- [About licks] (# licks)
- [Mineral blocks compared] (# compare)
- [Conclusion] (# conclusion)
- [Frequently Asked Questions] (# faq)
- [citations] (# sources)
- [The lick stone based on Dutch soil] (# pnminerals)
Suppose there are 400,000 horses in the Netherlands, and that they consume an average of 20 grams of lick per day. Then in the Netherlands almost 3 million kilos of lick stones are eaten every year. So it is high time to consider the composition of lick stones. We are going to do a number of calculations on this page, do you keep your calculator at hand?
With 3 million kilos of lick stones per year in our small frog country alone, you can say that licks are a nice commodity. Manufacturers therefore do their best to obtain as large a share of the market as possible. Licks are presented as a product with a sophisticated composition that has been preceded by years of research. In addition, there is a current that likes to emphasize the natural and import licks from places that appeal to the imagination such as the Himalayas.
You would expect that all the research ultimately led to one optimal composition for the lick stone, and that all licks look just as much alike as today's compact family cars, which also look so much alike because there are only & eacute; & eacute; n formula is the most ideal. But nothing could be further from the truth: the licks differ significantly from each other, and as you will see below, there is actually not a single lick that is really ideal for horses that receive a natural diet consisting of nothing more than grass or hay.
* Update: Three years after writing this article, we found a manufacturer who wanted to make the ideal lick for us. [Read more here] (* pnminerals). *
When we talk about sodium, we don't really mean pure sodium. Pure sodium is unsuitable for consumption, to say the least: in contact with oxygen it spontaneously catches fire, and in contact with saliva it explodes.
Sodium is generally consumed as a compound with chlorine. Chlorine is not a sweetheart either: in the First World War it was used as poison gas. But the amazing thing is that the connection between sodium and chlorine produces the very stable sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is the chemical name for ... table salt!
The atomic weight of sodium is 11, the atomic weight of chlorine is 17. If you convert this to percentages, the sodium accounts for 39% of the weight of table salt. The sodium content of a lick stone can therefore never exceed 39%. In most licks the percentage of sodium is 38%. The remainder is chlorine, and then there is only one percent left for the trace minerals and any additives.
Before we can assess the various lick stones, we first have to determine what the purpose of the lick stone is. Anyone who does some calculations (see our [Nutritional calculator] (* food calculator)) will soon see that the average Dutch pasture can meet the horse's mineral needs perfectly. With & eacute; & eacute; one exception: Sodium. It is still just when the horse does not work and hardly sweats, but in all other cases the average pasture contains far too little sodium, which is why you should always offer a horse a lick. In fact, a lick that contains only sodium compounds could be enough, but a lick stone can be very useful to immediately offer some extra minerals. We call such a lick a mineral block.
You may be wondering why we don't just sprinkle sodium on the horse's food. The reason is that the horse's sodium requirement is very individual. There is no such thing as a "default value" for sodium: it is highly dependent on muscle work, perspiration and kidney secretion. If we fed horses a standard value of sodium, one horse could become seriously deficient, while another horse would get too high blood pressure due to the sodium surplus. Horses must therefore be able to absorb sodium entirely according to individual needs, which is perfect when your horse has access to a lick stone.
Why does a horse lick a lick?
For horses, sodium is always a bit of a concern, which is why nature has ensured that horses actively look for "something salty" as soon as the sodium level threatens to become too low. It's this programmed craving for sodium that puts horses on a lick don't lick. Once the horse has received enough sodium, the need for a salty taste disappears, and the horse stops licking or even dislikes salty things.
People are programmed the same way. Those who have too little sodium get a lot of appetite for salty foods, those who have enough sodium will prefer to sprinkle a little less salt on their food. However, there is a catch: When you hide the salt in a food that is very tasty (such as salty licorice) then you are inclined to eat it, even if you have already consumed more than enough sodium. In this case, the automatic limitation no longer works. Why we tell this? Because with horses, the same applies: Craft an apple-flavored lick together, or put a pot of molasses on top, and the horse will eagerly use the stone, and ingest way too much salt. The horse no longer licks the stone to supplement its sodium deficiency, but because of the high candy content of the stone. * A lick stone should therefore have a neutral taste. *
Please note: a horse only licks a lick to satisfy its sodium requirement. There are no indications that a horse can also detect trace elements. It is therefore easy to give a horse an overdose of a certain mineral when this mineral is hidden in too large amounts in the mineral block.
