Summer's hottest days are upon us, and along with the heat comes the possibility of dehydration, heat stroke and other heat-related ailments for both humans and equines.
Just like humans, horses sweat to keep cool. Along the way, he loses water and salt, or dietary electrolytes-in his sweat. A hardworking endurance horse can lose as much as four gallons of water per hour.
These electrolytes are key to properly functioning equine body and are responsible, literally, for keeping the heart pumping, as well as moving waste through the gastrointestinal system and controlling fluid balance in the body, among other important metabolic operations.
In an effort to keep cool, the horse sweats, losing precious water and salt. To keep your horse thriving in summer's hottest, most humid months, make sure he has access to a salt/mineral block. Also, if your horse is working particularly hard, or he's not interested in the salt block, consider supplementing his food with a horse electrolyte product. Beware, though, that it is possible to feed too much salt and electrolytes.
If you're supplementing your horse's feed, consider these amounts:
- 1-2 ounces of salt per day.
- For horses that are under normal to slightly more intense work, feed no more than 2 ounces of electrolytes per day. Feed more if your horse is in intense work.
- Feed supplements in the feed, not in the water.