Ark Country Store

Horse Electrolytes

horse electrolytesWhy does you need to incorporate horse electrolytes to your feed? When feeding your horse, the goal is to provide adequate fuel for energy expenditure, replenish nutrients required for muscle function and repair, and support optimal health through a balanced diet. Horse Electrolytes can help aid in complete nutrition for your horse. Ark Country Store offers several electrolyte options in both a pelleted and power supplement from Farnam and Purina.

Electrolytes are minerals dissolved in the blood and tissues of the body, which carry a positive or negative charge and can bind with another ion to make a “salt”. They help to preserve the correct balance of fluids in the body’s cells and are involved in muscle function and the processing of wastes. Deficiencies cause dehydration and impaired performance.

The main electrolytes are:

Sodium (Na)
Chloride (Cl)
Potassium (K)
Magnesium (Mg)
Calcium (Ca)

Electrolytes are lost daily through sweating, in urine and feces. These losses can normally be replaced in the diet. The horse relies on sweating to control body temperature during exercise and it is generally accepted that 90% of a horse’s weight loss after exercise is due to sweating. It is important that this weight loss is monitored and the fluid and electrolyte losses replaced, otherwise poor performance will result.

During periods of exertion such as competition and training, electrolyte losses can be considerable, particularly during hot weather. Even under normal exercise conditions, a 500kg horse could lose 10 liters of sweat during two hours of exercise. This sweat would contain 60g of Chloride, which represents 10% of the total Chloride in the body.

Signs of electrolyte deficiency include:

Dull coat
Sunken eyes
Poor performance
Dark urine
Providing electrolytes for horses

The horse’s body cannot retain water without the presence of electrolytes, so simply offering water after exercise will not rehydrate your horse. Electrolytes should be added to either the water or the feed.

Adding electrolytes to water to form an isotonic solution (a solution that contain the same electrolyte concentrations as that of the body fluids) will ensure that both fluid and electrolyte losses are replenished and the horse becomes quickly rehydrated. However, after prolonged sweating it will take several days of electrolyte supplementation to completely replenish losses.