In drawing up our requirements and assessing the licks, we have assumed that they apply to horses that receive natural nutrition: so only grass and / or hay, but no grain products or unnecessary supplements. * (Please also read our page on [Natural Food] (* natural food) for more information.) *
The influence of this on the assessment of the licks is twofold:
- The mineral values of many pure grain products are very skewed, but this can then be somewhat rectified by a lick stone with an equally peculiar mineral ratio. Not surprisingly, the mineral values of grass are fairly good in proportion, so it is best to supplement grass with a mineral block with a fairly neutral composition. A mineral block with skewed mineral ratios therefore produces a skewed result.
- Horses that only receive grass and / or hay will eat much more of this than horses that also receive concentrates. The larger amount of grass and / or hay also means that the horses will receive much more minerals. The horse therefore does not need any further supplementation of most minerals that occur in large quantities in grass. The minerals that are sometimes a bit on the low side in grass, such as copper and zinc, the horse will need earlier. This problem is probably not the case with horses that live on concentrates, but they benefit from an extra supplementation of some minerals that are not found in grains, but in grass. Horses that receive a natural diet may therefore need a different mineral supplement than horses that receive fast food.
We have assumed an average horse, a 500 kg horse that performs light work. For this we have used our [online food calculator] (* food calculator), which uses the target values stated in the literature for its calculations. With the nutrition calculator it is easy to calculate the nutritional needs of your own horse.
Which minerals should * not * be better in a lick?
A mineral block allows us to easily administer some additional minerals to the horse, as long as we are sure that we are not inadvertently giving the horse a surplus. And that is more difficult than it seems.
- Selenium (Se)
- A horse needs between 1 and 3 milligrams of selenium per day, but according to experts more than 5 milligrams per day can cause symptoms of poisoning. Because the use of the lick stone is very individual, it will be impossible to apply just so much with a lick stone that the horse that licks little does not develop a deficiency, and a horse that licks a lot does not incur a dangerous surplus. It is therefore better to administer selenium separately, in an appropriate dose combined with vitamin E, and only when it has been determined that the horse is not already getting enough selenium through its normal diet.
- Iron (Fe) and Manganese (Mn)
- Iron is necessary for the production of red blood cells, but at the same time iron is a very nasty substance for the body: it belongs to the free radicals. It damages cells, causes aging, cardiovascular disease and cancer. An excess of iron prevents the absorption of copper and zinc. The iron that is not needed for the production of red blood cells is therefore undesirable. A horse weighing 500 kilos needs 0.4 grams of iron per day, if that horse eats about 7 kilos of grass or hay per day, it will receive an average of more than 0.6 grams of iron. And we are not even talking about drinking iron (ground) water. The dose of manganese is linked to the dose of iron, so if you are not adding iron, you should not add manganese either.
- Calcium (Ca)
- There is an ideal ratio between Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium. However, it is unfortunately still unknown to many that this ratio is no longer valid when you increase the amount of this trio. The body has a preference for calcium, it is the first to absorb and, after saturation, flushes away the excess along with the not yet absorbed magnesium. If there is too much calcium in the food, magnesium is not or hardly absorbed, even if the theoretical ratio is correct. A 500 kg horse needs about 35 grams of calcium per day; such a horse eats about 8 to 9 kilos of hay, and thus already receives 50 grams of calcium. Adding extra calcium by means of a lick is therefore undesirable, and this applies in particular if the magnesium value is not also boosted to the corresponding level. Read our article on [Magnesium] (* magnesium research) for more information.
Which minerals should * be * better in a lick?
- Sodium (Na)
- Yeah duh, you might think, but some manufacturers have turned the lick into a survival kit, which has reduced the sodium content. For example, with the Horselyx mineral block, the horse will have to eat about half a kilo of the block in order to obtain 10 grams of sodium ...
- Zinc (She)
- Zinc is one of the minerals that can be marginal if you feed your horse exclusively on hay or grass. In the vast majority of cases your horse will not develop a deficiency, but it is nice if your horse gets a little extra through the lick stone. The margin between the minimum requirement and a toxic amount is ample for zinc.
