Compared to the standard salt block the Himalayan salt licks sure do look better. And they sound healthier, too. It seems a simple way to do something that’s just better for your horse without breaking the bank. But are they worth the additional cost?
How can you resist a sales pitch like this:
A 550 million year old source of minerals and trace elements for your horse or pony. Mined from the vast and ancient Himalayan mountains, transported down steep passes on the backs of Yaks, and providing the mountain people with one of their main sources of income, these salt licks must be the purest form of salt available. The distinctive rose pink colour comes from the salts’ high mineral content, such as iron, potassium and magnesium, which are all vital for maintaining health. Mass produced salt licks are produced using salt with minerals added in the manufacturing process. Himalayan rock salt licks are literally ‘rock hard’, this means that horses and ponies are unable to bite chunks off the block, a problem that can occur with the softer ’pressed’ salt licks. These licks are also much more weather resistant, which means they can be safely left outside in the field for horse to ‘self dose’. Our experience has show that horses do prefer these to other salt licks.
The problem is, it really is just a sales pitch. Take a look at the handy mineral comparison chart published by SmartPak and you’ll see that while these attractive pink salt blocks come with a rope, they do not contain many of the microminerals that are recommended for your horse (such as zinc, selenium, iodine, cobalt, other than the ones typically abundant in a horse’s diet. With an estimated cost per day of 46 cents, you can do better for your money. For example, your standard 50 lb trace mineral salt block costs only $6.50!
As to its origins, the salt marketed under the name Himalayan is actually mined in Pakistan, at the Khewra Salt mines, the second largest salt mine in the world. A group called Tourist Watch did research on the Himalayan salt and found that it was no healthier than normal table salt.
Bottom line: while it looks nice, you are better off feeding a good vitamin/mineral supplement and table salt or buying a trace mineral salt block.