Electrolytes, fluid and cooling down – and the importance of these

When horses work and their muscles burn off energy, 80% are converted to heat while the last 20% are converted to mechanical energy which are used for muscle contraction etc.

If the horse isn’t able to cool itself down again, a life threatening situation would occur. Working for one hour increases the body temperature of the horse by approximately 15 degrees. It’s therefore important that the cooling system of the horse is working.

The cooling down happens by evaporation from the surface of the skin of the horse, exhalation and direct cooling of the skin (this function only works if the temperature in the surroundings are lower than the body temperature of the horse).

When horses sweat, not only do they lose water, but also important minerals within the sweat. The most important ones are sodium, calcium and magnesium which are excreted in smaller amounts.

Missing fluids and electrolytes give a lower performance from horses. Some of the indications that the horse are lacking fluids/electrolytes, are decreased concentration, symptoms of nervousness, increased tiredness, weaker muscles, exhaustion, nerve disorders etc.

Horse working regularly should get electrolytes in their food in measured amounts daily, and not just on days in which they work harder, the weather is warmer or some days in advance of a competition.

Did you know that? ✔️ Table salt is a mix of two electrolytes, sodium and chloride (NaCl) ✔️ Electrolytes consist of sodium (Na), Chloride (Cl), Potassium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) ✔️ A horse consist of approximately 65% vand which means that a horse at 550 kg contains more than 350 litres of water. ✔️ Always remember to give the horse free access to water, both in the fold and in the stable. ✔️ A horse typically drink 5-10% of its own bodyweight each day, and even more on a hot summer day. ✔️ Horses, in regular training, should get electrolytes daily in their fodder, in measured amounts and not only on the days in which the horse trains harder, ord in the days before a competition. ✔️ Salt stones are not a reliable source for salt for the horse. Some horses love the taste of salt and eat too much salt which is not optimal. Other horses do not like the taste of salt, and get too little salt as a result.

At Urtefarm, we have two variants of electrolytes; Electrolyte treats and Herbolyt which is a tasteful and concentrated electrolyte mixture with apple, mint and honey for a good taste.

Read more about Urtefarm’s electrolyte treats here: https://urtefarm.dk/vare/electrolyte-treats/

Read more about Urtefarm Herbolyt here:  https://urtefarm.dk/vare/herbolyt/