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Your horse will get enough magnesium through grass and hay. But it is now known that an abundance of [Magnesium] (magnesium.htm) helps the body to limit the harmful influence of [fructan-rich grass] (http://www.hoefnatuurlijk.nl/nl/fructaans.html). Magnesium is one of the few minerals that has no harmful effects in larger quantities. It is therefore a consideration to give extra magnesium to horses that live on fructan-rich grass (as is unfortunately common in Western Europe).
- Copper (Cu)
- Copper is one of the minerals that can be marginal if you feed your horse exclusively on hay or grass. In the vast majority of cases your horse will not develop a deficiency, but it is nice if your horse gets a little extra through the lick stone. The margin between the minimum requirement and a toxic amount is ample for copper.
Other stuff that * doesn't * belong in a mineral block
- As we explained earlier on this page, a horse will lick a lick just enough to satisfy its sodium requirement. As soon as you add flavors to it, it quickly becomes candy, and the nicely regulated sodium intake of the horse is no longer available. The horse does not stop licking once it has absorbed enough sodium; the whole bag of salty liquorice must be empty. Good for the manufacturer, but not for the horse.
- Molasses is a favorite ingredient, at least for the manufacturer. It is cheap, you can stick well with it, and horses love it, so the owner will soon come and buy a new stone. We now know that molasses is particularly bad for horses. For his teeth, for his intestinal flora, and for his carbohydrate balance. Moreover, the same drawbacks apply to the addition of molasses as to the use of tasty flavors.
- Products of animal origin
- In recent years, livestock farming has repeatedly shown that it is not such a fantastic idea to provide herbivores with animal-derived food. It should be obvious, but unfortunately there are still manufacturers who use cod liver oil or fish oil in their products, for example. We can have a long discussion on this, but perhaps it is enough to consider that a horse will not soon start eating whales on its own, and that its digestive system and defenses are simply not optimally equipped for this.
- Organic substances
- You can of course add vitamins, proteins, seaweeds, algae, fungal treatments, etc. to a lick. Besides the fact that this misses the mark a bit (is it still a mineral block or is it a complete meal?), Organics are not so well compatible with the way in whichp licks are used. Organic substances are poorly resistant to repeated exposure to moisture (licking!), Sunlight, frost, high temperatures, etc. Not only are the vitamins short-lived, measures will also have to be taken to prevent spoilage by fungi and bacteria. and these measures usually consist of the addition of all kinds of preservatives. It is better to just leave the lick a lick, and provide any other things to the horse in a different way.
- Salts are generally very stable and not perishable. Table salt, for example, does not make any critical demands on the way you store it and cannot go bad. As long as there are no strange things in the lick, preservatives are therefore not necessary. If it does contain preservatives, this is an indication that some peculiar ingredients are hidden in the stone.
Properties of licks
- Organic / Organic
- Don't be fooled. Minerals are by definition not of biological or organic origin. Minerals are the parts that make up our earth. Sand (Silicon) is also a mineral, for example, and what could you imagine with "pure sand of biological or organic origin"? It is possible to link an element to a protein, you then get a chelate form, but these organic bonds are unsuitable for use in licks because they are sensitive to moisture, sunlight, high temperatures, frost, bacteria and fungi. . Therefore only a mineral form is used in lick stones.
- The color of the stones says little about the content. The vast majority of stones consist of at least 99% sodium chloride, which has a white color, and the remaining 1% of trace elements is not enough to give a stone a deep color. The red color of horse licks is simply a food coloring. A colored stone does not necessarily have to be a problem, as long as it is not chosen for that stone because it has such a beautiful color. After all, you are buying a food, not jewelry.
- Crystal shape
- Salt arranges itself in a crystal shape. These crystals can take on enormous shapes. Most manufacturers choose to start from small crystals and press them together. However, there is no chemical difference between small and large crystals, you can make small salt crystals into large crystals and vice versa. It depends on how well you stir during evaporation, to put it simply.
