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Buck-Appaloosa

Salt Block Vs. Mineral Block

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What's really the difference and do horses need both? I've always been told they need both so I provide both but do they really need both?

Thanks

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They don't need either. Salt blocks and mineral blocks are basically uselss for horses. They were designed for cattle, whose tongues are much rougher. Horse's tongues are rouch enough for the horse to receive what they need from a block. Go loose salt and minerals, much better. Also, most "mineral" blocks are 99.2% salt, the rest is minerals. I like Purina Free Balance 12:12 minerals and plain loose salt.

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We use a salt block, and don't bother w/the mineral block. If you're feeding a balanced feed, chances are your horse is getting enough minerals from that.

Loose salt is better, but when you have several horses in a field, it just may not be practical.

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Very few horses get everything they need from their diet, particularly if they are confined to a grass pasture or penned or stalled and fed grass hay and grain.

Most horses need 'macro minerals'. Macro minerals are Calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P), Magnesium and Salt. Very few need added 'micro' minerals or trace minerals as they are usually called. By far, Calcium deficiencies are the most common. Phosphorus deficiencies are common only in certain areas where the soils lack Phosphorus just like Selenium is difficient where there is little in the local soils. A horse's total diet should contain about twice as much Ca than P. While alfalfa is usually high in Ca, grass, grass hays, protein sources (like soybean meal) and grain contain very little Ca and are usually low in Magnesium as well. Many forbs, like weeds, trees and other broad leaf plants, are high in Ca and are why many confined horses kill trees by eating the bark and why they eat up wood fences.

I, personally, have never found any diet that requires a mineral the has equal parts of Ca and P. They just perpetuate or worsen a Ca deficiency.

We have tried many minerals over the years. We have have cared for as many a 300 horses and have not had fewer than 50 head to care for in more than 40 years. We have cared for big herds (100 +) in Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma. All proved to need added Calcium and salt in the summer and Calcium, salt and Vitamin A in the winter. Since using a mineral like this, we have not had any crooked legged foals born, have not had to 'clean' a single mare after foaling, have eliminated ALL rain rot and lice, have eliminated dirt eating and have eliminated tree and wood chewing.

I mixed my own minerals for many years before I found a commercially made mineral that was almost identical to what I had been mixing. The Ca:P ratio was about 5:1 (23% Ca to 4 or 5% P). It has 2% Magnesium, 25% salt and contains 150,000 IU Vitamin A per pound. This mineral is labeled as an 'un-medicated wheat pasture mineral' for cattle. It supplies everything a horse needs that is being fed a diet of predominantly grass hay and grain. It is a 'loose' mineral and we keep it out 'free-choice' for every horse.

Horses being fed predominantly alfalfa get enough Ca and sometimes get too much Ca and Magnesium resulting in enteroliths in their gut.

In the summer and in very cold weather in the winter, we also throw a handful of loose salt in every horse's grain every day. This has eliminated impactions caused by horses not drinking enough water in the hottest and coldest times.

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Cheri,

I like the sound of your mineral supplement. Would you please share the name or brand of the product? Do you order yours or can you find it locally?

Thanks!

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Good post, Cheri . I have a soft mineral block, designed for horses, and not a hard trace mineral block for most of my horses

I have a specialized blended loose mineral that I add to soaked beet pulp for my two IR horses

I need to go to the barn to get the exact contents and %.

It was formulated by my natural hoof care specialist, and besides the usual ingredients, has a higher content of Mag and Chromium, both credited with reducing insulin resistence

Supplimenting minerals is ceratinly not 'over kill, esp if you are trying to raise sound performance horses and not just pasture ornaments

I will grab the tag and post exact contents later

Edited by Smilie

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Loose salt with minerals is best here in Oregon we have a great product from

the Horse-gard co. called essential minerals and it works great. A vet wrote a

article here on H.C. sometime back about this and he said salt blocks for horses should

be outlawed 'cause they just won't eat enough !!

P.C.S.

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I have salt blocks in each corral that the horses enjoy. But i supplement them with loose salt in their grain or beet pulp every night. Especially in hot weather.

Bumper

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We have Salt Blocks in our turn-outs and I have salt mixed in our feed. Each stall has a salt brick in it next to the water buckets.

In addition, I have loose salt that I will toss in the hay if I notice my horse has not been drinking enough water which my vet recommended. All I do is throw the hay in the manger and throw the salt over the hay - so easy and it works. There is a loose salt that I purchase from the feed store that looks like Sea Salt made for horses - can't think of the name but my horses do like it.

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