Water key to Life
Every horse owner knows how important water is. A shortage of water can lead to a blocked colon, colic, heat stroke, and the inability to process and absorb nutrients from their food. Horses should always have access to fresh, clean, water in order to maintain a healthy horse gut.. A horse in pasture without access to a water trough, even if it’s only for an hour or two, is at an increased risk to colic. Horses who are over six years old at a higher risk for colic by ten fold. Water should be fresh, cool, clean, and always there. When you’re travelling with your horse, you should stop and make sure they’re watered and fed regularly. A happy horse is a peeing and pooping horse and keeping your horse well hydrated helps their digestion.
Whatever the weather
Most horses need up to seven, or more, gallons per day to drink. Your horse should have access to as much water as they need or want. The actual volume may vary as it depends on your horse’s food as drier hay, for example, requires more water to process it. Your horse’s activity level also will influence their intake. It’s super important they always have access to clean, cool, water. Some horses prefer lukewarm water while others prefer colder water, but most like around 14C or 57F. The weather, of course, also influences your horse’s preference. Mostly, as long as it’s flowing, not icy, not warm to the touch, it’s probably acceptable. Narrowing it down will increase your horse’s enjoyment in drinking and mean they’ll be better hydrated.
In the winter, watering your horses can be more of a challenge. Pipes like to freeze up, power sources for heated tubs fail, all sorts of things. Defrosting taps will certainly become part of your morning ritual. If left to choose, in the winter a horse will drink colder water and less of it rather than warmer water and more of it. It’s best to make sure your horse has access to warmer water to make sure they drink as much as they need for healthy digestion. Adding electrolytes to a horse’s drinking water in winter has been found to help them drink all the water they need.
In the summer, the watering is less of a challenge, but sometimes finding a cool water source for your picky hooved pal can be a bit of an adventure. Best to change out water that’s been left to sit and warm up with cooler water as possible.
Keep your horse well hydrated to keep their guts moving and them happy.