Mineral blocks compared
Below are the mineral values of some mineral blocks. The first table consists of the data provided by the manufacturer and / or supplier. In order to be able to properly compare the data of the different mineral blocks, we have * normalized * the data in the second table. We have assumed an average lick requirement of 20 grams of lick stone per day, if this block consisted of 99% NaCl (table salt). If a lick contains half the sodium, the horse will lick twice as much of the stone to satisfy its sodium requirement, and thus also get twice as much of the other minerals. In this way it is comparable what a horse with an average sodium requirement per brand of lick in other minerals consumes. Of course you can extrapolate the data from the second table to the actual lick stone consumption of your own horse.
|Mineral blocks|| [Ca] (# Calcium)
| [P] (# Phosphorus)
| [Na] (# Sodium)
| [K] (# Potassium)
| [Mg] (# Magnesium)
| [Cu] (# Copper)
| [Fe] (# Iron)
| [Zn] (# Zink)
| [Mn] (# Manganese)
| [Co] (# Cobalt)
| [I] (# Iodine)
| [Se] (# Selenium)
|Rockies red||0< td> 0||380||0||5||300||1500||300||200||50||150||10|
|Rockies baby yellow||0||0 td>||380||0||10||0||200||120||100||100||50||10|
|Rockies 5 star||0||0||380||0||5||500||1500||1000||200||50||150||10|
|F.N.A. (Himalaya)||0||0||390||3||0.5 td >||1||19||0||15||0||0< td> 0|
|Peka horseblock< td> 140||10||170||0||15||250||6800||1900||2500||200||100||10|
These are the mineral contents per kilo of mineral block. If you look at the table you can see that the Himalayan stone contains almost no trace elements in comparison with the other stones, it is the only stone that achieves the chemical maximum proportion of 390 grams (39%) of sodium (which means that there is nothing else in k & aacute; n). What is also striking is that the Horselyx stone contains very little sodium. If we later normalize the stones by calculating what the horse will ingest with a standard intake of 7.92 grams of sodium, this will provide an interesting outcome.
|Mineral blocks||Lick requirement per day|| [Ca] (# Calcium)
| [P] (# Phosphorus)
| [Na] (# Sodium)
| [K] (# Potassium)
| [Mg] (# Magnesium)
| [Cu] (# Copper)
| [Fe] (# Iron)
| [Zn] (# Zink)
| [Mn] (# Manganese)
| [Co] (# Cobalt)
| [I] (# Iodine)
| [Se] (# Selenium)
|Rockies red||20g / d td >||0||0||7.92||0||0.10||6.25< td> 31.2||6.25||4.16||1.04||3.12||0.20tr >|
|Rockies baby yellow||20g/d||0||0||7.92||0||0.20||0||4.16 td>||2.50||2.08||2.08||1.04||0.20tr>|
|Rockies 5 star||20g / d td>||0||0||7.92||0||0.10||10.4||31.2||20.8||4.16||1.04||3.12||0.20tr>|
|F.N.A. (Himalaya)||20g/d||0||0||7.92||0.06 < / td>||0||0.02||0.38||0||0.30||0 td >||0||0|
|KNZ||20g / d||0||0||7.92||0||0.41||3.12||20.8||29.1||27.0||0.62||1.25||0.20 td>|
|Horselyx||316g / d td>||7.92||5.06||7.92||0||1.26||190. td >||69.6||380.||253.||2.53||1.90||1.58 td >|
|Vividerm||22g / d||1.01||0.11||7.92||0||0.02||24.8||4.97||31.6||0||2.48||3.84||0.33|
|Peka horseblock< td> 46g / d||6.52||0.46||7.92||0||0.69< td> 11.6||291.||88.5||116.||9.31||4.65< td> 0.46|
|Mineral requirement horse 500 Kg:||35||17||30< td> 35||13||65||460||360||300||0.5||1||1|
|Intake at 9.6 Kg DS grass / hay:||55.68||33.6||22.08 < / td>||288||22.08||94.08||864||600||508.8 td >||0.96||1.92||1.92|
|RDA at 9.6 Kg DS grass / hay:||159% td>||197%||73%||822%||169%||144%||187%||166%||169%||192%||192%||192%|
The third row from the bottom shows what a 500 kg horse needs in terms of minerals, with light work, outside 24 hours a day. These values come from our [food calculator] (* food calculator). In the second row from the bottom you can see what the consumption of 9.6 Kg of grass or hay (dry matter) in minerals yields (this value also comes from our [food calculator] (* food calculator)). In the bottom row you can see what the mineral balance is, expressed as percentages of the Daily Recommended Amount. You can see here that the horse actually gets enough of everything, with the exception of sodium. It is this sodium deficiency that will stimulate the horse to use the lick stone. The horse is 7.92 grams of sodium per day short, and will therefore want to obtain this from the lick.
