Owning horses is a rewarding hobby for many people. To enjoy your horses, it’s imperative that they’re healthy. One of the most important requirements for maintaining good health in horses is making sure they get enough water. If you have at least one horse, here are some basic horse hydration guidelines.
Supply Your Horse with Accessible, Clean and Fresh Water
Be sure your horse can easily get to a water supply and that the water is exceptionally clean. This entails checking water buckets to be sure they don’t contain harmful contaminants such as debris, dirt or even dead animals.
What’s more, make sure your horse’s water doesn’t smell bad or that the bucket doesn’t have a leak. You’ll need to thoroughly clean your horse trough and water bucket at least once a week.
Meet the Proper Sodium Requirements for Your Horse
Along with supplying your horse with sufficient water, you’ll also need to have your horse on a diet that meets the right sodium requirements. This is because a correct sodium balance is critical in ensuring body water equilibrium and the right thirst response.
The best way is to provide your horse with salt licks or salt blocks. On the other hand, salt licks or salt blocks can vary, so your horse may not be getting an adequate supply of salt from them, especially when they exercise or sweat regularly. Therefore, you’ll need to give your horse a product that has enough sodium that meets their requirements for body hydration, besides maintains their response for thirst, while still being edible.
Test Your Horse for Hydration
There’s a simple test you can do to see if your horse is properly hydrated. This is done by pinching a small amount of skin at the neck of your horse and then releasing it. Next, count the seconds until you see the skin lying flat.
If your horse is hydrated, the skin should flatten back in less than one second. However, if it takes longer than three seconds to flatten back in place, then your horse is probably suffering from dehydration and needs more water.
Considerations and Warnings
- During humid, hot weather, a horse need more water. This particularly is the case if your horse has been perspiring or exercising. In fact, water intake can actually be twice as much.
- Because horses don’t drink as much water in cold weather, you’ll need to add hot water to their drinking water. To do this, use trough heaters or buckets. In most cases, horses need drinking water that’s varies from 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Some horses are picky about their water. If you have a fussy horse, try including some flavor to their water. For example, you could add apple juice, peppermint or even Kool-Aid to your horse's water.
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