- Best Trait = palatable source of salt (NaCl)
- Worst Trait = extremely expensive source of salt (NaCl)
Consider this product if…
- You’d like to enrich your horse’s confinement space with things to explore with their mouths
- You do not have a plain white salt source
- You like how the rock on a rope decorates your horse’s stall
Why Review this Product?
The company that produces and sells Redmond Rock has done an incredible job of making a ubiquitous, cheap horse nutrition ingredient interesting! Salt/sodium chloride/NaCl- in the most traditional sense of the word- is an essential ingredient to provide in any horse’s diet. I personally have a plain white salt block in every pasture and every paddock as forages, feeds and supplements are typically low in salt. But this company has reinvented a traditionally boring nutrient by making it 1) pretty, 2) convenient, and 3) popular. However, the myth that I’d like to dispel in this review is that Redmond Rock can constitute your horse’s comprehensive vitamin and mineral nutrition. It can not and should not. Let me show you how.
The Actual Review in 5 Parts
Company Information & Communication
In my opinion, the marketing team at Redmond Rock takes one step too far in their marketing claims. Statements made on their website suggest that Redmond Rock products are SIGNIFICANT sources of electrolytes and trace minerals which they are absolutely NOT as you’ll see in the guaranteed analysis section. Secondly, horses do NOT have nutritional wisdom for minerals other than good ol’ salt. If your horse goes to town on these he/she is either lacking salt, bored, or exploring his/her environment with their mouths.
The crushed Redmond Rock comes with directions to topdress 1-3 ounces per day depending on the horses level of work. They should mention horse size and life stage to make this more clear. We can only assume that they mean an average 1,000 lb horse in moderate work.
The only suggestion for daily intake that I could find was a rough estimate that a standard 9 pound rock will last about 3 months. If we break that down, a normal horse will consume about 45 grams (1.6 oz) per day. That is roughly what other vitamin and mineral products suggest. So far, so good.
Redmond Rock is simply unrefined mineral salts mined from somewhere in Utah where a large ancient sea used to be. It is 91% salt and 9% everything else.
The guaranteed analysis is where Redmond Rock over promises. If we actually punch some numbers associated with the shockingly long guaranteed analysis (for a product that is 91% salt), then we see why we can not rely on this product to supply our horse’s daily requirement of essential trace minerals. Below is a comparison chart of Redmond Rock, a common ration balancer, performance feed, and a typical grass hay trace mineral profile. You can see that while ration balancers will exceed your horse’s daily trace mineral needs in just one pound, 1.6 ounces of the Redmond Rock salt will only meet 0.0114% of zinc, 0.114% of copper, and 0.52% of selenium requirements. Please, please, please do not rely on this product for your all important trace mineral source.
A 7-10 lb rock costs $16.99 with free shipping. If we assume that the average consumption of 1.6 ounces per day is correct, then we can estimate that we’ll pay 19 cents per day to offer this salt product. To compare, a 50 pound plain white salt block at my local feed store costs $6.49. If we assume the same consumption rate (big assumption), then you’ll pay about 1.3 cents per day. That is 1/14th the cost of the Redmond Rock on a rope.
Twenty five pounds of the crushed will run you $50.50 on their website. That changes the daily cost to 25 cents per 2 ounce recommended serving.
All horses need a salt source. Anecdotal evidence informs me that these Redmond Rock blocks on a rope are more palatable than the typical white blocks, so there is certainly value in that, and I do feel that the daily cost is reasonable for the rope option. However, I just wish that they wouldn’t mislead customers to thinking that this is a significant source of trace minerals. Those trace minerals are too important to overall horse health to get wrong.
My upper level is a strong salt licker, so I think I’ll grab one of these Redmond Rocks and set it next to her plain white salt block to experiment with palatability.
*Updated July 7th, 2021: my horses prefer it! I’m not going to change my rating, but I do appreciate the palatability.