Natural Horse World

What To Do When Horses Don’t Like Minerals

By Carol Layton of Balanced Equine.Flehem response to feed

It’s always a relief when owners say their horses accept the minerals straight away but it is fairly common that it doesn’t work that way.

Essentially you have to re-educate your horse’s palate and this can take time in some horses.

Here is where you need to persevere, it may take some time to build up to the recommended amounts but it will pay off in the long run, especially for horses that are use to high sugar/fat feeds.
Go back to basics and start with no salt, no minerals and see if your horse will eat the main feed ingredients. Then add a pinch of minerals, no more than that and see if your horse will eat the feed.

I’d keep it that way for 2 or more weeks, however long it takes for your horse to become accustomed to the taste. Then try increasing them gradually over a period of a week for each increase until you reach the optimum dose and they should be fine from then on.  If you stop feeding them for a while you may have to start again with a reduced dose.
Some people syringe the minerals in! That’s pretty extreme, hopefully you won’t have to do that.

Here are some suggestions for disguising minerals:

For non sugar sensitive/insulin resistant IR horses, you could use molasses or something your horse finds particularly palatable like copra or wheat bran and then gradually reduce. It may take some trial and error to find the right feed/additive. Hopefully down the track you can wean them off it. You should be able to.

Another suggestion some have found helpful is beet root powder, [beta (beet) vulgaris (common) rubra (red), obtainable from herb sellers though be aware that red root powder is not the same thing, (Caenothusamericanus), it’s not known to be harmful but certainly isn’t palatable.

Great suggestions here too:

"Where's the good stuff?"
“Where’s the good stuff?”

Mineral licks may seem like a good alternative but they always contain something to make the mineral more palatable whether that be molasses or copra or something high in sugar or fat. You can’t rely on your horse taking sufficient minerals from a mineral lick on a day to day basis.

The bottom line is that minerals are NOT palatable, especially those in their basic form with no additives like my Balanced Equine Mixes.
Horses need time to adjust to the flavour. It can take perseverance but if the time is taken, it will happen and your horse will benefit in the long run.

Humphrey shows a much darker, shinier coat after feeding a Balanced Equine mineral mix.
Humphrey shows a much darker, shinier coat after feeding a Balanced Equine mineral mix.

4 thoughts on “What To Do When Horses Don’t Like Minerals”

  1. I mix my minerals with
    1/2 cup of soaked beet pulp (without molassas)
    1/2 cup of soaked timothy balanced hay cubes
    2 ounces of milled flax seed
    salt and vitamin E (amount depends on the size of the horse)
    They get the above twice a day. My horses lick the tubs clean
    If I am starting a horse out I might add a bit of a processed feed just in the beginning (something that is low sugar/starch) Usually use what the horse is used to and slowly wean him off the processed stuff. Water and Forage available 24/7

    1. Cynthia

      Thanks for the suggestions Susan – sounds like a good recipe 🙂

  2. Heidi Piltz

    My horse gobbles this up:

    1/2 cup minerals
    1/2 cup milled flaxseed
    1/2 cup “timothy/alfalfa powder”
    1 cup water

    I let this sit for ten minutes or so, and she gobbles it up. She gets this twice a day.
    The hay/alfalfa powder is what’s left at the bottom of a bag of hay cubes, which I save for this purpose. That way the is no waste at all.
    Just flax and minerals also works.

    1. Cynthia

      Thanks for the recipe Heidi – I guess those who don’t use hay cubes could use a little more alfalfa (we call it lucerne in Australia) chaff instead.
      Glad to her this works for you – and the ground flaxseed (linseed) is a nice addition to any horse’s diet.

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