What Kind of Salt?

Ponies hitting the salt

Like many places, we’re having a run of hot sunny weather.  The ponies are hitting the salt really hard.  My ponies have access to three different kinds of salt, and I’m always fascinated by which one they choose.  In this weather the straight trace mineral salt isn’t the first choice. 

In addition to the straight trace mineral salt, there are two different calcium/phosphorus blends that are salt-regulated.  It is these mixes that the ponies are choosing first during this weather.  I can always tell when they’ve been in the minerals, because they have white lips or white smudges on their bodies.  (The straight salt doesn’t leave these telltale signs.) 

My husband and I find we’re drawn to salty foods when the weather is hot.  The other day we opened a bag of peanuts.  It was a new brand to us, and we both commented on how good they tasted compared to the brand we usually buy.  When I looked at the ingredient list, I saw sea salt listed.  We’ve found that before; not all salts are created equal.  Sea salt usually tastes better.

In this weather, the ponies are hitting the water hard as well as the salt.  Tonight when we went to pasture to fill the stock tank, none of the six ponies were in view.  I called to them, and it warmed my heart to have the herd come running, with my 24-year-old Sleddale Rose Beauty leading the way.  The ponies were all full of spirit; the temperature had dropped slightly and the sun had gone behind some thin clouds, and they all seemed to appreciate the change.  So did I.

When the weather isn’t quite as extreme as it is now, the ponies still generally prefer the mineral mixes over the trace mineral salt, just not in such voracious quantities.  I do have a few ponies, though, that prefer the trace mineral salt more than the rest of the herd.  I love providing minerals and salt in a segmented way.  It lets each pony choose what they need when they need it.  And it lets me track what kind of salt they prefer when, since I never tire of observing my ponies.  (For a veterinarian’s endorsement of the multiple salt & mineral strategy, click here.)

© Jenifer Morrissey, 2011

About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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