Is Your Horse Drinking Enough H2O?

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As horse owners, we do everything we can to ensure the health and well-being of our equine companions. We get the proper vaccinations, ensure proper nutrition, take care of veterinary and hoof care needs, among many other things on our to-do list of responsible horse ownership. While it is the most important nutrient to both humans and horses, the importance of adequate, clean water can sometimes be overlooked. 

Horse drinking water

It is imperative that horses consume enough water to keep things moving through their digestive system. The average thousand to twelve hundred pound horse should drink ten to twelve gallons of water a day. In the summertime, horses tend to drink more because the heat increases their thirst. In the wintertime, some horses will not drink as much because of the cooler temperatures. When a horse does not drink the recommended amount of water they can become easily dehydrated which can lead to colic.

There are various ways to increase your horse’s water consumption. Adding electrolytes to your horse’s water or grain is one way. Soaking your hay and grain before being fed is another method. Soaking hay cubes in a generous amount of water may help as well. In colder temperatures, try adding warm water to their feed or just add warm water in their water buckets. Always be sure your horse’s water sources are cleaned regularly.

Regardless of the season, ensuring adequate water consumption is vital to the health of your horse. For more information on equine water consumption refer to the following publication from North Carolina State University: 

Water Intake Sweat Production and Electrolyte Supplementation in the Horse

For more information contact Tom Harrell at 252-232-2262 or email tpharrel@ncsu.edu.