In a few of my past articles, I have recommended getting a salt lick or mineral block for your horse to encourage them to drink more water or to give them better access to the salt and minerals they benefit from. But are these blocks truly good for your horse to have all the time? And are there certain horses you shouldn’t give a mineral or salt block?
Are Salt & Mineral Blocks Good For Horses?
Yes, salt and/or mineral blocks can be really good for horses. Horses sometimes need the help of a salt or mineral block to encourage them to drink more water and eat more food or to get more of the minerals they benefit from into their system. Not only does salt help to make the horse stay better hydrated, but it also helps to give the horse more energy by causing chemical reactions in the body. Without enough salt or minerals in the horse’s diet, they can become slow, weary, and fatigued.
What Is The Difference Between A Salt Block & A Mineral Block
There are a few differences in both the contents of these blocks, as well as their appearance.
Typically, salt blocks will be either white or pink in color depending on the type of salt that the block or salt lick is made out of. Mineral blocks tend to be anywhere from a dark brown to a pinkish brick red color depending on the minerals put in the lick or block.
The most common salt blocks and licks that you can find are usually the all-white ones. These salt blocks usually just consist of plain table salt which is known as sodium chloride. Mineral blocks however contain much more than one element. Just a shortened list of some of the minerals that you can find in a mineral block include:
- sodium chloride
Both of these blocks/licks can come in different quantities. Sometimes, you can buy a large block that is attached to a rope for easy hanging, an even bigger block that is used to just put on the ground, or a small lick that is mounted on a surface next to or near a water source.
Pros Of Giving Your Horse A Salt Or Mineral Block
There are many pros to giving your horse a salt block or a mineral block. Some of the pros and benefits include:
- Your horse will stay more hydrated
- Your horse will eat enough food
- The consumption of minerals and salt is good for the body
- Gives the horse more energy
- Helps engage the movement of nerve impulses around the body
- Helps bring fuel like amino acids and glucose into the cells
- Drastically reduces the risk of your horse becoming salt deprived
Cons Of Giving Your Horse A Salt Or Mineral Block
Though there are many pros to giving your horse a salt or mineral block ansd you can see above, there are also some cons to giving them to your horses a well. Some of the cons to salt or mineral blocks include:
- The possibility of your horse getting sodium toxicity (caused by the over consumption of salt)
- Toungue irritation
- Teeth or jaw issues (caused when the horse bites the block in an effort to consume more salt)
How Long Does A Salt Or Mineral Block Last?
Usually a small block that can be mounted onto the wall or near a water source will last around 2 months. A larger block that may be on a rope or on the gorund can last anywhere from 6 months to a year depending oin the size of the block and the size of the horse.
Can All Horses Enjoy A Salt Or Mineral Block?
Yes! It doesn’t matter the age, shape, or size of the horse. Salt and other minerals found in these blocks are really beneficial to horses and can be used with horses of all ages.
Do I Recommend Getting A Salt Or Mineral Block?
Yes! As long as you make sure your horse isn’t trying to bite the block or isn’t consuming too much of it, I definitely would recommend that you get a salt or mineral block for your horse.
I personally like the larger blocks that you can place on the ground or mount on the wall. This way they last longer and you can have enough for mutiple horses to lick on it at a time.