Get Your Horse to Drink More Water
This time of year the weather in Colorado is very difficult to predict. For example, yesterday it was 73 degrees, and today the high temperature is forecasted to be 27 degrees. This makes me nervous, especially because the last time the weather did this, Frisby coliced. I do not want to have that happen ever again.
So now I pay close attention to what the weather will be doing. And I am doing some things to make sure both of my horses will be drinking more water. Ethan is easy, he is always drinking. So either I am doing something right, or he is just good about drinking. Frisby on the other hand is more of a challenge. He is very picky about his water. I suppose he is a water snob, so I have to work harder to make sure he is getting what he needs. And I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learned to help make sure my horses continue to drink water, even when it is cold outside.
Did you know that a horse will drink 5 to 10 gallons of water a day? That is a lot of water! And to encourage your horse to want to drink you should really keep his water source clean and fresh.
Keeping your horse’s water clean will encourage him (or her) to drink more throughout the day, and during night time too.
Add A Tank Heater
If you live in an area that the temperature falls below freezing, you should consider adding a tank heater to your horse’s water source. There was actually a study done that showed 80% of horses preferred to drink water that was around 40 degrees. And if it freezes where you live, you can keep your horse drinking when the water temperature stays consistent. This can be achieved with a tank heater.
They are not expensive, and I can tell you from personal experience it is worth the investment. To not have to break ice out of a water tank every morning during the winter is very nice. The one I bought is safe for plastic water tanks and works great.
The one I bought cost around $50.00. I bought the same one 2 years ago for $35.00. I am sure you can find them locally, but if not you can buy them on Amazon. They last a long time and are really worth the investment.
If you would prefer, you can buy a bucket heater, or even a bucket that you can plug in. It doesn’t matter how you get the water to 40 degrees, just that you do to encourage your horse to drink more water.
Multiple Water Sources
Maybe I go a little overboard when it comes to water, but I’m ok with that. I like to make sure my horses have multiple sources of clean water. When I had to move my water tank from in the horses barn to outside, I wanted to make sure they still had access to water in their stalls. So I bought insulated water buckets. They weren’t cheap. At $90.00 a piece, that was a hefty investment. But it also gave my horses access to 5 gallons of water inside their stalls, where they eat their dinner. And I don’t have electricity in my barn, which is why I chose the insulated buckets.
It has been a trial and error scenario. But I have found that when I go out to feed them their dinner, I also take a gallon of hot water and fill off their buckets. The insulator helps to keep the water temperature consistent, and by adding the hot water at night, it helps to prevent the bucket from icing up overnight.
Have A Salt Source
Horses need salt, and they seem to enjoy it too. My horses really like the pink Himalayan rock salt. I found they consume it best when it is on a rope. It gives them something to play with while encouraging them to add some sat to their diet. They lick this way better than the traditional salt lick. And even though it is more expensive, I know they are licking it. To me that is worth it.
This is one thing I had never done prior to Frisby colicing. But my vet told me during the huge temperature fluctuations of fall in Colorado they see an increase in colic calls, and this can be avoided by adding electrolytes. She gave me a tube to give to Frisby the day after, and then I went and bought several more tubes to have on hand for when the weather changes drastically.
She also told me not to go overboard and give them electrolytes every day, but instead to watch for weather changes, and when the temperature is going to change by 50 degrees, I give them each a tube of the electrolyte paste. It is less expensive to buy online, I found this one for $7.99 at Amazon, and in Dover’s it was 15.99 a tube.
Water Water Everywhere
There are a lot of things you can do to make sure your horse has every opportunity to drink water. But it is also true that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. And I want my horses to want to drink more water, which is why I practice what I’m preaching!
Hopefully this will give you some ideas of what you can do to encourage your horse to drink more water too. And if you want even more ideas, I really encourage you to talk to your vet. They are such a wealth of information! And if your vet is anything like mine, they love to share their knowledge. So if you have further questions, give your vet a call and see what they have to say.