Electrolytes: Readers Split on Supplementing Horses' Water

More than 850 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Do you supplement your horse's diet with electrolytes?"

results of poll on supplementing with electrolytes

Results were as follows:

  • No: 58.50% (499)
  • Yes: 41.50% (354)

Readers shared their use of electrolytes in the comments below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

Look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!


  • I add table salt as the only electrolyte supplement.
  • only because i am not sure she needs it. Here in SE ID. winter you can't work the horse.
  • When they are competing or shipping
  • Their feed and other supplements contain sufficient electrolytes for the work they do
  • salt only - should be aware that other supplements the horse gets may add up to too much of somehti
  • During the summer months when they are getting worked hard.
  • horses make their own like humans unless worked very hard to heavy sweat, often, then i might suppl
  • mostly in the summer but when ever I work my horses hard and they sweat
  • i feed salt topically to encourage water consumption
  • Ony when trail riding in hot, humid weather.
  • in the summer
  • It's winter in Wisconsin so I don't ride too much right now.
  • So Fl, they get more in the winter than the summer!
  • yes but not 100% of the time. We use it on/off year round.
  • will supplement as needed: hot weather, hard work
  • My horses do not drink enough water in the winter. My big gelding has colicked because of this.
  • Somtimes when it's called for!
  • at times, when it gets really hot in the summer and we are traveling or riding alot..
  • when competing, and at times in the winter to encourage drinking
  • Salt/Minerals free choice, supplement in stress situations
  • in summer months only
  • Only supplement if doing endurance rides over 25 miles.
  • only if she sweats alot, especially in the summer over 100 degree heat
  • I add 1 oz. salt to their feed.
  • I only give electrolites when they work really hard and sweat that white foamy kind of sweat.
  • They tend to drink more water with electrolytes in it
  • I only supplement with electrolytes when we are riding har+ hrs in the summer
  • Unless he's being ridden hard and often
  • we give them electrolytes in the hot weather and before and during shows
  • 1 oz salt/day
  • Being in Florida - absolutely!
  • Normally during the hot months when the horses sweat.
  • I add salt to her daily feed
  • Electrolyte Gold is the best
  • just a salt block, free choice.
  • during competition I give electrolytes
  • in the summer heat, >100 degrees
  • supplements contain electrolytes also
  • only suring summer competition
  • just keep trace mineral salt blocks in corrals
  • When the weather warms up.
  • only in extreme heat or during competitions
  • I add iodized salt daily to their feed with about 1 cup of water.
  • We actually just add table salt. Do not need to add the sugar that is in electrolytes.
  • I monitor, as needed, both in very cold weather, and very hot humid weather here in OK
  • Summertime only
  • I wish I could afford it right now. But I will definitely add it to his diet this spring/summer
  • When I travel from our northern state to southern states for trail rides, I frequently add them.
  • When needed
  • Only in the summer - really hot weather
  • We live in FL and we notice that when we do not use electros horses sweat
  • But not regularly, only when in work
  • Only if prescribed by the vet
  • Especially if being worked hard and definitely in winter to aid in water intake.
  • When needed due to riding in heat and/or water not available on the trail.
  • When I think they may not be drinking enough
  • as indicated by a drop in water consumption
  • every day I give the salt/lite salt combo, about 1-2 tbls
  • Yes, only in summer. Am in Phoenix, horse drinks up to 40 gals a day!
  • No they get a balanced to pasture mineral supplement daily.
  • When the weather is extremely hot.
  • During very hot and very cold seasons
  • only during extenuating circumstances; illness, dehydration, etc.
  • endurance riding
  • half dose in winter to encourage drinking and full dose in summer-we are in AZ
  • Only when doing hard riding in summer
  • Only during the summer when we are competing
  • During the hot summer months only
  • I don't add electrolytes to feed but put salt blocks in stalls.
  • Only after very heavy exercise.
  • in the summer months
  • only when trailering and when it is hot and riding.
  • When riding in hot weather only
  • No, I use Redmon salt in his feed. Encourages drinking and provides trace minerals. Great stuff!
  • in the very hot weather if sweating a lot
  • platiumun performance and or table salt
  • Only if working harder.i.e.camping we ride 2Xday, in PM for better water intake
  • Like to have them when travelling, and also in first aid supply cupboard.
  • only when extremly hot, or working extra
  • I only use them when hauling or riding in hot weather.
  • MY HORSES DRINK WATER ON THERE OWN
  • Salt block in the bucket year-round + electrolytes in summer. Thankfully, I have good drinkers.
  • During the warmer months and/or periods of heavy training
  • Not regularly, but when trail riding in hot weather.
  • Seems alot of the current thinking is that they aren't needed, but old habits..
  • Endurance in the South requires electrolytes. Also during a cold snap so they will drink more.
  • Not worked hard enough to need replenishing.
  • My mare has two salt licks and unlimited access to a heated water source
  • His work is not sufficiently strenuous to require supplemental electrolytes.
  • Only if weather and ride demand additional salt and minerals
  • Sometimes
  • Only when traveling long distances in horse trailer or on long rides during hot weather
  • Only sometimes
  • Just pets-no need
  • Electrolytes in the summer, and free choice mineral block year round
