learned from the Platinum Performance people when I was trying to get it all mixed into one.
lightning is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 07-21-2013, 03:08 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Surry, Va
Posts: 4,712
• Horses: 0
ever played sports and had a coach tell you to eat a bannana after practice to prevent heat cramps ? Same same, bannanas full of potassium. WHich is one of the elytes you are sweating out. Its very possible your horse is getting all the other elytes in his feed and grass and all he needs extra is the salt. Depends on work load.
Joe4d is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 07-21-2013, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12,203
• Horses: 2
Great responses. Purchasing a tub of electrolytes is quite cheap if you go to your local tack store. You can purchase a tub that will last you 4-6 weeks(if fed regularly), for just $15 or so. Luckily it's not an expensive supplement to purchase and it will include everything your horse needs.
my2geldings is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 07-22-2013, 12:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,793
• Horses: 0
Electrolytes are minerals that regulate muscle and nerve function as well as blood volume and ph. The principle minerals are sodium, chloride (salt) and potassium. Other minerals that are needed in smaller amounts include Ca, P, Mg, Zn, Cu, Mn and Fe. Forages are high in K and Cl but very low in Na. No naturally occurring horse feed products are adequate or high in Na so one must add salt to the diet. If you are feeding hay with the TC 30, you are going to meet all the other minerals needed so all you need to add is plain old white salt. Plain old white salt runs about $.16/# so for pennies a day, he's got everything he needs. There a reason commercially prepared electrolyte products are as much as 70% salt. That's what they are lacking. You're also paying $2/# for that salt. I would prefer to let him free feed on the salt (as long as he doesn't either eat it like candy or totally ignore it) that to try and figure out what he needs. Some days depending upon workload and weather his demands will change. Let him self regulate. He needs to be in good sodium balance before the heavy workouts and hot weather.

Quick comparison on one mineral K in Apple Dex vs TC 30.
AD is 11%. In a 2 oz portion (56 g) that's 6 g.
TC is 4%. In a 1 # portion (454 g) that's 18 g.
You can do this with all the minerals you are looking at and the RB is going to provide much, much more.
Left Hand Percherons is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 07-22-2013, 12:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,793
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
The same questions keep coming up for me whenever I read threads pertaining to electrolytes...so instead of hijacking a thread, I'll ask my questions here:

Basically, what makes electrolytes so much more "special" than just loose salt?
Left Hand Percherons is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
electrolytes? tlvmiller Horse Health 4 07-04-2012 09:01 PM
Electrolytes...how much? Hoofprints in the Sand Horse Health 14 06-22-2010 04:46 PM
Electrolytes? aintnocitygirl Horse Health 2 03-14-2010 07:43 AM
Electrolytes? Hobbitses Horse Health 4 11-20-2009 05:39 PM
Understanding electrolytes? melinda27858 Horse Health 4 07-23-2008 09:52 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome