Top Tips Feeding Electrolytes

Choosing whether your horse needs electrolytes added to their diet can be confusing. There is so much information on the science behind feeding them so we have outlined our top tips below.

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes consist of salts and minerals that are also found in the bloodstream. They play a very important part in the nervous system and help you stay hydrated (especially on those hot and sweaty days).

The five major electrolytes: sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium; are key nutrients required for nerve and muscle function, maintenance of normal hydration and normal function of the digestive system, kidneys, lungs and heart.

If your horse is lacking electrolytes, the low intake can lead to muscle problems and poor performance, therefore horses in work require extra electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat, faeces and urine.

Is your horse getting the electrolytes they need?

Unsure, not to worry we’ve got you. Have a look at some of our top tips with peace of mind info on the matter.

How do I know if I need to feed my horse them?

Is my horse dehydrated?
Is my horse dehydrated? Carry out a pinch test.

The Pinch Test

One very effective way of assessing whether your horse is lacking in electrolytes.

Never Fear – the pinch test is not as harsh as it sounds. This simply assesses the hydration of your horse by a simple pinch of some skin over the shoulder, depending on how quickly the skin snatches back to its normal resting position to determine how hydrated the horse is.

This can work for most living species as well didn’t you know!

 

 

 

How much work is your horse doing?

When feeding electrolytes, it will depend on how much or how little work is being carried out. It would be advised to start introducing electrolytes at the beginning of training, say for competition or even an endurance ride. This way your horse will be less likely to refuse it if only supplied on the big day.

The harder the horse works, the hotter the horse gets. The longer a horse works and the warmer the weather, the more sweat and therefore the more electrolytes a horse will lose.  One litre of horse sweat contains around 3.5g of sodium, 6g of chloride, 1.2g of potassium and 0.1g of calcium. A horse can easily lose 5 litres of sweat each hour on a normal day at a moderate pace which equates to the loss of around 50g of electrolytes. This amount would not be replaced by the horses’ normal daily hay and hard feed alone. Data source: Science Supplements

As always, clean and fresh water should be readily available to your horse and offered when can, even more so when the sun is beaming. Electrolytes offer enhanced recovery when your horse is losing bodily fluids rapidly.

Our Top Electrolytes

naf liquid electrolytes
NAF Liquid Electrolytes

NAF Liquid Electrolytes 1lt

Electro Lytes is an easy to use liquid designed to replace the four essential body salts which may be lost through exercise, sweating or during hot weather.

Simply add to feed or dissolve in drinking water.

We love these for their simplicity to use.

 

 

 

 

 

Science Supplements complete electrolytes
Science Supplements Complete Electrolytes

 

Science Supplements Complete Electrolytes

Complete Electrolytes is a palatable, fully balanced electrolyte that is gentle on the stomach and replaces electrolytes in proportion to the amounts lost during exercise. Sub-optimal electrolyte intake is a frequent cause of poor performance in competition horses. Palatability problems with ordinary electrolytes can limit feed and supplement intake, cause irritation of the stomach and intestine, and has also been shown to irritate or cause gastric ulceration in horses.

Containing the 5 key electrolytes sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium with MicroencapsulationTechnology means it dissolves in the small intestine where electrolyte uptake is optimal, and is both palatable and gentle on the stomach unlike ordinary electrolytes.

 

 

Need more advice?

Here at Ingatestone Saddlery, we offer multiple different brands of electrolytes for your horse and pony. Why not pop in or give us a call and speak to one of our fully trained staff members, they will be able to offer advice and answer any questions you wish to ask. We’re all crazy about horses here. Contact us.

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