  • I use Redmond Rock. It has 60 plus minerals.
  • during the warm months
  • Only during the summer or when trailering
  • In summer in hard work and winter when decreased water intake.
  • especially when sweaty from a workout or trailride
  • just salt blocks
  • Only when hauling across country.
  • Only after summer workouts
  • Only when at fair if it's hot and they decr water intake
  • i just throw in mineral block in the paddock. its the salt that i want them to get.
  • Everything I have ever read (except ads) says supplements are unnecessary for a well-fed horse,
  • I have no need at this point in time.
  • not every day when worked in hot weather
  • But I do have 12:12 mineral mix and salt block available.
  • only when working hard and long put it in jello and they eat it right up
  • I use an all natural electrlyte like Replenish
  • My horses aren't worked that hard.
  • In hot weather; and/or if the horse is sweating a lot.
  • I compete in endurance competions
  • but only when hot Texas weather or work load warrants using them.
  • Only at Endurance rides at home we feed loose salt
  • Keeps my 30 yr old horse drinking to prevent impaction
  • We do give our racehorses electrolytes, but do not give any on the farm.
  • only in stressful high heat/ competition situations
  • only in warm weather
  • In the summer only when they really swet.
  • Only if very hot and the workout is extreme.
  • Only during heavy work or hot summer months.
  • i would if they needed them, but they rarely work hard enough to need them.
  • salt block year round, electrolytes in summer heat when worked hard
  • Only in the summer
  • Only on a "as needed basis".
  • I only have to use them in the summer when they are working hard and it's hot out.
  • I use electrolytes and/or trace mineral salt along with a salt block
  • I add table salt to their daily grain rations.
  • I do provide a salt block free choice at all times.
  • I don't ride my horse very hard. Wkly lesson, practice & twice wkly on a trail.
  • usually in hot weather or after strenuous excercise
  • Sometimes in the sumer if it is very hot and he has to work very hard.
  • Not on a regular basis, only when it's hot & I'm competing
  • provide salt block
  • But they do get loose salt added to oats everyday, winter and summer.
  • Absolutely - In Arizona
  • Use electrolytes during warm weather months.
  • On very hot days or very strenuous excercise
  • in the winter, to encourage water consumption in cold weather
  • Only in the hot summer months.
  • my horse has a nutritionist
  • Yes, i use electrolytes year round.
  • on occasion during the summer. Usually give them 16/8 mineral and offer it free-range
  • During spring,summer and fall months, when my horses are very active.
  • not necessary for the amount of exercise and climate
  • especially through the summer
  • Only when very hot and horses sweating
  • Year round. Makes me feel better with my horse drinking well
  • in the dead heat of summer
  • Use during competition (competitive trail riding) if weather warrants; just access to salt at home
  • Yes but only if sweating heavily 2 hours or more. Otherwise I add 2 tblsps plain salt to grain
  • just sodium chloride sometimes potassium if I think he might be heading for a problem with colic
  • only when showing or performing in hot weather
  • Only when she is working hard and it's very hot.
  • ONLY WHEN SHOWING IN SUMMER
  • But only when he loses an extreme amount of sweat
  • Not unless they are working really hard in hot weather .
  • ONLY WHEN SHE WORKS HARD, AND IT IS HOT
  • when competing and give loose sea salt at home
  • Predominently for travelling and summer work, but occasionally in winter to encourage water consumpt
  • I live in GA, and give all horses a pinch year round to encourage adequate intake
  • We do use VitaPlus daily.
  • My horse always has access to salt and mineral blocks both in his stall and in the pasture.
  • I normally provide them based on temperature and activity levels, not all the time.
  • Only in the summer months.
  • When horses are worked in hot humid weather and before and during travel we supplement electrolytes.
  • amount goes down in winter but do this year-around!
  • Use during hot summer months
  • VERY rarely. Only if worked extremely hard and has sweat a lot.
  • Typically only after exercise
  • We use Foxden Tractgard daily
  • We soak thier hay in it in the summer months here in Florida
  • mostly during the summer and during the winter if I see they are not drinking enough water.
  • my mules don't work that hard:)
  • we have thbds.racing, so we feed electrolytes daily.
  • orange flavor
  • in hot weather
  • only when necessary -- as in very heavy work on a hot day
  • Mostly in summer when he's sweating a lot.
  • When the weather either changes up or down 15 to 20 degrees, they are supplemented with electrolytes
  • PROVIDED FREE CHOICE PLAIN WHITE SALT BLOCK ACCESS AT ALL TIMES.
  • Yes, during working periods
  • During summer competition
  • hard work & hot weather or lots of snow to encourage drinking
  • Only during intense exercise
  • In frigid winter temps, I give them a half tsp loose salt w/their grain.
  • Only when the weather is really hot and I want my horse to drink more H2O.
  • Yes, they get Gatoraide after a workout & as a noon drink when there is a long period of extreme cold
  • I live in a warm climate and my horse works hard so I supplement to make sure she gets her salt.
  • only when extra is needed, like hot summer hard workouts.
  • They have salt and minerals available.
  • Only when I plan a fairly strenuous trail ride and know there will be water on the trail
  • specifically before & during a big trip
  • I live in Florida, and use electrolytes during the summertime.
  • Occasionally. Depends on the circumstances, stress or work load for the horses.
  • If he sweats when he works or he's at an event, he gets electrolytes.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners