Well, every cellular activity in the horse's body requires water and water is present in all body fluids. In an adult horse around 65% of the horse's bodyweight is made up of water and in foals it's almost 80%.
Should your horse lose 15% of water from his body he will be dehydrated - and in certain circumstances a possible consequence of this is death.
You must ensure your horse always has clean fresh water available. If this is not possible, eg when travelling your horse, do make sure you offer water during regular breaks on a journey (ie every two hours). Some horses are fussy so take water from home with you when travelling to shows etc.
It's essential that water buckets in stables are cleaned thoroughly every day eg first thing in the morning when any remaining water can be thrown away, the buckets cleaned and refilled with fresh water. The water buckets need to be regularly checked and refilled throughout the day.
Remember to also check field troughs daily to ensure that your horse has access to water.
These checks will probably need to be done more often in winter because of the risk of water supplies icing over.
If your yard has automatic water bowls this is easier for you but may not be ideal for your horse. Some horses are wary of drinking from them - if your horse is like this ensure he also has water buckets in his stable.
It's essential to check that automatic bowls are working - they can freeze up in cold weather. A big disadvantage of this watering system is that you have no idea how much, or how little, water your horse is drinking.
Using water buckets may be more time-consuming and harder work, but at least you'll know more about your horse's water intake. However, one of our website users, kindly emailed us to say that it is possible to get meters so that you know how much water horses using automatic water bowls have consumed. This is useful to know as obviously if you are looking after a lot of horses, it saves time and physical work not having to fill water bowls.
If you do use buckets remember that horses can knock them over so it helps to bank up bedding around the buckets to prevent this. Remember to place the handles of the buckets away from the horse - buckets without handles should be used for foals.
The importance of electrolytes Read more
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