By: Madeline Reich
The heat is rolling in and it’s that time of year for horse owners to be extra aware of keeping their horses hydrated. Horses consume 5 to 10 gallons of water a day and it is crucial, year around, to be aware of your horses drinking habits. Dehydration is one of the most common issues that can lead to illness and colic, this is especially true this time of year when the heat is in full force and the horses are adapting to the climate change. Water is what helps horses regulate their body temperature, facilitate digestion and absorb nutrients.
When it comes to watering horses, clean water is one of the most important things. Keeping more than one water source for your horse is a good idea because some horses are particular about where they drink. Always check your water sources since they can get filled with hay, manure, feed, algae, etc., which can make your horse not want to drink. Dumping your buckets once a day is a good way to make sure your horses are supplied with clean water.
It has been proven that horses prefer to drink water that is around 50 degrees. Ice-cold water is not as satisfying to the horses as it is to us. Horses that live outside need to be checked closer since their water troughs and buckets can become extremely hot in this weather and cause them to not want to drink cold water. When you turn your hose on, let it run for a minute or so because the water can be very hot at first from sitting in the sun. Be aware of these details so your horse has accessible water that they are willing to drink.
It is important to not let your hose sit in the bucket of water when watering your horses. Hoses can build up all kinds of germs and rust on the end of the hose and where the hose has been sitting for a long time. You do not want these things in your horse’s water. It can make the water taste different and it can be unhealthy. Let your hose run for a minute or so before you start watering and keep your hose off the ground and in a clean environment so that there is a less chance of bad stuff getting in your horses water.
Electrolytes can be added to your horse’s water when the horse is not as good about drinking enough. One may use powdered electrolytes, or even Gatorade. These are all good additives to helping your horse stay hydrated. Salt blocks can also be added to your horses stalls or paddock. The salt will make your horse want to take in more water as well as being a good way to keep your horse entertained.
Just be sure to keep an eye on your horses water intake and be aware of his habits. Just like humans, different horses have different needs and habits for water intake and it is crucial to cater to your horse for their health and hydration, especially in the heat!