The horse gets enough of the other minerals in itself. However, we know from experience that in lower quality hay, pregnant mares, horses put on a diet and fed less hay, and other unfavorable variables, the nutrition calculator will be the first to show a deficiency in copper and zinc. That is why we like to see these two minerals well represented in the lick stone. We know of other minerals, such as iron, that their consumption hardly varies, and that iron deficiencies hardly occur in the Dutch soil. We prefer not to see iron in the lick at all.
In the top rows of this table are some mineral stones. The mineral values are stated by the manufacturer / supplier, but converted to the amount that the horse will lick the stone. We know how much sodium the horse wants, namely 7.92 grams. Since the sodium content of the stone is specified by the manufacturer, it simply follows from homany grams of the stone the horse will lick. Once this is known, it can be calculated again on the basis of the mineral contents of the stone how much the horse will ingest of each mineral. Fortunately, you don't have to do this calculation by hand either; the [food calculator] (* food calculator) also provides for this.
Likit licks are notable for their absence from our table. The manufacturer profiles its licks as * toys *, and perhaps we can best consider these licks as such. They are sold in models with names like "Tongue Twister" and "Boredom Breaker", in a variety of colorful colors and flavors. After searching for a while on the manufacturer's website, which, incidentally, looks suspiciously like a toy shop window, we were unable to conjure up an ingredient list. Maybe there is such a list, but if we search for it after 10 minutes and cannot find it after entering keywords, the manufacturer will find that the content is secondary to appearance.
Even without an extensive list of ingredients, we can form an idea of the content. There are many flavors available (how we think about flavors is already known), and in some forums we have read that some owners lick the stone themselves because it tastes so nice and sweet. It will therefore not be very salty, so the sodium content is easy to guess. This probably concerns a decorated sugar cube on a string, to which some minerals have been added. But yes, a whipped cream cake does not turn into responsible nutrition by putting colored candles on it and adding some minerals.
If you want to use such a Likit, it is best to hang a normal mineral block, so that the horse can at least satisfy its sodium requirement. The Likit seems to be mainly sold to break the barn boredom. However, we believe that there is only one responsible way to break through stable boredom: [The horse out of the stable!] (* Openstall). Horses are better off if they can be outside 24 hours a day, and with a little good will, you can always do that.
Compared to a number of other licks, the Rockies stones pass the rating reasonably well. The points of criticism are:
- The stones contain iron and manganese, although in low amounts, but it is unnecessary.
- A horse needs about 1mg of iodine per day. He gets more than enough from his hay. With the exception of the Rocky Yellow, a horse licking 20 grams per day will already receive more than 3 mg * extra * of iodine per day. That sounds like a lot to us, especially when you consider that there are horses that lick much more than 20 grams per day.
- A horse needs 60 mg of copper per day, the Rockie 5-star provides 10 mg per day, but we would rather see this value a little higher. The Rockie red only delivers 6mg of copper, and the Rockie Yellow nothing at all.
- A horse needs 360 mg of zinc per day, but even the Rockie 5-star only provides 20 mg. De Rockie Geel even nothing at all.
- The Rockie 5-star is, according to the manufacturer's words, "made extra tasty by the addition of fenugreek and apple flavor" and in addition, the stone also contains cod liver oil, a product of animal origin that we do not believe belongs in a herbivore.
Based on the mineral values, we would have found the 5-star the best of the Rockie series, were it not for the fact that the 5-star contains all kinds of substances that, in our opinion, do not belong in a mineral block. Due to the complete lack of copper and zinc, De Rockie Geel is somewhat less suitable for meadow horses.
Dutch kitchen salt
Dutch kitchen salt is extracted from Groningen and Drenthe salt domes that were created 250 million years ago. The salt crystals are not brought up as pieces, but are dissolved with the help of water and then transported upwards via pipes. After evaporation of the water only the ancient salt remains.
The salt domes are so impenetrable to external substances that there are plans to use the salt domes for the storage of radioactive waste.
