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Several years ago, I stumbled upon the nutritional advice I had intuited for years for my training horses. An equine nutritionist and researcher here in California tested hair samples from a few of my horses in addition to analyzing my hay quality to determine if and where mineral deficiencies might be present. After all this testing and producing a printout of each horse’s nutrition profile, she came back to me with a single piece of advice: feed all of my horses 1-2 Tablespoons of high quality natural salt and quit dosing them with all the other supplements that filled our grain room.

As a person who follows an organic vegan lifestyle, the advice was refreshing for me, especially after recognizing that a quality salt product provides all the essential minerals that govern muscle and metabolic function. This, combined with clean hay and ample drinking water, was all my equine athletes needed. For the few years prior to being liberated to follow my own instincts about paring down supplementation to the bare minimum in the form of salt, I had fallen in to the same misguided thinking that I now see among many of my students. I flipped through the thick catalogues of horse products and assumed that just because companies were making all hose hundreds of supplements then surely my horses must NEED them. My exercise physiology research over the past few years has proven what erroneous thinking this is indeed!

Most of today’s nutritional supplements have not been tested by third party research and their health claims are unsubstantiated except for anecdotal client feedback. Yet I continue to see horse owners heaping powders and liquids and tablets on top of their horses’ daily grain, assuming that these products will give their horses happier, healthier lives.

For the few years following when I swore off excessive supplementation, I bought natural sea salt from the bulk bins at our local New Leaf health markets in Santa Cruz, California. Then I discovered Redmond and both my horses and I have consumed the salt daily. In fact, I credit Redmond in part for my horses’ pliable, well-balanced musculature. I also credit Real Salt with my completion of last year’s Boston marathon in record-breaking heat. Not only did I avoid muscle cramping in that heat but I recovered so swiftly from the race that I was happily running again within two days without a hitch in my gait. More recently, I won the Angel Island 30k trail race near San Francisco. Meantime, my new young horse consumes Daily Gold and Daily Red as part of his development in to a promising riding horse.

About Jec Aristotle Ballou