Why Does My Horse Lick Metal?

Q: What does it mean when my horse licks the metal fences/gates and metal on the horse trailer? She is not stalled and has been with her 2 pasture mates for a few years. We love trail riding. She does not do this all the time but enough for me to notice. Does she need some type of supplement?

Nancy Pyatte


Dear Nancy,


I wish I had a definitive answer for you, but the truth is licking metal could be an indication of any number of things. Nutritionally speaking, it most definitely could be a lack of minerals in the diet. Your horse may simply be bored or even just like the taste/feel of metal. Licking metal may help your horse salivate as well.


Many of today’s pastures are deficient in minerals due to pollution and chemical fertilizers. In fact, all 50 states report mineral loss in the soil, so the chances of your horse being mineral deficient, regardless of the reason for licking metal, are HIGHLY LIKELY! If the soil is deficient, then the plants are deficient and therefore the animals will be as well. Something as natural as rainfall or snow, in excess, can lead to a selenium deficiency. Open range grazing horses did not suffer from the same difficulties and diseases as our modern day horses who are fed processed pellets, confined to stalls, stressed in competitions, and who have little to no freedom to roam.


If she were my horse I would add trace minerals to her daily diet. Excellent sources are fresh water microscopic phytoplankton and ocean seaweed. Kelp is high in trace minerals, too, but it is also high in iodine which is not good in excess quantities. Whatever you choose, DO NOT feed isolated minerals because it encourages imbalance by encouraging deficiency in another mineral. Just remember minerals work together synergistically, so look for BOTH macro minerals (the major minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus) and micro minerals (there are at least 60 of these such as selenium, iron, manganese, zinc, and silicon dioxide) to help your horse assimilate nutrients.


Check out www.EnviroMin.com 1-707-360-7200 for an organic, full spectrum, human grade, naturally chelated and ionized, pH balanced, UV sterilized, plant sourced, freshwater phytoplankton containing 70 balanced minerals that work together to build immunity, aid digestion and assist in detoxification.


See www.4source.com 1-800-232-2365 for human grade, concentrated, low-temperature dehydrated micronutrients harvested and produced in less than 24 hours from seaweed which also include natural compounds of trace minerals, vitamins, sulfated polysaccharides (the fucans), assorted free radical scavengers, phytochemicals, oligosaccharides, etc.


I have used both of these at my rescue HAPPY HORSE HAVEN. You will delight in watching your horses slurp every bite of feed when the microminerals are included.


Horses really know what they need; they just don’t have access to all the herbs and plants that used to grow in pastures. Even if they did, without organics (and the time it takes to build the soil back) the soils and plants are deficient anyway.


I like to add water into the feed when including these products, so the powder clings to the feed and isn’t flying around, like up the horse’s nose! It is not good for the Respiratory System.


Both products have micro and macro minerals, but in different combinations due to different sources. You can alternate these, or do a soil test with your county agent and find out what is missing in your area, then use the product with the greatest fit to your soil needs.


If that sounds like too much trouble REST ASSURED these are BOTH excellent sources! By the way, I’d go ahead and give it to my other horses too. If you want to cut down the amount to make it last a bit longer, that’s OK. I doubled up for 3 days at first (to do a detox) then I leveled off to one scoop for 1-2 weeks (some of the older horses I kept at the higher dose longer). For maintenance, now I do 1/2 scoop, primarily because I have too many horses to afford the luxury. Honestly I believe micro and macro mineral support should be a regular support for all horses to maintain homeostasis.


Here’s to your horse’s good health!


Shari Frederick

Healthy Horse Hints

Happy Horse Haven Rescue


Category: Healthy Horse Hints

Opinions expressed herein are those of the experts consulted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editors and publishers. The information in this publication is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to medically prescribe or diagnose in any way. ~ Holistic Horse Inc.