Equine News: Salt and Hay

SaltSalt and Hay Needed for Free-Roaming Horses

In September, Kentucky Humane Society staff and volunteers visited free-roaming horses in Eastern Kentucky. These are not wild horses, but domestic horses that have been turned out to fend for themselves on Kentucky’s coal reclamation sites. Some are owned, others are abandoned, and still others were born there and are feral.

While many of the horses were fat and sleek from summer grazing, others were not faring so well. Many suffered from hoof, teeth, eye or skin issues. Many mares were nursing not just this year’s foal, but yearlings as well – further depleting their overwhelmed bodies.

The one thing they all had in common? They were starved for salt. Salt is an essential nutrient for horses. Horses with extreme salt deprivation may experience muscle incoordination and may stop eating and may not drink enough to stay hydrated.

The KHS Equine CARE (connect, assist, rescue and educate) team distributed salt blocks to five herds totaling more than 200 horses. What the team saw astounded them.

“I have never seen horses so hungry for salt before,” says Lori Redmon, KHS President and CEO. “Many of the horses were kicking and shoving each other, trying to get to the salt blocks. This is not normal herd behavior. It was clear they were desperate for the nutrient.”

In the winter, free-roaming horses often leave their mountain pastures to lick the salt off of cars and roads – creating a dangerous hazard for motorists.

To help protect horses and people alike, the Equine CARE team is distributing salt and hay to free-roaming horses this winter. But they need help. Horses can eat up to four bales of hay a week and a 50-pound salt block every two weeks. It costs $5 for each bale of hay and $5 for every salt block.

Want to help support our salt and hay drive? Please give online at kyhumane.org/equine-donate. If you prefer to mail a check, make it payable to KHS and write “horses” on the memo line. Mail to: Kentucky Humane Society, 1000 Lyndon Lane, Louisville, KY 40222.


Equine CARE: One Year Anniversary

A year ago this month, the Kentucky Humane Society announced the creation of its Equine CARE (connect, assist, rescue and educate) program, which is dedicated to helping Kentucky’s horses. It’s been a busy first year! During this time, KHS has:

  • Gelded 69 stallions in Eastern Kentucky, ensuring fewer free-roaming and unwanted horses will be born. Gelding is the term for castration of a male horse. Our gelding clinics are funded by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
  • Saved 25 orphaned foals. These foals lost their mothers at just a few days old. Without KHS’ assistance, most would have died.
  • Removed 12 horses from dangerous situations and have already found 11 of them loving homes.

We were able to save these horses thanks to generous donors who support our lifesaving mission. Thank you for your support!