Can a horse overdo his mineral block? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-31-2011, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Wisconsin, USA
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Can a horse overdo his mineral block?

Hello! I have 2 horses - a 13 y/o Arabian mare and a 10 y/o Haflinger/TB cross gelding. They both are stall boarded, but are out in the pasture from 6:30 am - dusk everyday with plenty of hay in the winter paddocks and grass in the summer. We give them a mineral block in the stall (I don't know the exact size but it is an individual one, not the huge block) and my mare will take roughly a month or so to slowly lick her way through it. My hubbys gelding chews his in big mouthfuls and it is gone in about 48 hours. We don't give him it very ofen because that is a lot of salt/minerals in a short period. Can this hurt him? Should we not give him any in the future?
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-31-2011, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Puyallup, WA
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Hi there. I had just replied on a post lasty night and meantioned an article I had read, so when I saw this one I had to go look it up. I do not think that you have an issue with your horse having too much salt. Take a look at this article. Its all about nutrition and nutrients. Ill copy and paste the Salt part on here so others that dont take the time to click links can see at least the part on salt.

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Salt is another very common deficiency I see everywhere I go. Most horse owners think that if they provide a salt block, the horses’ sodium needs are met. In truth, horses do not receive adequate levels of sodium by licking a salt block. One sedentary horse would have to consume over 2 pounds (an entire stall sized brick) in one month. If he was working, he might need 2-4 times more than that. Salt is ideally provided in a loose form. Most horse owners don’t realize how critical it is for their horse’s sodium needs to be met. [Sodium is essential for absorption of many nutrients, as well as their entry into cells (including glucose), essential for the normal functioning of all nerve and muscle tissue. Sodium is also the major regulator of water balance in tissues. In addition to “holding” water in the tissues, sodium is what the brain “reads” in determining when to trigger thirst and when to regulate the amount of sodium, and therefore water, the body excretes in the urine. If sodium intake is too low, the kidneys will actively excrete potassium and save sodium, even if blood potassium levels drop below normal. This is a very, very common mistake made when supplementing performance horses.

Insufficient sodium inevitably leads to some dehydration. The brain reads sodium levels in the cerebrospinal fluid. The cerebrospinal fluid in turn is a filtrate of blood. Blood levels of sodium will be maintained by “stealing” sodium from the extracellular fluid. This leads to the decrease in skin elasticity that is familiar sign of mild to moderate dehydration. The rule of thumb is that as little as 2 to 3% dehydration can lead to a 10% drop in performance. However, excessive intakes need to be avoided. Eleanor Kellon. VMD] Again, actually testing and supplementing specific amounts is optimum.
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-31-2011, 10:18 AM
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I would try a different product. Mineral bricks have actually very little (1-2%) trace minerals in them and the rest is salt. They have no macro minerals in them. He could be looking for something in the brick but eating 2# of salt all at once isn't good. I feed Moorman's Grostrong minerals. Just top dress 2 oz on his feed or just throw it in a feed pan by itself if he doesn't need grain. It has some salt but he still would need more straight salt.
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