Horse licking dirt??? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 19 Old 07-12-2013, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Horse licking dirt???

There are several spots at the outer edge of the paddock that one of my mares (Star) really likes to lick at. Even this past winter, she would lick at it until the snow was gone and she was going at the dirt.

She goes out on pasture, has clean water, good hay, and gets grain with a fair amount of supplements in it. Also, she has access to two different salt blocks: A plain white one, and a red mineral one.

I've done some research on this. One of the things that was said was that it could be a sign of gastric ulcers- which she does have. But she is only licking the dirt, not chewing on it, and she doesn't chew on anything else. I offered her the salt block when I noticed that she was licking the ground and gnawing at it with her bottom teeth, and she licked it for a few minutes.

There are little bits of moss there- does that have anything to do with it? Does she need yet another supplement? Just wondering what I should do about this, thank you!
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-12-2013, 06:45 PM
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It could be the moss. Our mares would eat the moss growing on the buildings. It's probably just something tasty.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-12-2013, 06:46 PM
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my horses do it to.. minerals in the ground maybe???

http://www.horseforum.com/member-journals/sunnys-thread-160521/ << read about Sunny and I. Our journey
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-12-2013, 06:52 PM
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Ours did it in the spring, until we got them a salt block. Then they stopped doing it. So, I think it's a mineral issue of some sort.
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-14-2013, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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There's a lot of clay in our soil, and we did some research, and other sites were saying that sometimes horses eat that, which is just so peculiar...

Anyway, I ground some salt off of the red mineral block, and sprinkled 1/4 teaspoon into both of their grain in the pm. I started with so a little amount, because Star has ulcers, and I'm being ultra careful about everything I feed her. I heard somewhere that horses can get up to 1 tablespoon a day, but again we're starting off small.
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-14-2013, 02:42 PM
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can you get just a mineral lick ? Try adding a white salt lick, the small ones that usually cost around $3.00 not the huge block. TSC has peppermint licks, white salt,mineral lick etc.
We have one horse out here that eats the dirt, clay also, and I just give him a bran mash which seems to stop some of the dirt eating. And he has a salt mineral block . I also give him a hand full of complete horse feed daily, only because he has a fit when I feed the antique ones
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-14-2013, 02:44 PM
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Some horses have an aversion to mineral blocks and refuse to touch them, others will gnaw at them.........................
You might find that buying a really good mineral & vitamin supplement and adding to her feed or buying a complete feed with a correct balance works best
If she's prone to ulcers then you could add a daily antacid to her feed - a magnesium/calcium base works well. I seem to be having success with U-Gard pellets from Smartpak
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-14-2013, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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We already have a red mineral block, a while salt block, and one of those jolly balls that is hanging from an plastic "apple" with a green-apple flavored salt chunk in it that they have never paid any attention to.

She's also on a papaya puree for her ulcers (natural plan stomach soother) which works.

Was just doing some additional research and saw something about lacking selenium...? Thoughts?
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-14-2013, 03:00 PM
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is your area deficient in selenium? I would have the Vet test for that before adding any to her diet. It can be a toxic mineral. Have a lab test done.
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-14-2013, 05:05 PM
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Agreed about the selenium testing ^^
We put iodine salt in our horses feed since they don't come near the barn until feeding times. I just pick some up at a local food store and its about 70 cents for a pound!
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