Your Horse’s Winter Water Intake

Did you know that horses can only last three days without water, and can quickly become dehydrated in a matter of hours?? Horses need between eight and twelve gallons of water per day to stay healthy.? Your horse may be less likely to drink in the cold weather and his thick winter coat can hide the signs of dehydration.? Lack of water can easily lead to devastating illnesses such as colic.? Here are some tips to keep your horse drinking throughout the coldest months of the year.

  • Keep water warm by using insulated buckets or tank heaters.? In cold weather water can quickly form a skiff of ice that will prevent your horse from drinking.? Be sure to follow all safety guidelines and watch for cords that could trip your horse.
  • Automatic waterers must be checked daily for freezing and malfunction.? Be aware that you cannot monitor your horse?s water intake with an automatic waterer.
  • Do not expect your horse to eat snow to stay hydrated.? Not only must they consume far more snow than water to meet their daily intake needs, but it wastes body warmth and energy to melt it.
  • Give your horse warm water during the warmest part of the day.? Most horses will want to drink after they have had their morning hay, and when the weather is at its warmest.? Most horses do not drink during the cold parts of the day.
  • Breaking up the ice on buckets and troughs is not enough to ensure that your horse has adequate access to water.? Your horse needs warm, fresh water available throughout the day to make him comfortable enough to drink.
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