Last Updated on May 7, 2022
If you’re looking for a mineral supplement for your horse, you might be wondering if a sulfur block for horses is a good idea? Let’s find out all about the best mineral supplements for horses, and see whether you should be using a sulfur block for horses!
What Is A Sulfur Block For Horses?
As a horse owner or carer, it is your responsibility to ensure that you feed the correct diet to your horse. A domesticated horse is kept in captivity and does not have the option to wander and forage for food. Therefore, we must make sure that we give them all the nutrition they need to stay fit and healthy.
However, the range of advice and products available to feed horses can be so overwhelming, that you just don’t know where to start! You may see other horse owners giving their horses a salt or mineral block, and start wondering if your horse needs one too.
At the feed store, you will see many different types of salt and mineral blocks, including a sulfur block for horses. So, is this the right one for your horse, or should you choose a different option?
You are more likely to find a sulfur mineral block in the cattle and ruminant section of the feed store, as they are not normally given to horses. They are solid blocks, normally designed to be hung from a rope or slotted into a mineral block holder. The most common composition for a sulfur block is 97% salt and 3% sulfur.
Read more about Can Horses Eat Potatoes?
Do Horses Need A Sulfur Block?
Sulfur is a vital mineral that is essential to life. It contributes to the health of the horse’s muscles and joints and is essential to maintaining good hoof quality. If a horse does not get enough sulfur in its diet then its health may deteriorate as a consequence.
Most horses get all of their daily requirement of sulfur by eating plant material. Sulfur is a key component of many compounds found in plants, including amino acids and some B vitamins. This means that horses can metabolize these compounds to release sulfur, as long as they have sufficient access to plant material.
So, if sulfur is essential for life, does that mean we should be supplementing our horses’ diets with this mineral? Adding extra inorganic sulfur to the diet is rarely necessary for the health of equine animals. This is because most horses can gain enough sulfur from organic sources, such as plant matter.
In fact, you are more likely to have problems caused by too much sulfur in your horses’ diet, particularly if you start to use a sulfur block or sulfur supplement. When this occurs, the body is not able to absorb sufficient amounts of copper, another nutrient that is essential for building strong tissue and cell development.
The only time it might be considered appropriate to give your horse a sulfur block is when your veterinarian has identified a mineral deficiency, or if the horse does not have access to plant matter that contains sulfur. This may occur when the horse is stabled for long periods, and fed on poor quality hay. A horse on good quality grazing is highly unlikely to need additional sulfur in its diet.
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What Is The Best Way To Give Minerals To A Horse? Sulfur Block For Horses
If you are concerned that your horse is not getting enough minerals in his diet, the simplest and safest way to resolve this is by adding a broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement to his diet. Remember that horses on good quality grazing are rarely deficient in minerals, so it is normally only necessary to do this if the bulk of your horse’s diet is hay.
Horses that are fed the recommended amount of a complete feed should also already be receiving sufficient vitamins and minerals. If you are not sure, check the packaging of your feed bag to see if any extra supplements are advised.
Another way to give horses minerals is by feeding a feed balancer. This is a low-energy feed that ensures the horse is getting the correct levels of nutrition. Alternatively, you can add a powdered vitamin and mineral supplement to a small amount of chaff or pony nuts every day.
One important thing to bear in mind with feed supplements for horses is to take care of giving more than one. This is because it is easy to overdose on certain minerals, which will be detrimental to the health of your horse. So if you want to feed a joint supplement at the same time as giving a hoof supplement, check to make sure that you are not doubling up any ingredients.
Sulfur Block For Horses Summary
So, as we have learned, a sulfur block for horses is not normally necessary, as most horses get enough sulfur by consuming plant matter. This is then metabolized to extract sulfur from amino acids and B vitamins. The best way to ensure a horse is getting the correct amount of minerals is to feed a broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about mineral supplementation for horses! Does your horse love his salt lick, or do you find it covered in dust and hay? Maybe you are not sure about the best vitamin and mineral supplement to give to your horse? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Is A Sulphur Block Good For Horses?
Sulphur blocks are not good for horses, as they can cause horses to consume too much sulphur in their diets. Most horses will get adequate sulphur by eating plant matter, and do not need a sulphur block.
How Much Sulphur Does A Horse Need?
A horse needs to consume a diet that consists of 0.15% organic sulphur, which is enough to meet their needs. Horses with poor hoof quality are often given MSM, a naturally occurring source of sulphur.
Do Sulfur Blocks Help With Flies?
You will often see sulfur blocks marketed for their fly repelling properties, but there is no scientific evidence to back this up. The best way to reduce flies around your horse is to maintain high levels of hygiene, and use a good quality fly repellent or fly sheet on your horse.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE