Like most mammals, human beings included, horse’s need a certain amount of salt in their body. Salt is an electrolyte, and acts to attract and retain water in the body, which is particularly important for a horse. Horses tend to lose water in hot weather, through activity and heat, and fail to consume enough during cold weather, as they aren’t keen on the cold water. Obviously, you don’t want your horse to dehydrate, so you need to make sure they have enough salt in their system to properly regulate the water content of their body.
Horse licks can help you achieve this.
You could just buy loose salt and mix it in with your horse’s food, but, honestly, your horse will have a much better idea of how much salt it needs than you do, and relying solely on you mixing salt with horse food runs the risk of your horse not getting enough – or getting too much – salt.
With a horse lick, your horse can consume salt as he or she feels fit. This allows your equine friend to regulate their own salt intake, making sure they have just the right amount in their system.
It’s not as simple as just putting up a horse lick and forgetting about your horse’s salt intake, however. You should take care to keep an eye on the horse’s behaviour with the horse lick, and the state of the horse lick itself. If you find grooves in the lick caused by the horse’s teeth, that is a sign that the horse is not getting enough salt from licking, and has resorted to trying to eat chunks of the salt lick. In this case, you should add a little salt to your horse’s food, as they are indirectly letting you know that they aren’t getting enough.