Good hydration is as important to good health as balanced nutrition.
Here’s a few watering tips and facts:
💧 Change stabled horses’ water daily, because water absorbs harmful gases from soiled bedding
💧 Clean out field troughs regularly
💧 Water intake varies widely depending on the moisture content of the diet, and horses on good grass may not need to drink at all
💧 Typically, a horse on a dry diet in a cool environment will consume about 5 litres per 100kg bodyweight per 24 hours (which is 25 litres for a 500kg horse). but individual intake varies
💧 Consider adding hot water to your horse’s water in very cold weather, to encourage drinking – this isn’t ‘spoiling your horse’ because some horses won’t drink enough if water is very cold (and therefore have an increased risk of impaction colic)
💧 Excess water intake could be a symptom of PPID (Cushing’s syndrome)
💧 Take a supply of your usual water to clinics or competitions if your horse isn’t a good drinker – some don’t like unusual water and will drink too little. You can also flavour your horse’s water e.g. with sugar beet water, apple juice or molasses before you go and then carry on whilst you’re away, if that’s more convenient
💧 You can take a skin pinch to check your horse’s hydration status – ie to check if they’re drinking enough. Pinch the skin on the neck and if it doesn’t spring back flat more or less instantly, they’re dehydrated. Note that older horses will have less springy skin so the pinch will take a little longer to flatten again!
💧 For horses on dry diets e.g. all hay and no access to grass, do feed succulents, mashes or soak the hay (or some of it) to provide a more natural diet