Loose Minerals for Horses: Re-feeding and Beyond in the equine

Loose Minerals are so important, they cannot be understated.

While they are vital in healthy horses, they are FAR MORE so in the emaciated horse.

In addition to being very cautious about what you feed a starving horse (no molasses, no concentrates, for instance), vitamins and minerals really factor in a major way.

To date there isn’t much research on the connection to minerals and the death of extremely emaciated horses. Here at Heart of Phoenix we connected the dots years ago, and as a result have one of the best track records (maybe The Best) of refeeding in equine rescue efforts.

Recently, someone did share this article
From an article by UC Davis:

“These horses often succumb to what is known
as “refeeding syndrome” during the first 3 to 7 days after refeeding begins. At the root of the crisis of refeeding is insulin, which is nearly completely absent in the starving horse. However, when food is again offered, particularly high carbohydrate food, insulin levels surge to drive
glucose into the body’s cells. As glucose moves into cells, so do minerals, particularly phosphorus and magnesium, depleting the blood and other cells that need these electrolytes to
function. Multi- system malfunctions result in seizures, cardiac, respiratory and kidney failure.”

We have found in the hundreds of cases we’ve handled hands on, water and the depletion of minerals due to rapid consumption of it, very clear, and we believe, it is actually the most common reasons horses are lost quickly in the refeeding process.

When a horse is emaciated, that animal is often also dehydrated. The animal will have very low levels of vital minerals and salt. When offered fresh water, they will literally suck gallons and gallons down rapidly.

This next article, while it speaks to people, applies to horses, we’ve found, as well


Horses crash, like Nora (before she arrived to our facility), because they have no suitable stores of vital minerals, and then when exposed to plenty of water, they drink and drink, flushing the stores they have out rapidly. They begin to shiver, shake and collapse.

We always work hard to advise others. . .before exposure to anything, give an excellent electrolyte GEL and access to free choice, HIGH QUALITY loose mineral and salt (make sure it is loose and has solid levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium). Red blocks really aren’t good enough because they can’t get mineral fast enough from them.

We cannot tell you how many people with good intentions have found their new emaciated rescue dead or down and unable to ever get back up in 12-24 hours due to this error.

We really love this connection in a human instance in this video:

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