Where horses are praised for the purity of this primeval salt, it is precisely the lack of trace elements that makes many people prefer to use sea salt. Due to its purity, Dutch salt is just as low in iodine as Himalayan salt, and this is why the government once feared iodine deficiencies and imposed the obligation to add iodine to the salt, the so-called JoZo salt. Nowadays the table salt is available without additives.
- Image: Drilling core of rock salt from Friesland *
Wherever this stone is advertised it is mentioned that this stone contains numerous trace elements, but vAccording to the ingredient list, the quantities are so minimal that they make no practical contribution to meeting the horse's mineral needs. In practical terms, the stone actually consists only of NaCl, or ordinary table salt.
Rich in trace elements? A 500 kg horse needs the following to provide for its mineral requirements with the help of a Himalayan lick:
- 65 kilos of Himalayan stone daily to get enough copper * (the stone contains 1 mg of copper per kilo, and a horse needs about 65 mg per day) *
- 24 kilos of Himalayan stone daily to get enough iron * (the stone contains 19 mg of iron per kilo, and a horse needs about 460 mg per day) *
- 20 kilos of Himalayan stone daily to get enough manganese * (the stone contains 15 mg of manganese per kilo, and a horse needs about 300 mg per day) *
- 29 kilos of Himalayan stone daily to get enough magnesium * (the stone contains 450 mg of magnesium per kilo, and a horse needs about 13,000 mg per day) *
- In terms of Zinc, Iodine, Cobalt and a number of other minerals, the horse can eat the entire Himalayan salt mine, but will never get enough. There is so little in the stone that even the advertisers wisely shut up.
Make your own Himalayan stone yourself
This stone is not inferior in quality compared to the Himalayan stone, but is cheaper and more environmentally friendly, and educational for the kids.
- Kitchen salt, extracted from Dutch salt domes of 250 million years old, available in every supermarket.
- Distilled water
- Clean jam jar
- Thin thread
Read the complete manual at www.thuisexperimenteren.nl
Of course the horse does not necessarily have to. to obtain trace elements from a lick stone, but it is still very misleading to declare that the stone is rich in trace elements if the horse, even after eating tens of kilos of that stone, still does not have enough to meet the mineral requirement of only & eacute; & eacute; a single day to provide ...
To be honest, we have a bad taste with this stone. It is ordinary kitchen salt, 250 million years old, but did you know that our own Dutch salt domes were created in the same period? And be just as clean, pure, pure and impenetrable to external substances? The cheap kitchen salt that you can buy in the local supermarket is extracted from these salt domes and is therefore as old and pure as the Himalayan salt. It's just a bit cheaper and "Drenthe" unfortunately sounds a bit less exotic than "Himalaya".
Anyone who has invented to let the Dutch buy salt from the Himalayas could receive praise for his trade, were it not that the nonsensical salt dragging around half the globe causes a lot of energy waste. It is equally silly to transport seawater from Pakistan to the North Sea by plane. In addition to being unnecessary and misleading, this stone is also very environmentally unfriendly, and in the end, this environmental pollution does not benefit the health of the horse.
Two advantages of the stone are: It lasts longer than regular stones, and horses lick it a lot. These two advantages seem to be related: the stone is difficult to reveal its content due to its crystal shape, and horses therefore have to lick a long time to get enough table salt.
The KNZ stone is one of the better licks in the test. We have the following comments:
- The manganese value is higher than the iron value. This is less beneficial because too much manganese makes the absorption of iron more difficult. With 20 grams of lick block consumption, the lick stone provides 10% of the horse's manganese needs, but if the horse consumes significantly more than 20 grams (or less than 500 kg) then this is something to watch out for.
- The stone can provide almost 10% of the horse's zinc requirement, which is much more than some of the other licks assessed, but Copper comes off a bit poorly with just 3 milligrams, which is less than 5% of the daily requirement .
This (expensive) lick stone has been specially developed for horses that are prone to laminitis. It is known that [magnesium] (* magnesium research) reduces the sensitivity to fructan and thus slightly reduces the risk of laminitis. It is therefore no surprisethat this stone contains a good amount of magnesium. Where there is magnesium there can be no sodium, so the proportion of sodium in this stone is somewhat lower. Where with other stones the horse licks 20 grams, the horse of the Laminshield will have to lick 30 grams to get the same amount of sodium.
