Most horses that get a daily feed will already be receiving a well balanced diet. However, there can be times when you want to supplement your horse’s diet. For instance, many horses and ponies do not require a hard feed, living well off a forage-only diet. These horses may well be lacking vitamins and minerals in their diet. Or perhaps your horse does get a feed, but much less than the recommended amount. In these cases a horse lick is a great way to supplement the diet. There are palatable sweetened licks but also sugar free licks for those horses who need no sweetening!
Horse licks for the floor, wall and field
There are different types of horse lick. Some are designed to be used in the stable. Many can be left in the plastic container and placed on the floor of the stable, which is the natural feeding position for a horse. There are also licks which hook over the stable door and others are designed to be mounted on the wall. Wherever you place them, it is likely that an inquisitive or greedy horse will find it easily. Those that sit on the floor can rapidly fill up with bits of hay etc and look unappetising to us humans, but our equine friends seem not to care in the least. There are also much larger versions of many horse licks, that you can leave in the field which are ideal for horses that live out and do not spend any time stabled.
As well as licks to supplement dietary deficiencies, salt licks are very popular with many horses. As a horse sweats, it loses a lot of salt, which can cause the horse to seek out salt in its diet. Nowadays, owners are much more aware of the importance of replacing lost electrolytes in hard working horses. Leave a salt lick available for your horse, he will use it if he feels the need.
Garlic is commonly added to horses’ feeds. In winter, it gives the respiratory system a real boost, helping to counteract the effects of the dust and fungal spores found in barns. In summer, garlic is worth its weight in gold because horses fed garlic are less attractive to flies and midges. It is interesting to note that feeding garlic to your horse won’t give it bad breath – they metabolise garlic very differently to humans and it actually sweetens their breath!