You are more likely surprised to see the red salt block on the junk list, but here is the reason why I do not use this product, despite that some veterinarians recommend it. The salt and mineral combinations present certain dilemma and in some cases it caused the horse to get very ill from it. On several occasions during my travels and experiences I have come across horses that ate the entire small salt block within a day. In some instances the horses got very ill, legs were stocked up, they did not want to eat and appeared very lethargic. No veterinarian was called, since the reason for their ailment was obvious, though the horse owners did not know what was wrong with the horse. Once when the mineral salt block was removed, the horses were back to normal within two or three days. The same horses did not even touch the white salt block, once when it was given to them after they got better. The problem with the mineral and salt combo is fairly simple. A particular horse either likes the taste of it or he has some need for some of the minerals that are in the salt block, other than the sodium.
In any case, the horse will eat or lick excessively the salt block and overdoses him self on sodium, which can have severe side effects. Though I have not seen any horse die from it, some of them looked like they were having “near-death“ experience.
All in all, it is best if the horse receives only a white salt block. In addition the provision of minerals is usually included in the so-called balanced horse feeds. On the other hand a decent hay mixture will provide all the mineral needs of the horse in most cases. The lack of minerals is detrimental as much as excess; hence the hay is truly the balanced food for horses. Check our feeding page on more. One should abstain from force-feeding salt (adding it into the feed), only when adding it to the bran mash once or twice per week. Otherwise the white salt block should be made accessible to the horse for a free choice of salt intake.