ADVICE: 6 tips to keep your horse hydrated

ADVICE: 6 tips to keep your horse hydrated

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Water is an essential nutrient to aid your horse’s digestion, temperature control and joint lubrication.

Below we share our top tips to keep your horse healthy and well hydrated.

1. It’s essential your horse has access to plenty of clean, fresh water. If he lives out with others, ensure there’s no competition for water by providing plenty of troughs at various locations around the field. This will also help to avoid the area around the trough getting poached, and means any less dominant horses will still be able to drink whenever they need to.

2. When you move yards or stable overnight at a competition, your horse may refuse to drink ‘strange’ water. Take a supply of water from your own yard in a clean container, or add Horse Quencher to his water - a natural supplement that encourages him to drink. It’s generally safe to use of competing, but speak to your vet before giving it to laminatics.

3. If you find your horse is dehydrated or doesn’t appear to be drinking as normal, stimulate his thirst by adding salt to his diet. This can be done by either giving him access to a salt lick, or adding salt to his hard feed. However, it’s important not to go overboard with your horse’s salt measure as too much can act as a diuretic and increase fluid loss.

4. When your horse grazes on moist grass he takes in water, so if he’s stabled consider soaking his hay to increase his fluid intake. This is because dry forage can reduce hydration as it pulls water into the gut and out of the circulatory system. Alternatively, replace his hay with haylage or add water to his hard feed, making it sloppy to get extra fluids on board.

5. Your horse loses water through sweating, especially during the intense exercise, so you’ll need to help him cool off and rehydrate. This can be achieved by cooling him off quickly. Simply cover him in cold water by using a hose or sponge, then scrape off the excess water. Repeat this until his temperature returns to around 37.5 to 38.5C

6. If your horse is in work and isn’t fed an electrolyte, he may be deficient in essential salts and minerals, which are lost through sweating, urine and faeces. Give your horse an electrolyte on a daily basis, not just in the run up to a competition, to replace these salts. These can be mixed with water, feed or given in a syringe. Fresh water should always be available.    

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 Pic Credit: National Geographic Content: My Horse Magazine