Ensuring your horse has clean water to drink goes beyond quenching their thirst, it’s a way to keep them healthy on a long-term basis. H20 contains vital nutrients that aid in your horse’s digestion, moderates their temperature, and lubricates their joints for optimal performance.
Here are a five simple ways to keep your horse hydrated and happy.
Location, Location, Location!
Providing your horse with unobstructed access to clean water includes ensuring your horse isn’t competing with its neighbours for a fresh drink. Several trough stations strategically placed at various locations in the barn and turn-out pastures will encourage your horse to sip more frequently.
Not All Water Is Created Equal
Your horse knows the difference between what they drink at home, and when they’re away. Think of it this way: we all gravitate towards a certain “brand” of bottled water when we don’t have access to our usual source at home. Usually, this is due to the taste that comes from the level of minerals in the water. If you’re stabling your horse elsewhere for a period of time or away at a competition, bring along a supply of H20 from home so your horse continues to get their fill as they may shy away from “strange” water.
The Power of Salt to Hydrate a Horse
We’re not suggesting you dose your horse’s food with extra salt as that can actually increase fluid loss as a diuretic. However, if your horse isn’t consuming enough liquids, a little added salt in the diet can stimulate thirst. A salt lick or a little table salt in your horse’s feed might be all it takes.
Keep an eye on your horse’s electrolyte levels as well which are lost through sweating in the summer, or alternatively the urine if they’re drinking too much. These can be easily incorporated into feed or mixed with water.
Encourage Hydration Through Hay
By soaking your horse’s hay in water, you’ll increase his fluid intake naturally. Dry hay can absorb water from the gut, and thereby out of the circulatory system where it’s needed. This is especially important for stabled horses who don’t have regular access to moist grass.
Cool Down Time
Just like walking after an intense workout for humans, cooling down your horse after exercise is important. Sponge him down with cool water to return his temperature to normal at a faster rate, and you’ll reduce the amount of water your horse loses through sweating. Then, rehydrate!
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