A quick word on Salts
First up, the importance of adding salt separately into the feedbowl
Salt is a crystalline mineral made of two elements, sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl).
Sodium and chlorine are essential for your body, as they help your brain and nerves send electrical impulses.
It's essential to feed salt in the diet for so many important reasons. Apart from keeping body fluids in balance, it also provides essential natural electrolytes which play a key role in normal nerve/muscle function and blood sodium levels, by helping the brain and nerves send electrical impulses. Sodium is also needed to balance potassium levels, both in grass and in the body, especially in hot weather.
Sodium and chloride (salt) are the major electrolytes lost in sweat, followed by potassium, so we need to feed around 20-25g salt daily to cover a baseline requirement. If you prefer to feed electrolytes, make sure this amount of salt is included in the composition.
Salt also encourages drinking water; obviously for summer hydration, and for winter too - horses drink far less water in winter so we need to help encourage them to do so.
However, as the biochemist team at Alltech told us, the problem with blending salt into a mineral/vitamin mix is that sodium denatures much of the composition because it attracts moisture, so a mineral mix blended with salt loses its essential structure, which also shortens the shelf-life. We therefore don't include salt in our EquiVita range.
This means you need to add your own. Add a generous heaped tablespoon of salt into the feedbowl, double if in hard work or sweating. We do a range of certified unrefined sea salts, certified by the Soil Association, as well as Himalayan rock salts, available in bulk at great rates.
Will supermarket table-salt be okay?
I'm often asked this. Personally I don't touch the stuff as it's been processed to within an inch of its life, had anti-caking agents and iodine added to it, and bleached to make it pearly-white.
These days there's also the risk of toxic pollutants in processed salt such as plastic microparticles, so in my humble opinion, it's best to avoid processed salt and use natural, unprocessed salt. To put your mind at rest, our natural unrefined Sea Salt from the Red Sea is certified by the Soil Association as organic, human-grade and unpolluted.
Natural salt is a nutritional goldmine, especially Himalayan rock salt, which makes it a tad more pricey than natural sea salt.
When it comes to our horses, the subject of 'higher iron in rock salt' seems to be a death-knell for Himalayan Salt, so let's try to dispel this concern.
Ultimately remember we’re talking ‘trace’ mineral levels of the entire composition - we’re talking the tiniest ppm levels (parts per million), with the Fe (iron) in rock salt coming in at around 35 ppm. The other fact of note is that rock salt is 97.41% NaCl (sodium chloride) so all the other nutrients form just 2.59%, which kind of puts it all in perspective.
PS - A study I read determined the mineral content of different types of salt, specifically table salt, Maldon salt (a typical sea salt), Himalayan salt and Celtic salt.
- the table salt and Maldon's iron reading was <0.01%
- Celtic at <0.014% (also the lowest sodium amount)
- Himalayan came in at <0.0004%.
Remember, though, that these are trace amounts. For example, the 0.3% content of magnesium for Celtic salt implies that in human terms we'd need to eat 100-grams of salt to reach the RDA! Food for thought indeed ...