February 12, 2008

Recipe for Homemade Electrolytes

I had promised someone this recipe for homemade electrolytes...this one is from Dr. Kerry Ridgeway. http://www.horse-canada.com/articles/HSequiath.htm You crush the ingredients up and mix thoroughly. They can be stored dry in a baggie for use at rides. You mix the proper dose (about 2 ozs of the dry preparation) into applesauce or gator aid and squirt it in the horse's mouth using a large barrel 40 cc syringe (such as wormer comes in).

2 parts table salt
2 parts Lite salt
1 part Dolomite (natural calcium/magnesium) Tums antacids are also used in place of the Dolomite for the calcium and protection of the stomach.

So for example:
1 cup of table salt (non iodized)
1 cup of Lite salt
1/2 cup of crushed Tums (the generics are cheap at the Dollar Store)

The use of electrolytes has become somewhat controversial. From my point of view it is like most things, to be used sensibly and in moderation. I've seen first hand the effects of not using electrolytes, and intend to use them in the future.

So when should you give electrolytes?

First the horse needs to already be eating and drinking well. Never electrolyte a horse that it is not drinking.

A horse that is not working should have free access to salt and minerals. It is not necessary to dose a non working horse with electrolytes.

For the working horse consider electrolytes in the following scenerios:

Heat and humidity
Training the horse faster and farther, and during profuse sweating.
Hauling in warm weather over long distances.

What to avoid?
Do not dose with electrolytes without good reason.

Avoid the use of products that use di-calcium phosphate (equine's don't absorb this very well) and those that list sugar, dextrose or corn syrup as the first ingredient. High sugars can cause a hypoglycemic reaction in the performance horse. Sugars in general should be avoided in the horse's diet as well.

For more information on electrolytes and the endurance horse please visit:

In all things related to your horse's health, always consult your equine veterinarian as the ultimate source for your horse's specific needs as to dosage and frequency.

***please visit the top sponsor of Green Bean Endurance.org


  1. great article. I would love to follow you on twitter.

  2. Dear Awesome Granny,

    You are the first person I've found after a few hours of the google that mentioned calcium. Bravo.

    Here's what I gleaned from my research:

    1 Tums = 750 mg calcium
    1/2 tsp each of
    - Epson Salt = dunno the mg of magnesium :-(
    - Baking soda = 640 mg of salt. Kinda.
    - Salt substitute = 1300mg potassium

    Anyway thanks for the one post on the entire interweb that included calcium for a sports drink.

  3. LOL. Did you know you're the top Google hit for "endurance horse electrolyte"?

    Having found something that kind of works I desperately want to stick with half homemade elytes, half storebought... but I'm trying to find a place to buy them. Griffin's doesn't sell electrolytes, and I got my last tubes at a Tevis vendor, and ack I'm not sure where to look!

  4. Endurance granny if I would make up a single batch how much water should I use?

  5. Caroline, I take the single dose, mix with a few tablespoons of applesauce, thin with just maybe a teaspoon of water, and draw it up into the dosing syringe. The horse gets the dose, then I draw up a syringe of water and squirt in their mouth so the mucous membranes do not get burned from the salt.

  6. As a p.s. Now days I've been adding a bit of magnesium, and molasses to mix. The molasses seems to make it more palatable and is in some respects a natural electrolyte itself.