When I ask people if they have salt or free choice minerals for their horses most answer yes and point me to the salt/mineral lick in the corner of the stall or pasture. I immediately let them know that they must stop these at once…Here’s why I don’t like MOST of the salt and mineral licks out there…
- The white basic salt lick seems safe enough but it is a processed salt. Which means it has Aluminum in it. When I do hair tests I see Aluminum rising in all animals and it can create quite a few health problems so it is best avoided whenever possible. The other salt licks with added minerals are all based on the same processed table salt – so they too have Aluminum in them.
- There are mineral salt licks available that many people purchase for their horses hoping to kill two birds with one stone…provide some extra minerals and the salt but there’s a problem. 90% of the time when a horse goes to a mineral lick that contains salt in it – they just want the salt not the added FEW synthetic minerals that are present them in them so invariable that will cause nutritional imbalances for them. IF the salt is an unprocessed Sea Salt (like an Himalayan salt for example) that is different as it is naturally occurring in proper ratios and not synthetic so this won’t happen.
- Some mineral licks also contain SUGAR (anything ending with the word ‘ose such as sucrose, maltose, galactose, fructose are all sugars). Sugar is bad for horses especially the processed kind found in these products. Even molasses shouldn’t be in a mineral or salt lick…you don’t want to encourage eating of these products from them wanting the sugar. They put them there so your horse will eat more and you have to buy more…not good!
- Most of them contain GMO’s…Genetically modified ‘foods’ such as soy, corn, some alfalfa and canola oil as well as beet pulp can cause inflammation in your horse’s gut which can lead to ulcers and leaky gut syndrome. Not worth purchasing any product containing any GMO’s.
- Salt and Mineral licks in general are a bad idea. They were once created for cattle that have a naturally rough tongue that allows them to get more of the product with a few licks. Horses on the other hand must lick A LOT which can cause ulcers in their mouths so once it gets uncomfortable they stop and don’t get what they need.
Best thing you can do is provide LOOSE unprocessed Sea Salt (the kind that has a color of some kind not white and bleached) in a bucket somewhere under a roof or in a stall and allow them to take what they need. You can also provide a basic whole food mineral with Sea Kelp – same idea…put it out in another bucket and allow them to take it when they want. Horses may not touch the kelp or salt for a few weeks or months sometimes but you should always have it for them for the days they do need it…then they may consume it in larger amounts. Next have a hair test done on your horse see what they are missing and then you don’t have to guess. This is the best way I have found to provide for the salt and nutritional needs of our horses without causing unnecessary problems.