This stone does not contain iodine, cobalt or selenium. However, this stone is one of the few in this assessment to contain a reasonable amount of copper and zinc. The stone can provide a quarter of the copper requirement and a sixth of the zinc requirement. The stone also provides a quarter of the magnesium requirement. The stone is not suitable to supplement real magnesium deficiencies, but every little bit helps and it will certainly benefit the carbohydrate metabolism of sensitive horses. We think it is positive that the manufacturer has resisted the temptation to add calcium, despite the popular idea that the calcium-magnesium balance should not be disturbed.
Life cycle of minerals
How long can you keep minerals? How quickly are they consumed?
It might be funny to know that minerals cannot disappear. If a pack of hay has decayed long ago, a powder will remain on the ground, containing all the minerals that were once in the hay. The minerals were there before there was life on Earth. The salt in the sea is billions of years old. There is no way to break down minerals other than fusion or fission, but that's not really for beginners. All the minerals that your horse eats come out again through its manure and urine. If you keep all of that, plus what's left in his body when he's dead, you'll have back exactly the same minerals you once started with and which he consumed during his lifetime. All the minerals in your own body have all been part of countless other animals.
Minerals have an unlimited shelf life. And they are not consumed, but actually only borrowed for a while ...
Unfortunately, the manufacturer has made quite a slip: to the stone ... honey has been added! Because of this delicious sweet taste, there is no longer a splash of the natural salt requirement regulation, and sweet substances are especially not for laminitis sensitive horses! Too bad!
A bit of an odd man out. The manufacturer has put in so much of everything that you can hardly speak of a * mineral * block, it has become more of a meal bar for horses. The proportion of sodium has become so low due to all other additives that the horse, compared to the other mineral blocks, has to eat no less than 300 grams of this "stone" per day to meet its sodium requirement. With this amount, the horse will also get quite a lot of some other minerals:
- The horse will then receive 190 grams of copper, this is 300% of its daily requirement, on top of what it has already received. With most stones we grumble that the share of copper could be a bit higher, but you can also exaggerate it of course ...
- The stone provides the horse's full zinc requirement.
- The stone almost provides for the horse's daily manganese needs. The share of manganese is more than three times the share of iron, and it is known that manganese prevents the absorption of iron.
- We find the proportion of magnesium for such a "meal stone" very low at 10% of the daily amount.
- The stone contains molasses as the main ingredient, ie sugar, a substance that affects the carbohydrate metabolism and affects the intestinal flora.
Keep in mind that horses can also have a higher sodium requirement and will therefore eat more of the stone. Or perhaps they eat more of it because the molasses makes it look suspiciously like a candy. In practice, the values of the minerals included will be even higher than we have outlined here.
This is the only mineral block where the proportions of copper and zinc make a meaningful addition to pasture horses. The other values are also predominantly favorable, but it is therefore a pity that calcium has been added to the block. That is unnecessary, and an extra unfortunate thing is that not only the value of magnesium has not increased, but that it is precisely this stone that has the lowest proportion of magnesium of all compared licks ...
Peka horse block
The proportion of sodium in this stone has remained on the low side. Horses will lick more than twice as much of this stone as of the normal other stones. Unfortunately, the value of a number of minerals is very high:
- The mineral block provides 2/3 of the iron requirement, which is more than 10 times more than most other mineral blocks, and even four times as much as in the not exactly modest Horselyx.
- Cobalt is 9 mg while the horse only needs half a mg per day ...
- There is very little copper in proportion, less than 1/6 of the daily requirement.
- It contains a lot of calcium, 10 times as much as magnesium.
The strange proportions of minerals (one very much, the other little) make this mineral block not recommended.
We had hoped to be able to identify the ideal lick with this evaluation, but we have not found it. For the time being, the no-nonsense stones seem to us to be the most acceptable, such as the mineral blocks from KNZ or Rockies Rood. Acceptable, but not ideal in our opinion.
* Update: Three years after writing this article, we found a manufacturer who wanted to make the ideal lick for us. [Read more here] (* pnminerals). *
Choosing a lick
We can imagine that not everyone has the entire chemistry table in their head. What you can pay attention to when purchasing a lick stone is the sodium content. If this is around 38 to 39% then you at least know that the stone consists almost entirely of salt. If the sodium content is lower than 38%, then the question is what the rest of the stone consists of; there is a chance that it is a candy stone. Also easy to remember is that ingredients ending in "-ose" betray the presence of sugar.
