Salt is something I have started adding to both my horses feed since my mare Cheyenne suffered an impaction colic on July 6, 2015. With winter upon us, we know how important it is that our horses drink water. This simple little teaspoon of table salt might just do the trick to encourage your horse to drink more through winter and all seasons.
It was a beautiful 4th of July day when Cheyenne and I were invited on a fabulous trail ride a few miles away from our barn with 5 other friends. It was warm out, mid 80’s, and just a simple walk, when I noticed Cheyenne seemed to be sweating more than normal and seemed winded. In horse terms- she just seemed off. The day before, hay was delivered to my barn. Cheyenne has 24 hour access to grass pastures, but she also enjoys her hay. I gave her some flakes of hay and she never moved from the spot. It is likely she never took a drink the entire time eating hay and due to the hot temperature outside she was sweating, causing her to become dehydrated. The day after the ride I noticed significantly less manure piles in Cheyenne’s pasture. This is important for every horse owner to be aware of. What is the normal amount of manure for their horse? I continued to monitor Cheyenne that whole day as I was suspecting an issue. Cheyenne had no interest in food, totally unlike her, and she seemed lethargic. She was not laying down, or pawing, or showing other colic symptoms. The next day there were no piles of manure, so Cheyenne was taken to my veterinarian for impaction colic treatment. She did great as I had caught the issue fast, but she still needed to be tubed. I learned that this mare needs a teaspoon of salt added to her feed to encourage her to drink year-round. Even with a fresh water trough and salt and mineral blocks in her stall, she doesn’t hydrate properly for her own good.