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Danís Salt-Block Design Reigns


Plastic is your best defense against the corrosion caused by salt.

Salt is the one mineral that every horse, regardless of diet, workload or turnout time, requires as a supplement. Insufficient salt intake leads to dehydration and problems like constipation, overheating, insufficient milk production in mares and poor exercise tolerance.

Most people prefer to supply salt in the form of a block or brick, which the horse can lick, and sometimes chew or bite, free choice. Securing the salt in a holder to keep it clean is preferable to just putting it in the feed tub, since an excessively salty taste could throw the horse off feed.

In addition, most horses are absolute masters in getting their salt bricks out of the tub and onto the ground. Once youíve located the salt-block-turned-toy and dug it out of the bedding, youíll then need to rinse it off before replacing it. We much prefer a stationary holder.

Our criteria
When we looked at salt holders, we considered:

ē Durability: It needs to hold up to equine rubs and chews.
ē Corrosion resistance: Salt is a corrosive substance that causes metal to rust.
ē Security: We want the salt to stay in the holder and the holder to stay on the wall.
ē Mounting: It shouldnít take an engineer to install.

Salt-block holders are relatively inexpensive, with top-of-the-line models running around $20. Most are about $5. Before reaching for the bargain brands, though, consider what shape the holder will be in a few months. Metal holders with corrosion-resistant coatings, such as plastic or zinc, will only last as long as the coating remains intact. After that, they begin to rust.

Before choosing your holder, check with your feed store regarding the dimensions of the salt bricks they sell. Most holders are designed to take the rectangular-shaped blocks with a rectangular end and wonít accept blocks that are shorter but thicker, and have a more square-shaped end.

Stall-size salt bricks weigh about four pounds, a size and weight thatís easy for the horse to toss around the stall if he is so inclined. This is one reason why you should have a holder in the first place so make sure it holds the salt securely.

It makes sense to us to choose a holder that has predrilled mounting holes. This saves time and eliminates the guesswork as to where you should secure the holder.

Mounting tip
Salt Block Tips
  • Use srainless Steel Screws,even if they don't come with the holder.
  • Be sure a field-size holder allows rainwater drainage.
  • Get a plastic holder, unless your horse has a chewing habbit.
  • Skip plastic-coated metal holders; once the plastic cracks, they rust.


When mounting your in-stall salt brick holders, place them above tail level, since many horses will be tempted to use them to scratch. Pick a spot near the feed tub or water bucket. Position your holder where you want it to be, and mark the spot for the holes with a pencil or bit of nail polish for easy line up after you start installation. Regardless of the material used for your salt-brick holder, itís a good idea to invest in stainless-steel screws for mounting if the holder didnít come with them. This will reduce the chances of corrosion from the contact with the salt. Corroded screws can be difficult to get out to replace or move the holder.

Choices

The coated-wire holders are usually the least inexpensive initially, but as soon as a break appears in their armor, they begin to rust.

Ultimately, we decided we like plastic holders best, as we want a holder that can be used outside or in a run-in shed as well, and plastic will last and wonít corrode. Our favorites are from Danís Saddlery and Valley Vet, although we prefer the design from Danís because itís a bit more heavyweight and, once when the salt is in place, the only real free edge for the horse to grab or chew on is the salt itself ó at least until the block is nearly gone. Be prepared to wrestle the brick into place, but once it snaps in, itís there to stay.

If you really want metal ó especially if your horse has a propensity for chewing ó we recommend the Stainless Steel Salt Block Holder, which is well built.

In the field-size category, weíd go with the Jeffers double salt block holder. This allows you to place both a plain and a mineralized block side by side, but it remains just as stable with only one block. Again, we were pleased with its corrosion resistance, and we liked the drainage holes in the bottom to minimize salt loss from rain.

Brick / Stall Size Salt Holders -