The high proportion of lick stones with tasty flavors and / or molasses is striking. Perhaps the manufacturers hope that this will cause the horses to consume more of the stone and thus sell more of it. Some people think that if a horse licks a stone a lot it means it needs it very badly, and that's how they keep buying the candy stones. We can't help but reiterate that horses don't need molasses and it's actually particularly bad for them.
The Himalayan hype was created by deception. For example, at almost every point of sale you can read that the stone is rich in trace elements, but if you compare the ingredient lists of the different manufacturers, you can only conclude that the Himalayan stone is particularly * poor * in trace elements. Anyone who thinks that the stone may contain something that is not in our list, we unfortunately have to disappoint: with 390 grams of sodium you are at the chemical maximum that a mineral block can contain (see also the box "about Sodium" at the top of the page), and there is simply no more room for anything else.
Manufacturers are obliged to disclose the composition of their products, but apparently few people actually compare the ingredients with each other. A lot of junk is being sold, and apparently there are a lot of people who buy this, otherwise it would disappear from the market. We therefore advise everyone to be critical with what you buy: Putting lists side by side and comparing them is not exactly rocket science. Only by being critical will manufacturers tailor their products more to the needs. We are delighted to see more and more molasses-free products being introduced. Where there is a demand, a market arises automatically. It is very easy to swallow the commercials of suppliers uncritically, but the care of our horses deserves a little more care and attention, doesn't it?
Frequently Asked Questions
I have hung a lick, but my horse does nothing with it.
Not every horse needs a lick stone. The meadow (or hay) can contain enough sodium. A horse that has enough sodium will ignore the lick stone. Keep in mind that this can change at any time: the composition of the pasture can change, the horse may eat less (and therefore consume less sodium) or there will be a period in which he sweats a little more and therefore loses more sodium. .
As soon as I put up a lick, my horse will eat it within a few days.
If your horse has not had a lick for a while, he will be very fanatical about supplementing his sodium deficiency. It doesn't hurt that your horse is very enthusiastic about the lick stone, as long as you provide enough drinking water. In practice, licking behavior will normalize as soon as the deficiencies have been replenished. This can take a few licks.
Why haven't you looked at licks for other species?
We have looked at the usefulness of other types of lick stones for horses, but there are some risks associated with the use of such licks. The mineral values for cows are the only ones that are very similar to those of horses, but they do not provide any real benefits. Sheep licks are dangerous for horses because they can contain a lot of zinc and at the same time are very low on copperr.
Could sea salt be an option?
In sea salt, the minerals are in a somewhat strange proportion. Zinc and copper are almost non-existent, while there is more iodine in it. It also contains a lot of magnesium chloride, but it is not yet known what its effects are on horses.
My horse is in the stable but I would like to provide him with distraction without molasses.
Better to fight the cause of the boredom: Make sure the horse has a free range outside. Countless visitors to our website have been able to achieve this in a creative way, and this includes people without their own land, living in the Randstad. It takes some effort and sometimes some sacrifices, but where there is a will there is a way. Make your wishes known everywhere, you are not alone, and eventually the supply is adapted to the demand. If boarding customers value a drained paddock more than a solarium, the offer will eventually change.
I would like a rain-resistant lick.
A rain-resistant lick stone is a lick stone that does not dissolve in water. Such a lick would unfortunately not dissolve during licking. A rain-resistant lick would also be a lick-resistant lick. And that is of no use to you ...
- Many sources have been used to compile this page. We do not list them all, but limit ourselves to the most interesting: *
* National Research Council (2007), "Nutrient Requirements of Horses", ISBN 030910212X *
* Melyni Worth (2003), "Storey's guide to Feeding Horses", ISBN 1-58017-492-2 *
The ideal lick stone, based on the Dutch soil
Three years after writing this article, we found a manufacturer who wanted to make the ideal lick for us. The lick composition is based on the average mineral content in the Dutch soil. Perfect for the "Naturally-Held Horse" horse! [Read more about that lick here] (* pnminerals).