Himalayan Salt for my Horses, Good or Bad?!

Himalayan Salt for my Horses, Good or Bad?!
A recent post that I shared in my Hearts of Horses group about the importance of salt for our horses especially in hot weather, opened a discussion on the use of Himalayan salt.  It got me wondering…so I did a little research.

The only mineral which a horse has a taste for is salt.   In situations where an animal is deprived or deficient, they will seek it out readily.  As caregivers for our horses, it is critical that we provide some form of salt, as many functions of the body depend upon it.

Some of these critical functions are…
  • Heart contraction
  • Intestinal movement and fluid balance
  • Absorption of  nutrients in the gut
  • Muscle contraction
  • Nerve function
  • PH balance
  • Keeping the body hydrated
  • An averaged size horse, in cool weather, needs a minimum of 1 oz per day of salt. 2-4 oz for that same horse in hot weather.
Legend has it that the salt beds of Pakistan were discovered by Alexander the Great’s horse, Bucephalus, who stopped to paw and have a lick!  Side note: Bucephalus died in battle in that area and a town was later named after him.

Much of the Himalayan salt we purchase originates from an area of hills in Pakistan known as the “salt range” which is hundreds of miles away from the Himalayan Mountains.  The hills are a remnant of a lagoon that existed 600 million years ago.

This Himalayan salt does contain minerals, but only in very minute amounts.  Such minerals as magnesium, zinc, calcium and even iron.  Again, they contain only very minute amounts that would not be enough to consider as a supplement for your horse.

The fact that Himalayan salt is very hard, in chunk form, your horse would not be able to bite it.  Even with steady licking, they would not be able to consume the minimum needed on a daily basis especially in hot weather!  However, the salt chunk is resistant to rain so hanging it for your horse, in or out of the stall/barn area would be a great relief and/or distraction during a confinement situation.

The fact that it is salt, means that it does encourage your horse to drink more water.  This is always a good thing as approximately 70% the body is water and many body functions also require it!

There is one very important mineral that you cannot get from Himalayan salt though and that is iodine.  Iodine is necessary for healthy thyroid function.  The thyroid regulates hormones and is easily thrown out of balance by deficiency and/or toxins that are in many horse care products.   Granulated iodized white salt covers your bases on this one.  Or if you feed a kelp product your horse is probably already receiving their necessary amount of iodine.

While the benefits and popularity of the Himalayan salt make it seem terrific for your horse, the bottom line is… it is safe and ok for your horse.  It can even be included in the salt/mineral area of your track set up.  It would also be beneficial as a relief and distraction for a confined horse.
The big question you want to ask yourself is… are my horses getting their minimum daily requirements for salt?  The easiest way for them to get this is by providing a granulated salt, either in their feed or free choice in their living space as they generally cannot take in enough by licking a block.

Are you interested in more helpful information for caring for your horses?  Join the community I mentioned, The Hearts of Horses; Empowering Through Holistic Care and be sure to look through the GUIDE section at the top of the page for all kinds of helpful holistic care topics!
All the Best,