With the summer heat and stress of competition and training under duress, it’s important for us to consider how we help our equine athletes replenish their electrolytes so that they can perform at the top of their capabilities. Researching the different available electrolytes, understanding the ingredients that set them apart, and knowing how to help your horse properly absorb the nutrients are all parts of making the decision about which electrolyte supplement to use.
First off, why are electrolytes important, and why can’t we just provide a salt lick like the old days? Cavalor recently wrote a wonderful educational article discussing the significance of electrolyte mixtures in your horse’s diet.
“Electrolytes are minerals that pass electrical impulses through the body. They have the ability to bind with other ions to form salt crystals. Electrolytes are especially important for fluid regulation, maintaining the pH balance in the body, and can be regarded as the driving force behind water transportation through the entire body. In addition, they have a big influence on muscle and nerve functions. The most important electrolytes are sodium, potassium and chloride.”
I’ve always fed electrolytes to my horses year-round, even in the winter when I know a lot of people taper off. I’ve had good drinkers, bad drinkers, sweat monsters and horses that wouldn’t break a sweat in the 90-degree heat on cross country. I want my horses to always stay as hydrated as possible, as I know how important hydration is to the function of the body and the organs from personal experience of dehydration.
My first concern when choosing an electrolyte is the ingredients, and I usually compare products as I go. Quite a few electrolytes only contain salt (sodium chloride), but lack potassium. Without potassium, the salt will not be absorbed as well. Cavalor Electrolyte Balance (and its liquid counterpart, Electroliq Balance) are fully balanced electrolyte mixtures containing all of the ingredients that a horse loses while sweating. This supplement also uses a form of fructose as a nutrient carrier that is proven to support the intake of electrolytes.
I have one horse who is quite a picky eater, and is, of course, the heaviest sweating horse in the barn, which can make things troublesome. He loves his salt block, but ironically does not like it when his feed tastes salty. Cavalor Electrolyte Balance actually tastes different than any other electrolyte that I’ve tasted (and yes, I taste them) in that it’s smells sweet and has a pleasant flavor that does not offend even the pickiest eater. This is the first time that I can add the appropriate three scoops of electrolyte to his feed and he doesn’t protest.
While I was doing my research for this product review, I learned that a lot of us (myself included) have been feeding electrolytes incorrectly for maximum efficacy. I put the electrolytes in my horse’s morning feed along with all his other supplements, but Cavalor specifically recommends using electrolytes no more than two hours before exercise, because horses are unable to store electrolytes in their body, and the morning dose will be excreted through urine before an afternoon ride.
While giving a snack with powdered electrolyte isn’t always convenient, Cavalor Electroliq Balance offers a liquid version of the same product that can be tubed into the mouth at any time. This is also a handy solution for the horses that magically leave the powdered supplements at the bottom of their bucket at the end of feeding time.
Last but not least, Cavalor Electrolyte Balance is legal for FEI competitions, just like all other Cavalor products and supplements, which takes the worry out of feeding an upper-level horse during the competition season.
This summer, Cavalor is launching a promotion for all three of its supplement products containing electrolytes: Electrolyte Balance, Electroliq Balance and Energy Booster. They will be placing a big yellow peel-off sticker coupon on bags of Cavalor feed for $5 off any of the three products listed above.
The Electrolyte Balance powder comes in an 800g container (approximately an 18-day supply) and a 5kg container (approximately 111-day supply). The 800g container has a suggested retail price of $28.99 while the 5kg container has a suggested retail price of $106.99. Cavalor has a customized store locator map on their website for you to find your nearest retailer.